News organizations declared Hillary Clinton the winner of New Mexico’s Democratic primary on Tuesday — but the vote was within a few percentage points, and Clinton and Bernie Sanders were on track to split delegates in a state that divides them proportionately.
With nearly 184,000 votes tallied, Clinton was leading Sanders 52-48 percent in New Mexico.
Regardless, Clinton won New Jersey earlier in the evening and became the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. The questions: What would Sanders, who has committed to staying in the contest through the party’s convention, do next? And what would Sanders’ supporters do?
Anthony Lopez of Santa Fe, a Sanders supporter, said he will support any decision Sanders makes about continuing or ending his presidential campaign. Lopez sees what’s likely ahead, and says he’s leaning toward supporting the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein, in November — but he said Clinton is also a possibility.
“I’m not totally opposed, but I would prefer to vote for a candidate I believe in, not for a candidate because they’re not as bad as their opposition,” Lopez said. “… The thought of (Republican Donald) Trump as president is scary though, so I could be persuaded to support Clinton in November.”
Judy Furr of Las Cruces, on the other hand, was celebrating Clinton’s victory.
“It’s Hillary at our house,” she said. “… I know that if Donald Trump is elected president of this country we are doomed.”
Some 43 delegates to the Democratic National Convention were up for grabs in New Mexico. Nine are so-called superdelegates who can support whichever candidate they want — seven have pledged support for Clinton — and the other 34 will be awarded proportionately once final results are tallied.
Daniel Kim of Las Cruces said he voted for Sanders, but will support Clinton in November.
“If Clinton is nominated, I will do my part to elect her president,” he said.
Mike Johnson of Santa Fe, who voted for Sanders, said he won’t vote for Clinton or Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, in November.
“I will abstain. I can’t be part of electing either of them. That will be the responsibility of those that elect them, not me,” Johnson said. “I want nothing to do with it.”
Keith Whelpley of Las Cruces voted for Clinton.
“I voted for Hillary because she has far more experience than any other candidate,” he said. “She also knows how to make politics a blood sport and that is what we will need to drop Trump. There will be a time for a socialist, but with Trump so close, the risk was too great to leave it to Bernie.”
Jeffrey Lewis of Las Cruces was ready to back Clinton.
“I voted for Bernie. That being said I am ready to fully support Hillary,” he said. “We need to unite and bring our full resources so that we stop Mr. Trump.”
Jim O’Donnell agreed.
“I’ve been a strong Sanders supporter all along. Now I’m a strong Clinton supporter. We Sanders folks need to fight for a better party in the long run but the time to support Clinton and gain control of Congress is now,” he said.
The numbers in this article have been updated as results have been released.