The 1976 United States Senate election in New Mexico took place on November 2, 1976. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Joseph Montoya ran for re-election to a third term, but was defeated by Republican Harrison Schmitt. As of 2021, this is the last time the Republicans won the Class 1 Senate seat in New Mexico, and the only time they have done so since 1934.
Schmitt: 50–60% 60–70%
Montoya: 50–60% 60–70%
In the pre-primary convention held on March 27, 1976, Schmitt received 73.7% of the votes and businessman Eugene Peirce received 21%, allowing both to qualify for the primary ballot. A third candidate, Arthur Lavine, received 5.3% of the votes, not enough to be placed on the primary ballot.
In the June 1 primary election, Schmitt defeated Peirce and became the Republican nominee.
Schmitt campaigned for 14 months. The campaigns focus was on discussing the future. On the campaign trail, Schmitt said many times, "I have time for the future; Senator Montoya does not."
- Joseph Montoya, incumbent U.S. Senator
Harrison Schmitt won the election in a decisive victory. Joseph Montoya congratulated Schmitt on his victory, saying "The people have spoken and I accept their verdict."
|Democratic||Joseph Montoya (incumbent)||176,382||42.70%||-10.17%|
|La Raza Unida||Ernesto B. Borunda||1,087||0.26%|
|American Independent||Matt Dillion||906||0.22%|
|Republican gain from Democratic||Swing|
- "Schmitt Landslide Ends Montoya Senate Reign". Clovis News-Journal. Clovis, New Mexico. Associated Press. November 3, 1976. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Montoya, Schmitt, Peirce on Ballots". Las Cruces Sun-News. UPI. March 28, 1976. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.
- Feather, Bill (November 3, 1976). "Montoya's Tenure Ended by Schmitt". Las Vegas Optic. Las Vegas, New Mexico. Associated Press. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com.