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Wed Nov 4, 2020, 11:30 AM

N.M. gets first Black state senator

Harold Pope Jr. had a remarkable election night, ending a streak that began in 1912. Pope defeated a three-term incumbent to become New Mexico’s first Black state senator. A Democrat, Pope bested Republican Sen. Sander Rue in Northwest Albuquerque’s District 23. The unofficial margin was about 5 percentage points.

Pope, who served for 21 years in the Air Force, ran a disciplined campaign. He talked about large themes, such as reducing poverty by investing in the state’s new department for early childhood education.

The state Senate is a diverse body in some respects, having Native American and Hispanic members. But it’s also been top-heavy with men and had been absent any Black members.

One reason is New Mexico has a Black population of only about 2.5 percent. Still, New Mexico has had five Black state representatives — three Democrats and two Republicans.


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