New Mexico close to historic all-female US House delegation

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Democratic congressional candidate Teresa Leger Fernandez, in the blue mask, cheers on supporters at a polling station Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Santa Fe, N.M. Fernandez was flanked by her three sons, left to right, Alisandro, Dario and Abelino. The sign she holds, "Ahora es cuando," is Spanish for "Now is the time." (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. – New Mexico has moved closer to possibly sending a historic delegation of all women of color to the U.S. House.

According to unofficial results from Tuesday's primary, Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez, a Latina, won a seven-way race to capture her party’s nomination for the Democratic-leaning seat in northern New Mexico.

“This is a win for our communities & families across our district,” Leger Fernandez tweeted late Tuesday. “Our campaign has been about bringing people together & lifting up the diversity that makes us New Mexicans.”

She joins incumbents Rep. Deb Haaland — a Laguna Pueblo member and one of the nation’s first Native American congresswomen — and U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, on the all women of color Democratic U.S. House slate.

Former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, won a heated Republican primary race to challenge Torres Small November in a swing district representing southern New Mexico.

And retired police officer Michelle Garcia Holmes, who is Hispanic, won the GOP nomination to challenge Haaland for the Democratic-leaning seat representing Albuquerque.

The Republican primary in northern New Mexico with two women in the three-way race remained too close to call early Wednesday, but an Hispanic woman was leading.

New Hampshire in 2013 became the first state to have an all-female Congressional delegation (Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, and Reps. Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter), according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.