Warren taps Haaland, two other congresswomen as campaign co-chairs

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, an increasingly important campaign surrogate for Elizabeth Warren, is now one of Warren’s campaign co-chairs. 

Warren made the announcement on Friday, announcing that Haaland and fellow Democrats Katie Porter of California and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts would hold the positions. Haaland endorsed Warren this summer. “It’s an incredible honor to have these three persistent women on our team,” Warren said in a statement. While Warren has seen her polling numbers drop in recent weeks, she is still among the top tier of candidates for the Democratic nomination along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in national polls, while South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg polls high in Iowa and New Hampshire, though trails in South Carolina and Nevada. 

The Iowa Caucus, the first contest in the Democratic nomination, will take place on Feb. 3.

Members of Congress pressure White House to fire Stephen Miller

Two of New Mexico’s U.S. Representatives signed onto a letter calling on President Donald Trump to remove White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller from the administration in light of emails revealed by the Southern Policy Law Center in recent weeks. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Deb Haaland signed the letter along with over 100 other members of Congress, all Democrats. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Virginia, took the lead on writing the letter. The emails, provided to the SPLC by Katie McHugh, a former Breitbart reporter who has since renounced her far-right political views, show Miller shared links from far-right, white nationalist websites, suggested Breitbart aggregate a story from the fringe website American Renaissance and expressed anger at removal of the Confederate flag after a shooting by a white supremacist.

Elisa Martinez jumps into Senate race

A prominent anti-abortion activist filed paperwork to run for U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Elisa Martinez, who founded the New Mexico Alliance for Life and is the group’s executive director, is the third Republican to run for the open U.S. Senate seat after filing her statement of candidacy with the FEC. Only one Democrat is currently running for the position. She announced her candidacy in Albuquerque shortly after. If elected, the member of the Navajo Nation would be the first Native American woman U.S. Senator nationwide and the first Latina U.S. Senator from New Mexico.

NM United tells legislators about need for their own stadium

New Mexico’s professional soccer team received a warm reception from the Legislature Thursday as the team told legislators about the need for their own stadium. The discussion was light on specifics, since it is so early in the process, but signs pointed toward a publicly-owned facility managed by New Mexico United, a similar arrangement in place between the city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Isotopes. New Mexico United President and CEO Pete Trevisani was joined by McCullers Sports Group LLC president Mark McCullers and City of Albuquerque Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael to speak to the Economic and Rural Development Committee about the potential for a stadium. Rael was involved in the move to build Isotopes Park after the Albuquerque Dukes, the minor league baseball team that played in Albuquerque for decades, left the city. They cautioned that this was in the very early stages and said they didn’t have any specifics to study, but told legislators about the potential impact that a stadium would have on Albuquerque.

Welcome to our reproductive justice reporter, Susan Dunlap

We are happy to announce that we expanded our reporting team with a reproductive justice reporter: Susan Dunlap. Dunlap will lead our coverage of reproductive justice, a very important but undercovered story in New Mexico, which has been described in recent years as a central area in the debate over abortion rights and access. She will also write a twice-a-month newsletter on reproductive justice issues. Dunlap comes to NM Political Report from Montana, where she previously covered the environment at The Montana Standard. Prior to that, she worked at The Silver City Sun-News as a news reporter and now she’s returning to New Mexico.

‘Democracy Dollars’ voted down, but other public financing improvements, bonds pass

A high-profile ballot question in Albuquerque endorsed by three Democratic presidential candidates failed on Tuesday in a high-turnout election. With all precincts reporting, the unofficial results showed “No” winning with 51.25 percent of the vote in unofficial results. 

The Democracy Dollars ballot initiative would have shored up the city’s public financing program and allowed city residents to direct vouchers of $25 for qualified candidates. 

Related: Two ABQ council races likely headed for a runoff election

Democratic presidential candidates Julian Castro, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren each lent their support to the proposal, with the latter two doing so on Election Day. And Castro endorsed it on Oct. 29, as early voting was about to end. By Election Day, nearly 44,000 voters had cast ballots on the question, either through early or absentee voting—more than cast ballots on Election Day.

State cancels grazing lease from company owned by Epstein

A company previously owned by the now-deceased and disgraced former financier Jeffrey Epstein will relinquish its grazing leases around its New Mexico ranch. The State Land Office announced in September it would cancel the leases. On Friday the office announced a settlement with the company, Cypress Inc.

“I am pleased that the State Land Office is no longer in business with Cypress Inc., and especially proud that we were able to save State resources by resolving this matter outside of the courtroom,” State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard said in a statement. “My decision to cancel these leases stands, and my staff and I will move forward with our discussions for future uses of the 1,200 acres of state trust land located near the Zorro Ranch.”

The cancellation of the lease is effective as of October 4 of this year. Epstein died of an apparent suicide, though some say it was a homicide, while in jail awaiting charges of sex trafficking.

Members of NM House delegation vote to back impeachment investigation

House Democrats, including all members of New Mexico’s delegation, voted Thursday to approve rules related to the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The 232-196 vote was nearly on party lines, with ex-Republican, now independent Justin Amash voting along with the Democratic majority and two Democrats voting with Republicans against the rules. The vote outlined rules for the next phase of the impeachment proceedings, which has so far consisted of closed-door meetings with witnesses. At the same time, the House has been pushing for documents from Trump and testimony from those close to Trump. Republicans have criticized the process, saying it is not transparent.

Toulouse Oliver ends Senate run

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced Tuesday that she is ending her U.S. Senate campaign. The Democrat announced her campaign in April of this year, a month after U.S Sen. Tom Udall announced he would not seek a third term. Toulouse Oliver said she was proud of her campaign and pledged to continue “protecting our elections from outside interference or voter suppression.”

She said her work as the state’s top elections official “protecting our elections from outside interference or voter suppression.”

Toulouse Oliver also endorsed U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, now the lone Democrat in the race. Luján led Toulouse Oliver in fundraising in the most recent quarter. Luján said in a statement of his own that Toulouse Oliver “is a friend.”

“In this campaign, Maggie stood up for our values – like health care for all and addressing the climate crisis,” he said.

Poll: Latinx, Hispanic voters in NM sour on Trump

A tracking poll of Latinx and Hispanic voters showed weakened support for Donald Trump in New Mexico and other potential battleground states. The poll, conducted by Equis Research between Sept. 23 and 29, found support among the voters in New Mexico fell from 28 percent in July to 24 percent in the most recent poll. Both numbers are still the highest in the eleven states surveyed. Job approval among Latinx and Hispanic voters in New Mexico also dropped, from 35 percent to 29 percent.