Chuck Todd: ‘I’ll be surprised if the governor’s race isn’t close’

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd says that, coupled with a “sour environment” for Democrats across the country, New Mexico’s history as a state that’s not wedded to Democratic or Republican governors means the race for the state’s top office should be competitive.

“I’ll be surprised if the governor’s race isn’t close,” Todd told KOB 4’s Matt Grubs.

“I think New Mexico is always more competitive than Democrats nationally want to admit,” Todd offered. “And I think that one of the things we’ve noticed is there’s this sort of conventional wisdom that, ‘Oh, all Hispanic voters two-to-one lean Democratic.’ You know, that’s just not the case anymore and it’s never been the case in New Mexico.”

Todd said that the drift away from the center of voting bases for both Democrats and Republicans has eroded what once seemed to be a solid middle ground for immigration policy, a key issue in the governor’s race, particularly when it comes to border security.

“The middle ground was you were in favor of DACA, which is basically giving some form of legal status to those that were brought here illegally or they were undocumented, but it was when they were children…and also be for tighter border security. That used to be the middle ground, whether center-right or center-left. The way the activists now on the sort of farther right and farther left, they’re not accepting that sort of compromise anymore. And I think that makes it where (with) the independent voter, it’s harder to appeal to that middle-ground person because you can’t get out of your own primary if you’re not careful. I still think there is such thing as a middle ground on immigration. I just don’t know if the two parties will allow it.”

Early voting in primary elections for New Mexico begins May 10. Election Day is June 7.