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.
Recently completed recounts in three state legislative races didn’t result in any changes to the election night winners. In the closest race, Republican state Rep. David Adkins kept his Bernalillo County seat by defeating Democrat Ronnie Martinez by just nine votes. This is the closest legislative race since 2012, when Las Cruces Republican Terry McMillan defeated Joanne Ferrary by eight votes. Ferrary lost again to McMillan in 2014 before defeating him in this November’s election. The other House race close enough for an automatic recount saw Democrat Daymon Ely defeating Republican incumbent Paul Pacheco by 105 votes.
After U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said he would not run to be the next governor, some Democrats released statements about potentially running for the state’s highest office. A spokeswoman for Hector Balderas, the state’s Attorney General, said he is considering a run for governor in 2018, and the mayor of Santa Fe says supporters have asked him to run. This is on top of U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who previously said she would decide whether or not to run for governor by the end of the year. Related: Tom Udall says he will not run for governor in 2018
Caroline Buerkle, who worked on campaigns for Balderas in the past, sent a statement to media Wednesday afternoon after Udall’s announcement that he would remain in the US Senate. “Attorney General Balderas is seriously considering a run for governor and has deep concerns about the future of our state,” Buerkle said.
U.S. Sen Tom Udall will not run for governor in 2018, and cited the election of President Donald Trump as one reason why. Udall said he will remain in the U.S. Senate, despite speculation earlier this year that he would throw his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination. His current Senate term ends in 2020. Udall said in a statement Wednesday that he was “very grateful” from the support of those who “personally urged” him to run for governor in 2018. Related: Days after election, attention turns to governor’s race
“While I firmly believe that I have the backing and the experience to properly address all these issues, I have determined, after consulting with my family, colleagues and constituents, that New Mexico will be better served by my remaining in the United States Senate,” Udall said.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.