(CNN) - The polls are now open in three states - Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico - holding primaries Tuesday, and in one of those states voters could make history.
Rep. Artur Davis faces off against Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks in Alabama's Democratic gubernatorial contest. If the four-term congressman wins Tuesday's primary, he would become the state's first African-American Democratic nominee for governor. If Davis is elected in November, he would make history again, becoming Alabama's first black governor.
Seven candidates are vying to be the GOP gubernatorial nominee. Among the leading contenders are former state community college system chancellor Bradley Byrne, former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, and real estate developer Tim James. The son of two-term Gov. Fob James has created a buzz with his tough ads and speeches against illegal immigrants.
Two-term Gov. Bob Riley, a Republican, is prevented from running for re-election.
New Mexico also holds gubernatorial primaries Tuesday. Five candidates are battling for the GOP nomination. The winner will face off in November against Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Two-term Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, is prevented from running for another term in office.
(CNN) - CNN projects that Democrat Rep. Tom Udall of New Mexico has defeated Republican Rep. Steve Pearce for the Senate seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Pete Domenici.
When Domenici announced his retirement, the state's entire congressional delegation lined up to replace him. But Pearce emerged battered from his primary battle with fellow GOP Rep. Heather Wilson, and Udall boasted a far bigger campaign war chest.
So Domenici's retirement didn't just cost his party a Senate seat - Wilson's primary season loss and Pearce's general election defeat mean the race also ended up claiming both the state's Republican congressman.
The win, long expected by Republicans, marks a pickup for the Democratic Party.
(CNN) - Officials in Dona Ana County, New Mexico say they are having problems with absentee ballots. But it's unclear just how many voters may not see their vote count.
Jess Williams, public information officer for the county, said of 11,985 absentee ballots requested, 8,141 have been processed. As of midday Tuesday, the number of outstanding absentee ballots is 3,844.
And the Bureau of Elections is still getting calls from residents who have not yet received their absentee ballots, Williams said. He said those voters may go to the polling place where they are registered to request a provisional ballot and they will be allowed to vote.
While that may be an option for some, many voters vote absentee because health problems keep them from going to the polls. Others are away at college, in the military, or out of town for other reasons, and showing up in person may not be possible.
(CNN) - John McCain will spend the final hours before the polls close Tuesday visiting Colorado and New Mexico, two states his campaign manager now says are key to a last-minute “new pathway to victory.”
Both states voted for President Bush in 2004, but have been leaning Obama this cycle.
Late Sunday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sketched out a fresh roadmap to the White House that runs through the West, telling reporters that new surveys that suggested Barack Obama’s lead was shrinking to single digits had given the Republican nominee reason for optimism. “If we can win Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, all of the sudden we’ve got a whole new pathway to victory,” Davis told reporters. “Those weren’t even on the list three weeks ago.”
McCain's visit to New Mexico tomorrow will mark his second stop in the state in two days.
Obama leads by 6 in the most recent CNN Colorado poll of polls, and by 8 points in an Albuquerque Journal/Research & Polling survey of New Mexico voters, both released late last week.
Both states also feature Senate races for seats held by retiring Republicans; Democrats are heavily favored in both contests, as the party pushes for a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) - At a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico Saturday, Senator John McCain told the crowd that he was a neighboring Western senator who understood the Southwest and Hispanic culture and his opponent didn’t.
“My friends I’m a fellow Westerner, I understand these issues, I understand land and water and Native American issues and border issues and I understand the challenges that a great, great western states face with our growth and our needs and our challenges,” said the Arizona Senator as he courted voters key to the state’s five electoral votes.
“My friends, Senator Obama has never been south of our border, you know that? And he doesn’t know these issues. I know them, I know what the Southwest is, I know strength and the culture and our Hispanic culture and the strength of our great states."
While McCain has been dealing with southwestern issues for over 20 years as an Arizona legislator, an Obama spokesman said that in fact the Illinois Senator did visit Mexico when he was in college.
(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton has won the February 5 Democratic presidential caucuses in New Mexico, the state party chairman announced Thursday after a count delayed by a large number of provisional ballots.
Clinton, the senator from New York and former first lady, edged out Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by about 2,000 votes out of the nearly 150,000 cast, New Mexico Democratic Chairman Brian Colon announced nine days after the contest.
The final tally was given as 73,105, or about 49 percent, for Clinton and 71,396, or 48 percent, for Obama.
"With these two Democratic candidates, we had in New Mexico the largest voter turnout in decades," Colon said.
New Mexico is the last of two dozen states that held primaries or caucuses on "Super Tuesday" to complete its count. Colon said the results were delayed as election officials sorted through 17,000 provisional ballots cast during the contest to determine which ones were valid.
Provisional ballots were cast by people whose names did not appear on lists of eligible voters. More than 200 volunteers slogged through the stack of ballots, about half of which were eventually certified, Colon said.
(updated 6 p.m. ET with additional information)
(CNN) – They're counting votes in New Mexico - still.
Six days after Super Tuesday, when millions of voters cast ballots in 24 states and America Samoa, the winner remains in doubt in the Democratic presidential caucus in New Mexico.
Volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico have been working 16 hours a day – in shifts – to try to figure out whether Democrats there preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York or Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the state party said Sunday.
"We know it is urgent to get these results completed," Chairman Brian S. Colon of the Democratic Party of New Mexico said in a statement Sunday.
The national media spotlight has moved on to primaries and caucuses in other states, including contests Tuesday in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Yet 227 volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico are still slogging through provisional ballots - votes cast by people whose names did not appear on lists of eligible voters.
Election rules let people cast provisional ballots that will be counted as long as officials verify that the person is eligible to vote.
As it stands now in New Mexico, Clinton leads Obama by 1,066 votes out of about 154,000 cast, according to the state Democratic Party. That total does not include 17,276 provisional ballots.
(CNN) – Hillary Clinton may have the edge among white voters nationally, but in New Mexico Barack Obama is leading her among that demographic, 55 percent to 37 percent. This is a clear departure from the national trend that shows Clinton with the edge among white voters. (She's beating Obama nationwide among white Democrats by 8 points.)
But New Mexico remains highly competitive overall because the Latino vote there is breaking strongly for Clinton, 61 percent to 30 percent.
–CNN Political Analyst Bill Schneider