- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Secretary of State Dianna Duran won a second term Tuesday by fending off a strong challenge from Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver and became the first Republican in New Mexico history to win re-election for the seat.

In a race that centered on voter ID and nonbinding marijuana questions in two populous counties, Duran captured 52 percent of the vote over Oliver’s 48 percent, unofficial numbers showed.

The contest also focused on Duran’s style of election management and her efforts to combat what she sees as widespread voter fraud.

But Duran credited her win to her support for new voter ID measures. “I have over 30 years of experience of elections administration,” Duran said. “My primary objective is to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.”

Now with the first Republican State House in 60 years, the chances of passing a voter ID bill now is a real possibility, she said.

“This is probably the first year that we will see we have a better chance to get it through the House and the Senate and to the governor’s desk,” Duran said.

Oliver, the Bernalillo County clerk, argued that voter fraud was rare and voter ID efforts would only prevent certain residents from casting ballots.

“We’re 50 years from the Voting Rights Act, and we’re still fighting this. That’s wrong,” Oliver said.

Instead, Oliver had advocated for same-day registration as a way to increase voter participation in the state.

The two candidates also had clashed over efforts by New Mexico municipalities to include nonbinding questions on the ballot.

Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties passed measures to ask voters their opinions on reduced marijuana penalties, but Duran attempted to block those efforts. Early results late Tuesday showed voters in both counties supported both measures by wide margins.

Republicans charged that the nonbinding marijuana questions were nothing more than attempts by Democrats to increase turnout among younger voters and a waste of taxpayer money.

Duran called the measures mere “poll questions.”

But the state Supreme Court last month overturned her office’s decision, allowing the questions to remain on the ballot.

Oliver had argued the court’s decision showed Duran overstepped her authority.


Follow Russell Contreras at https://twitter.com/russcontreras.

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