hand in jail

Some say now is the time for NM to get rid of private prisons

When the U.S Department of Justice last week announced they would stop using private prisons, many New Mexicans questioned whether New Mexico might follow suit. The DOJ decision to close private prisons will have no effect on the five privately run prisons in the state, as those contracts are managed by the state. NM Political Report was unable to reach Corrections Secretary Gregg Marcantel or his staff about details on the state’s contract with private companies who run prisons. The only private prison in New Mexico with federal ties is set to close in October as the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not renew a contract. Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, said the prison closure in Cibola County is an opportunity to expand public prisons in the state.

Gary Johnson poses for a picture during a lowrider event

Johnson gets a New Mexico welcome at ABQ rally

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson stopped on his way into a rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center to see the workings of a lowrider car with hydraulics Saturday afternoon. After he watched with awe, the most logical thing happened—the presidential candidate sat in the car as the front end jumped seven feet off the ground and lurched forward. The surrounding crowd cheered as Johnson pressed against the ceiling of the car. https://twitter.com/Anjreu/status/767070094526590976

Later, as he walked into a press conference, Johnson told NM Political Report he enjoyed himself but was still feeling the effects. “My teeth are still chattering,” Johnson said.

hand in jail

Call for death penalty echoes Legislature’s ‘tough on crime’ session

If Gov. Susana Martinez’s call to reinstate the death penalty after the killing of an on-duty police officer looks familiar, that’s because something very similar happened last year. After the 2015 high-profile killings of Rio Rancho police officer Gregg Benne and Albuquerque police officer Daniel Webster, Martinez and Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives made tough-on-crime measures their signature effort during the ensuing legislative session. Now, another high-profile death of a cop—this time Hatch police officer Jose Chavez—presents a similar political opportunity. And this time, it comes ahead of a general election where Republicans are aiming to preserve their majority in the state House of Representatives and win control of the state Senate. In a prepared statement announcing her intentions, Martinez also evoked the recent Dallas massacre of five cops during a protest prompted by police shootings of two unarmed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Gov. Susana Martinez during her State of the State Address in 2016. Photo Credit: Andy Lyman.

Martinez: Reinstate the death penalty

Gov. Susana Martinez wants to roll back the clock on the death penalty repeal. KVIA reported Martinez wants to reinstate the controversial punishment in response to the killing of police officers in recent years. A police officer was killed during a traffic stop last week in Hatch. The accused killer was wanted for murder in Ohio. New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009, after more than a decade of efforts.

Mike Pence

Pence defends Trump, goes after media at ABQ town hall

Donald Trump’s running mate has a reputation for being more subdued in public than the Republican presidential candidate, but that doesn’t mean they attract different crowds. A case in point came during Mike Pence’s town hall in Albuquerque Tuesday afternoon when a person from the audience during the question and answer session asked the Republican vice presidential nominee why establishment Republicans were publicly jumping ship from the Trump ticket. He brought up Gov. Susana Martinez, who has publicly feuded with Trump and refused to endorse him, as an example. “She is one of many Republicans that are deserting,” the man said. “Why are there an unprecedented amount of people who are deserting you and Mr. Trump in your own party?”

Pence replied by saying that Martinez is “a very dear friend of mine.”

“She’s a great governor,” Pence said, as audience members gathered at Sandia Resort Casino started booing.

Voting

NM voters moving towards political parties in election year

The months leading up to the general election show an increasing number of voters in New Mexico aligning themselves with a political party in the state rather than registering as independents. Democrats account for roughly half of registered voters, according to data from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office. The other half splits among Republicans, minor parties and those who decline to state an affiliation. But since January the number of registered Democrats spiked by about five percentage points and the number of registered Republicans increased by roughly 4 percentage points. Minor parties also saw an increase in voter registration since the beginning of the year.