EMILY’s list endorses Torres Small in CD2 Dem primary

A southern New Mexico Democrat got a key endorsement ahead of the 2nd Congressional District primary. EMILY’s List, a national organization that supports women who support abortion rights, announced Friday it is endorsing Xochitl Torres Small. “With this open seat, working families of the 2nd District have a chance to elect a leader who brings New Mexicans of all backgrounds together to tackle tough problems – not one who would end health care access for millions of people and give big corporations tax cuts at the expense of the middle class,” Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’S List, said in a statement. “Southern New Mexico families can count on Xochitl doing the same in Congress, which is why EMILY’s List is proud to support her.” The endorsement comes on the heels of Torres Small winning the Democratic pre-primary convention with nearly two-thirds of the votes from party delegates in the district.

DeBenedittis drops out of governor’s race

Peter DeBenedittis announced Wednesday that he would end his gubernatorial campaign. The announcement came after the longshot candidate failed to reach two percent at the Democratic pre-primary convention, and  urged his supporters to instead support Jeff Apodaca, one of his opponents. DeBenedittis said he was “incredibly sad” to make the decision, but thanked supporters. He also outlined why he said his campaign never gained traction. “Over the past few weeks, our campaign needed several things to break in our direction for the campaign to be viable, and none of them did,” DeBenedittis wrote.

House GOP leader retirement shock on legislative filing day

The field is set for the 2018 state House primaries, with eight incumbents not filing for reelection and several others facing potentially competitive challenges either in the primary or the general election. Still, there are 26 candidates, all incumbents, who face no opposition in either the primary or general election. Independent and third party candidates can still enter, but it is much more difficult to make the ballot and win, due to higher signature requirements and a lack of party structure. Meanwhile, just two Libertarian Party candidates took advantage of the party’s new major party status to seek state legislative office. Here is a look at some of the 70 legislative races and dozens of candidates to watch.

Union leader accused of sexual harassment

The powerful head of a major labor group in New Mexico is accused of sexual harassment. Jon Hendry, the president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, faces a lawsuit alleging he  sexually harassed and employee and created a hostile and discriminatory workplace environment. Christa Valdes filed the lawsuit, accusing Hendry of grabbing employees by the buttocks, sending lewd text messages and showing naked photos on his phone. The suit also accuses IATSE Local 480, for which Hendry is the business agent, of covering up the allegations when they were brought to their attention. Valdes did public relations work for the union.

Some Martinez vetoes get pushback

Some vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez are raising eyebrows among legislators and others—and at least one partial veto may be challenged in court. Wednesday was the final day for Martinez to decide whether or not to sign bills from this year’s legislative session. She signed 80 bills into law, but vetoed 31 others. Some she rejected using her veto pen, while with others she just allowed time to run out in what is called a “pocket veto.”

One portion of a bill that may see a new life was part of the crime omnibus bill the Legislature passed in response to the spike in crime, particularly in Albuquerque. The bill combined a number of ideas aimed at reducing crimes.

Santa Fe elects new mayor, Rio Rancho keeps the incumbent

Both major political parties saw some signs of encouragement in municipal elections Tuesday. The most high-profile election took place in Santa Fe. Not only is the state capital one of the largest cities in the state, it also used ranked choice voting for the first time. Santa Fe voters chose Alan Webber as the next mayor. The election had high turnout with 38 percent of the city’s registered voters taking part.

Trump approval rating still underwater among NM voters

Donald Trump’s approval rating among New Mexico voters is still underwater, but rose slightly from the lows of January. According to the latest numbers from Morning Consult, in February, 42 percent of New Mexico voters approve of Trump’s job performance while 55 percent disapprove. While this is a slight improvement over the January numbers, which showed a 39 percent approval rating and 58 percent disapproval rating, it still is far below Trump’s initial numbers among New Mexico voters from when he was inaugurated in January of 2017. And a Morning Consult poll pitting Trump against a generic Democrat shows 44 percent of voters nationwide say they would vote for the Democrat, while just 36 percent say they would vote for Trump. Trump recently named Brad Parscale as his 2020 campaign manager.

Dunn decries ‘federal land grab’ on state land on border

New Mexico’s State Land Commissioner said he will block the United States government from accessing some state lands along the border unless they can come to an agreement on access to the area. The newly-minted Libertarian, who is running for U.S. Senate, posted signs Tuesday along a mile of state trust land along the border with Mexico. In a press release, he called the construction of fences and roads on the land a “federal land grab.”

He told the Associated Press his office would install a fence to block access to the property if his office can’t come to an agreement with the federal government. Dunn said an investigation by his office found the federal government constructed a road and a fence on a stretch of land without acquiring the necessary right-of-way. Dunn wrote to the federal government about state lands along the border, and proposed a land swap, earlier this year.

Elections roundup: Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and more go the polls

Starting this week, I’ll be writing a weekly election recap to keep you updated through the primary in June. If you have any tips, email to matthew@nmpoliticalreport.com. Want to get the full version for free each Tuesday morning? Sign up here

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Lujan Grisham internal poll shows her with big lead in Dem primary

A poll conducted for the Michelle Lujan Grisham campaign shows she has a massive lead over the other three candidates in the Democratic primary for governor. The internally-funded poll shows that the congresswoman from Albuquerque has the support of 72 percent of Democratic primary voters. All other candidates are far behind, with former media executive Jeff Apodaca at 13 percent, state Senator Joe Cervantes at 6 percent and alcohol tax advocate Peter DeBendittis at 2 percent. The campaign released the poll just days ahead of the Democratic pre-primary convention, where delegates from around the state will vote on who ends up on the ballot. Candidates who receive the support of 20 percent of those at the pre-primary convention will automatically make the ballot, while those who fail to do so will need to collect additional signatures to make the primary ballot.