Poll: Guv, Senators’ approval ratings dip

A new poll showed New Mexico’s governor and both U.S. Senators’ approval ratings took a slight hit in the past three months. The poll, conducted by Morning Consult, found that 44 percent of New Mexico voters support the job Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is doing, while 39 percent disapprove. In the last poll, Lujan Grisham’s approval rating stood at 47 percent, compared to 37 percent disapproval. That poll was conducted in the previous three months. Lujan Grisham is a first-term Democrat, who was elected in 2018 and took office at the beginning of 2019.

Group to send out 250K voter registrations to ‘rising American electorate’

A group is ramping up its attempts to get large but underrepresented populations registered to vote. The Voter Participation Center (VPC), along with the Center for Voter Information, announced it would send nearly 250,000 voter registration applications to unregistered voters in what it calls the “rising American electorate.” These are voters from ages 18-38, people of color and unmarried women. The VPC estimates that 1.1 million people in New Mexico are part of this population. Jessica Barba Brown, the VPC’s CEO, said the latest mailings the group announced this week are part of a series of six voter registration mailings starting in June of last year and spanning to September of this year. 

As for why the group is targeting New Mexico, she cited the state’s possible importance in the upcoming elections. “This is going to be the most consequential election and New Mexico will play a big role,” she said.

Senate race gets more crowded with two more Republicans

Two more Republicans entered New Mexico’s open U.S. Senate race this week, bringing the total number of candidates for the party’s nomination to five. Tuesday, former TV meteorologist Mark Ronchetti announced he would seek the nomination. The longtime weatherman released a video, where he said he is a conservative Republican and that he supports gun rights and is anti-abortion. “New Mexicans are fed up with the petty partisan politics that has gotten in the way of progress for New Mexicans,” Ronchetti said. “Hatred for your political opponents can never be stronger than your love of New Mexico – when it is, nobody wins.

NM Political Report’s fifth anniversary

Five years ago today, I welcomed readers to NM Political Report. Since then, we’ve published thousands of stories and our stories have been read millions of times. We’ve broken big stories and led coverage that led to real results. Some things have changed since then. Reporters have come and gone.

Poll: In NM, Sanders/Biden at top of Dem primary, top Dems lead Trump

A new poll of New Mexico voters shows a two-way battle among Democrats seeking support for the Democratic nomination in the state—while showing that top-tier Democratic names each outpace President Donald Trump in the general election. The poll, conducted by Emerson College, shows that Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has the support of 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 27 percent. They were both far ahead of entrepreneur Andrew Yang (10 percent), Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (8 percent) and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (7 percent). No other candidate received the support of more than 3 percent of voters. New Mexico’s primary is on June 2, very late in the process; only the U.S. Virgin Islands’ June 6 Caucus is later. 

But the poll indicates whichever Democrat emerges from the primary has a head start on winning New Mexico’s five electoral votes in November.

In historic vote, House impeaches Trump for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

The U.S. House voted to approve two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Wednesday night. 

The House voted 230-197, with one voting present, on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power. That alleged that Trump used his powers as President to try to punish Joe Biden, a political opponent. The House voted 229-198, with one voting present, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress. That article alleged that Trump improperly impeded the investigation in a number of ways, including directing current and former officials to not comply with subpoenas from House committees. It’s just the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Torres Small: Impeachment ‘the necessary response’ to Trump’s actions

U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small announced this weekend that she will vote to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump this week. The freshman Democrat said in a statement that she believes “impeachment is the necessary response to President Trump’s use of the Executive Office of the President for his own personal and political gain.”

Torres Small won election in a very narrow race in a conservative district that Trump won in 2016. Torres Small was one of the moderate and conservative Democrats who won congressional elections in 2018 as part of a Democratic wave. The articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week charge Trump with abuse of power for his conduct in asking Ukraine to help his political campaign by investigating Joe Biden’s son.

Pelosi announces House will move forward with articles of impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the U.S. House of Representatives would start drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating the son of a political rival. The announcement came after an investigation by the House, which began in late September. At the end of October, all three of New Mexico’s members of the House, all Democrats, voted to support the impeachment inquiry. The investigations included closed door meetings by House committees and more recently public hearings of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. Ben Ray Luján, the Assistant Speaker in the U.S. House of Representatives, supported the announcement.

State settles with five more behavioral health providers over 2013 funding freeze

The state settled with five more behavioral health providers who had sued after the state froze their access to Medicaid funding in 2013. At the time, the state said it had found credible allegations of fraud by the providers. The new settlements totaled $10 million and are the last of the ten lawsuits filed by providers over the funding freeze. These latest settlements were paid to Santa Maria El Mirador, the provider formerly known as Easter Seals El Mirador; Border Area Mental Health Services; Southwest Counseling Center, Inc.; Southern New Mexico Human Development, Inc.; and Families and Youth, Inc.

The state’s Attorney General cleared all providers that the Susana Martinez administration accused of fraud. The suspension caused a behavioral health crisis in New Mexico.

This Giving Tuesday, support local, non-profit journalism

I helped start NM Political Report five years ago. My first day was December 1, 2014. 

We knew that New Mexico needed an outlet to cover hugely important stories that just weren’t being covered by newspapers or TV stations around the state. In the years since we began, we’ve grown and become an important part of the state’s news landscape and we’re still covering stories no one else will. Five years ago, we decided that we would be a non-profit and not chase ad revenue or fill your browser with pop-ups. In that time, we’ve never placed an ad on our site.