- Associated Press - Friday, July 22, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s Republican delegates are heading home from Cleveland with a sense that their party is now united behind Donald Trump.

They say the nominee’s effort to reach out to disenfranchised groups and his call for rebuilding America’s economy should resonate with residents in New Mexico, where slumping revenues stemming from the oil and gas downturn and resulting job losses and dwindling tax revenues are compounding.

Sam LeDoux is one of New Mexico’s youngest delegates. The 24-year-old says Trump’s speech was tinged with pessimism, reflecting the “dark time” the country is in right now.

LeDoux says he has been told repeatedly that members of his generation will not fare as well as their parents and that things won’t get better.

“We feel it,” he said. “Maybe not everyone feels it in the right-wing sense to back Donald Trump, but the millennial generation did vent their frustrations by supporting Bernie Sanders, who also had a pessimistic message.”

He questioned whether Democrat Hillary Clinton can craft a winning message given that recovery hasn’t been felt by many middle-class and impoverished Americans under the Obama administration.

New Mexico delegate Phil Archuleta, who has been to every convention since 1984, said there was uncertainty heading into Cleveland but now there’s no doubt Republicans are behind Trump’s campaign.

He predicted that Trump could win if he remains focused on creating jobs and securing the border - issues he said strike close to home. He pointed to the porous border as a funnel that has let drugs creep into New Mexico, where communities have been ravaged for decades by addiction.

“I myself have lost three family members in the last two years,” said Archuleta, a small business owner. “I’m sick and tired of us having to bury our families and people from my community ending up in jail or prison for stealing so they can buy the drugs that are coming into our community. That’s got to stop.”

Archuleta, a small business owner, said the convention also marked an opportunity to talk with delegates from other states about business opportunities.

Gov. Susana Martinez, who was among the state’s 24 delegates, avoided the spotlight. She spent much of the week meeting with governors and other leaders as part of her role as chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association.

Martinez has yet to endorse Trump.

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