- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The New Mexico State Canvassing Board certified election results Tuesday that return control of the state Legislature to Democrats, award a statewide victory to Hillary Clinton and provide Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson with his strongest showing in any state.

Board members including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez also initiated automatic recounts in three state legislative races where the margin of victory was less than 1 percent. If results remain unchanged, Democrats would outnumber Republicans 26-16 in the Senate and 38-32 in the House of Representatives.

In one tight legislative race that will be recounted, incumbent GOP Rep. David Adkins had a 10-vote advantage over retired Bernalillo County firefighter Ronnie Martinez in a traditionally Republican west-Albuquerque district.

Democrat Daymon Ely, an attorney and former Sandoval County Commissioner from Corrales, had a 102 vote advantage over Republican Rep. Paul Pacheco of Albuquerque, a retired police officer at the forefront of an anti-crime measure backed by the governor. Two-term Democratic Sen. John Sapien had a 198-vote edge over Republican challenger Diego Espinoza of Rio Rancho in a district north of Albuquerque.

Democrats won control of the Legislature by overtaking the GOP in the House of Representatives and defending a Senate majority. The shift of power ended Republicans’ two-year reign over the House, which was preceded by six decades of Democratic control.

In the presidential race, Clinton won 48.6 percent of the statewide vote to Donald Trump’s 40 percent.

Gary Johnson took 9.3 percent of ballots, making it possible for the Libertarian Party to qualify as a major political party and take part in publicly funded primary elections alongside major party candidates.

The Libertarians still must meet a party membership threshold - no less than one-third of 1 percent of statewide registration - to qualify as a major party, said Kari Fresquez, director of elections for the state. It is not yet clear whether the party had that many members before the January 2016 deadline.

Out of nearly 1.3 million registered voters in New Mexico, 804,043 cast ballots in the Nov. 8 general election.

About one-third of ballots were cast on Election Day, as more voters embraced early voting. The rest were cast at county clerk offices, early voting centers or through the mail.

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