Tonight could be curtains for Begaye, James and Nunez
Independents are rare in the New Mexico Legislature.
After tonight's election, they could be extinct.
State Rep. Andy Nunez of Hatch, the only independent in the 112-member Legislature, is in an uphill fight to keep his seat.
Redistricting hurt Nunez, as more than half of his district changed. He used to be a Democrat, so many in his old party are mad at him for switching. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who had been friendly toward Nunez, turned against him during the campaign.
All those factors mean Nunez probably is on his way out tonight.
The remaining drama is which of Nunez's opponents, Republican Mike Tellez or Democrat Phillip M. Archuleta, wins in House District 36.
Also in a fight is Republican Rep. Conrad James, left, of Albuquerque.
His District 24 became decidedly less Republican after legislators redrew it. Redistricting was almost as unfriendly to James as it was to Nunez.
James, a scientist who understands mathematical probabilities all too well, considered a run for the state Senate. Perhaps he should have made the jump when he could have.
Democrat Elizabeth Thomson could be strong enough to send James packing after only one term.
A Democrat in jeopardy is Rep. Ray Begaye of Shiprock. He is under investigation by the state attorney general, suspected of billing taxpayers twice for one trip to a conference.
Begaye is being challenged in House District 4 by Republican Sharon Clahchischilliage (pronounced Claw-chiss-chillage).
State Rep. Brian Egolf says it could be a long night and an early morning for Begaye as precinct totals trickle in. But Egolf said he believed Begaye, right, would survive.
"I am confident I will not have to learn to pronounce his opponent's name," Egolf said.
Even if Begaye wins, the pressures on him may not lessen. His use of the public's money and the vouchers he submitted for reimbursement of his controversial taxpayer-funded trip to Phoenix will not disappear.
Overall, Egolf said, if the night goes well for Democrats, they could win 40 or 41 House seats. Democrats now control the House 36-33-1.
The one is Nunez, who looks to be the longest shot of Election Night.