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States in the Senate | New Mexico Timeline

Introduction   |   Senators   |   Timeline


May 25

A constitutional convention met in Santa Fe and framed a constitution that citizens ratified on June 20.  A legislature met on July 1 and elected two U.S. senators.  Congress rejected the legislature's petition for statehood in part because of southern members' objection to the anti-slavery provision within the proposed constitution.


September 9

Under the provisions of the Compromise of 1850, the U.S. Congress granted New Mexico territorial status.  Its quest for statehood would continue for another 62 years, requiring the introduction of more than four dozen authorizing bills.  New Mexico was a territory longer than any other of the contiguous territories in the Union. Mining and railroad industries generally opposed statehood, preferring territorial status with its accompanying lack of state taxation.


Richard H. Weightman

December 1

Richard H. Weightman, a newspaper publisher from Santa Fe, became the first of New Mexico's 17 territorial delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the U.S. Senate, New Mexico's interests were represented by senators from the adjacent states of Texas and Colorado. 


November 6

The Territory of New Mexico offered to join with the Arizona Territory to seek admission as a single state. Arizona voters rejected this proposal.


January 21

New Mexico citizens approved a state constitution, which was considered conservative in its provisions. This balanced the more liberal-oriented constitution that the Arizona Territory adopted that year and ensured that the admission of both territories would be mutually dependent.


President William Howard Taft signing New Mexico's statehood bill.

August 21

Congress approved a resolution providing for statehood for both New Mexico and Arizona. The two states were linked because of expectations that New Mexico's congressional delegation would be Republican and Arizona's Democratic. A provision in the Arizona constitution permitting the recall of judges caused President William Howard Taft to withhold his approval of both states' request for admission. After Arizona removed that provision, Taft gave his approval and both states quickly moved to statehood.


January 6

New Mexico was admitted as the 47th state in the Union.


Thomas Catron (R-NM)

April 2

New Mexico's first two senators, Thomas Catron and Albert B. Fall, presented their credentials, took the oath of office, and were seated in the U.S. Senate. They then drew lots to determine their class assignments. Catron drew Class 1, with a term to expire on March 3, 1917. Fall drew Class 2, with a term to expire March 3, 1913.


Albert B. Fall (R-NM)


In a procedure marked by fist fights and highly irregular procedure, the state legislature reelected Albert Fall to a full six-year term. The state's governor refused to sign his credentials. This required another election early the following year, in which the legislature again elected Albert Fall.


Andrieus Aristieus Jones (D-NM)

November 7

Andrieus Aristieus Jones of East Las Vegas became New Mexico's first directly elected senator under the terms of the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Albert Fall (R-NM)

March 4

Following the Senate's confirmation of his nomination as secretary of the interior under President Warren G. Harding, Senator Albert Fall resigned his Senate seat. Fall left that post in 1923 and was subsequently convicted of conspiracy and bribery in connection with the Teapot Dome oil leasing scandal.


Octaviano A. Larrazolo (R-NM)

November 6

Former New Mexico governor Octaviano A. Larrazolo of Santa Fe became the first Hispanic American elected to the Senate. He served the three-month balance of a vacant term and, because of poor health, did not seek reelection.


Sam G. Bratton (D-NM)

February 22

Senator Sam G. Bratton of Albuquerque delivered George Washington’s Farewell Address to the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.


Dennis Chavez (D-NM)

May 11

Dennis Chavez, the first American-born Hispanic senator, was appointed to the Senate after the death of former senator Bronson M. Cutting and was elected to complete the full term. He remained in the Senate for more than 27 years, until his own death in 1962.


Carl Hatch (D-NM)

August 2

The Hatch Act, sponsored by Senator Carl Hatch of Clovis, became a public law. It prevented federal employees from engaging in political activity.


Clinton P. Anderson (D-NM)

June 30

Representative and future senator Clinton P. Anderson of Albuquerque began service as the secretary of agriculture under President Harry S. Truman, a position he held until 1948. He began his Senate career in 1949 and served for 24 years.


Cover of the Farewell Address Notebook

February 22

Dennis Chavez delivered George Washington’s Farewell Address to the U.S. Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.


Dennis Chavez (D-NM)

January 10

Dennis Chavez became chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Works (now the Committee on Environment and Public Works), serving from 1949 to 1953 and again from 1955 to 1963.


Clinton P. Anderson (D-NM)

January 10

Clinton P. Anderson became chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs (now the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources), a position he held until 1965, when he became chairman of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences (today's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation). He chaired that committee until 1973.


Statue of Dennis Chavez, National Statuary Hall Collection

March 31

Congress accepted a bronze statue of former senator Dennis Chavez as New Mexico's first contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection.



In the "Great Americans" stamp series, New Mexico senator Dennis Chavez was featured on one of the stamps, which was valued at 35 cents.


Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)


Pete V. Domenici of Alburquerque became chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget, serving until 2001.


July 14

Pete Domenici became New Mexico's longest-serving senator, surpassing the record of 27 years, 6 months, and 8 days set by Dennis Chavez in 1962. Domenici went on to serve in the Senate a total of 36 years.


Jesse Francis (Jeff) Bingaman, Jr. (D-NM)

January 3

Jesse Francis (Jeff) Bingaman, Jr., became chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, serving until 2003, and again from 2007 to 2013.


January 15

Pete Domenici became chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, serving until 2007.


Statue of Po'pay, National Statuary Hall Collection

September 22

Congress accepted a marble statue of 17th-century Native American religious leader Po’pay as New Mexico's second contribution to the National Statuary Hall collection.


Thomas (Tom) Udall (D-NM)

September 24

Thomas (Tom) Udall received a Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session. He received a second Golden Gavel on December 22, 2010.