Hillary Clinton at the Winning Healthcare in 2009 forum in Denver. Photo Credit: WEBN-TV cc

NM electors cast votes for Clinton

New Mexico’s electors officially cast the state’s five electoral college votes for Hillary Clinton Monday. Clinton won the state easily last month, even as she lost the national race to Republican Donald Trump when it comes to electoral votes. Trump received enough votes Monday to be formally named the president-elect. Each state receives an electoral vote for each member of the congressional delegation, plus Washington D.C. receives three electoral votes. Clinton received 48.3 percent of the vote in New Mexico, compared to 40 percent of the vote going to Trump.

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Here’s who’s considering running to replace Lujan Grisham in Congress

Many Albuquerque-area political figures are rumored to be gearing up for a congressional campaign after New Mexico Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham announced she plans to leave the seat and run for Governor. There are still no definitive announcements or declared candidates, but the handful of people NM Political Report spoke to this week gave similar answers—that they have been encouraged to run and are giving it serious consideration. Some said they don’t want to run for family reasons, in particular because of the amount of travel that comes with the job. The state’s congressional members often travel back and forth from Washington D.C. and New Mexico. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich’s family, for example, lived in Albuquerque while he served in the U.S. House before Lujan Grisham.

Official photo of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján

NY Times: Ben Ray Luján among those targeted by Russian hackers

Congressman Ben Ray Luján had his emails hacked by those with ties to Russians, according to a report in the New York Times. Luján was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, an organization that seeks to elect more Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives. The DCCC was the target of the hacking incident, which was  similar to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Media reports have also said that the Republican National Committee saw its emails hacked, though the organization has denied this. The DCCC acknowledged it was hacked in July of this year.

michelle-lujan-grisham-official-photo

Lujan Grisham running for governor

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham made it official on Tuesday and announced she will be running for governor of New Mexico. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said in a press release that she filed as a candidate for governor with the Secretary of State’s office. She also released a video announcing her intention to run, and didn’t shy away from criticizing current Gov. Susana Martinez. The video is embedded below. “We won’t solve our problems overnight.

Donald Trump at Arizona rally in March, 2016. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

What do Trump’s trade proposals mean for New Mexico?

Just months before Donald Trump’s surprise victory to the nation’s top office, Gov. Susana Martinez penned an op-ed about a bright spot in New Mexico’s otherwise weak economy. That bright spot is also a geographical location—the border. “We are quickly positioning our state as a gateway of international trade throughout the Americas,” Martinez wrote in June, “and we are embracing our newly found leadership role, which wouldn’t be possible without the cross-border relationships we’ve built.”
Related: Why Trump would almost certainly be violating the Constitution if he continues to own his businesses (by ProPublica)
Last year, for example, Las Cruces and Santa Fe, respectively, ranked as the two metropolitan areas in the nation with the highest economic growth in exports. In 2012 and 2014, New Mexico also led the nation in export growth. Nearly half of these exports—45 percent—are shipped south of the border.

Voting

State certifies election results, orders three recounts in legislative races

Hillary Clinton officially won New Mexico and its five electoral votes, after certification of results by the State Canvassing Board Tuesday. The board also certified the need for three recounts in legislative races, one of which heads into the recount with just a nine vote advantage. In the official results, 804,043 voters cast ballots, or 62.4 percent of the 1,289,414 voters who were registered in time to vote in the general election. Hillary Clinton received 48.26 percent of the votes cast in the presidential race, while Republican Donald Trump received 40.04 percent. Trump, however, received the most votes in enough states to win the presidency.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez speaking to reporters after the legislative session.

Outgoing senate majority leader reflects on career

If he had to do it all over again, Michael Sanchez says he wouldn’t do anything differently. The outgoing state Senate Majority Leader will no longer be a member of the New Mexico Legislature for the first time since 1993, after losing in a bruising campaign that saw outside groups spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat him. Newcomer Greg Baca, a Republican, will take over Sanchez’s seat in January. In an interview with NM Political Report last week, Sanchez looked back at his successes and other proud moments in the Senate. One of his chief legislative legacies is the lottery scholarship for college students, which he helped shepherd through the Legislature in the mid-1990s.

Flanked by members of her staff, Gov. Susana Martinez delivers statements to members of the press following the 2015 regular session of the state Legislature.Photo Credit: Margaret Wright

Martinez’s term as RGA chair ends

Gov. Susana will no longer chair the Republican Governors Association. Instead, the organization elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to an announcement Wednesday. The RGA, which advocates to elect Republican governors across the nation, elected Martinez at its helm last year. Before then, she served for one year as vice chair. Martinez will continue to serve on the RGA’s executive committee.

The New Mexico State Capitol, or Roundhouse, via Wikicommons.

It’s up to all of us to determine New Mexico’s future

What we do next may very well determine the fate of our state. Will we continue the divisive, dismissive and disingenuous rhetoric of recent months to seek political victory merely for the sake of winning? Or will we thoughtfully discuss solutions to the complex problems we face so that New Mexico might have the educated and motivated workforce that employers desire; so that millennials might stay in New Mexico or, even better, move here from elsewhere; so that the state’s chronically high poverty, crime and unemployment rates might finally drop; so that tax revenue to the treasury might increase; and so that we might spend the money necessary to improve our schools, roads and bridges, public safety and health programs, and cultural amenities
Will we create a cycle of prosperity rather than continue a cycle of poverty? Making the right choice is easy; actually acting on it will be hard. This will be especially true after this election season, as our leaders must set aside personal feelings and move past the misstatements that marked the campaigns in favor of an honest, open discussion. We cannot fix a long-term imbalance between state revenue and expenditures by scraping together unspent money from various accounts any better than a family living on the edge of poverty can achieve prosperity by holding a yard sale. We cannot reduce New Mexico’s perpetually high crime rate by putting criminals who have already committed crimes in jail for longer periods of time. We cannot create jobs without social and educational systems that create good workers. It’s time for the difficult discussion we’ve delayed for years: How can New Mexico raise the money it needs to improve the education our children receive, both at home and in school, divert our young people from a life of crime toward a life of financial security and civic involvement, and support the economy and quality of life we desire? Properly addressing early childhood development, child abuse, drug addiction, alcohol dependency, mental illness, obesity and the needs of the elderly, our veterans and those with special needs—all of which is expensive—is paramount to making New Mexico a great place to live and work.

New York, NY USA - July 16, 2016: Donald Trump speaks during introduction Governor Mike Pence as running for vice president at Hilton hotel Midtown Manhattan

Most of NM delegation denounces Trump’s selection for chief strategist

When President-elect Donald Trump made his first announcements of key members to his administration, one name jumped out to many: Steve Bannon. Trump named Bannon as his chief strategist and senior advisor, saying in a statement his role would be co-equal to Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus’ new role as Chief of Staff. The Anti-Defamation League brought up Bannon’s time as executive chairman of Breitbart, which ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt described as “the premier website of the ‘alt-right’—a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.”

Some members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation joined in on denouncing Bannon’s inclusion in Trump’s inner circle. NM Political Report asked about Priebus and Bannon when seeking comment. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat who represents Santa Fe, slammed the choice of Bannon in a statement. “Despite his stated desire to bring the country together, President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist is completely unacceptable, divisive, and dangerous,” Luján said.