According to Wallethub, New Mexico lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to political engagement. The website ranked all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, on political engagement, and New Mexico finished in last place. It and Hawaii, which finished in 50th, were well behind the rest of the states. Washington D.C. led the pack, followed by Maine and Utah. New Mexico’s problems largely come from the low percentage of registered voters and relatively low voter turnout in the 2016 elections.
Early voting in one key southern New Mexico county is not only outpacing past years, it is so far beating out all other counties in the state. Through the end of Monday, 4,304 Doña Ana County voters already cast their ballots either by early in-person voting or by returning absentee ballots. And Democrats are happy, as 56.9 percent of those voters are Democrats. In 2016, 50.28 percent of early and absentee voters were Democrats. Statewide, 22,702 voters have already cast ballots.
A campaign fundraising letter that public land commissioner candidate Patrick Lyons sent ranchers who lease land from the State Land Office is raising legal and ethical questions a month before voters decide whether to return him to the job he held for eight years. Should Lyons win the seat this November, he will be in charge of renegotiating leases with companies seeking to renew those agreements. About 30 percent of the money Lyons has raised so far in his run has come from lessees, according to a review of campaign finance records. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission. A copy of the letter was shared with New Mexico In Depth and is addressed “dear agricultural lessee.” It goes on to describe Lyons’ record as a rancher and farmer, and as previous land commissioner.
LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate and former two-term Republican governor Gary Johnson is killing time outside a Starbucks in Los Alamos between campaign events. Technically he shouldn’t be here at all—or, at least not running for office. On election night in 2016, Johnson told NM Political Report he was done with politics after his second presidential run. Asked about that night, Johnson answers the question he knows is coming next. “I can’t be believed,” Johnson interrupted sarcastically.
The notion struck Megan Duffy at an event she attended with several other women—and it struck her hard. It was Aug. 18. The gathering marked the anniversary of a seismic change to the US Constitution: Passage of the 19th Amendment, more commonly known as women’s suffrage. “Women have only been able to vote in this country for 98 years,” Duffy says in a recent interview with New Mexico In Depth and SFR.
Every Tuesday, NM Political Report sends out an elections roundup email. Here’s a portion of this week’s email. To sign up for the full version, sign up here. The Albuquerque Journal released its first round of polling on some big races. The short story: Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich leads by a lot in the U.S. Senate race (Gary Johnson is in third), while Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham leads Republican Steve Pearce by 7 percentage points in the race for governor.
The flood of U.S. Senate polls since Gary Johnson entered the race continued this week. Two new partisan polls show different visions of the U.S. Senate race, but both show the incumbent leading while the insurgent Libertarian candidate trails in third place. One newly-released poll by Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research for The Majority Institute, an organization that seeks to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate, showed Heinrich with the support of 48 percent of likely voters, compared to 33 percent for Republican Mick Rich and 17 percent for Johnson, a former governor. The poll was conducted in early August, before Johnson formally entered the race. Another poll released before Johnson formally entered the race showed the same order.
The race for New Mexico governor is tight, while the incumbent Democratic U.S. senator holds a sizeable lead over his two challengers, according to a new poll from Emerson College. The poll, conducted last week, via calls to landlines and online surveys and released Monday morning, shows Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham with a two point lead over Republican nominee Steve Pearce, 42 percent to 40 percent. The poll shows 18 percent of voters polled are still undecided. The poll is of registered voters. Both candidates are leaving their respective congressional seats to run for governor.
Prominent Democratic U.S. Senators are blasting out their support for Martin Heinrich after the entry of former Governor Gary Johnson shook up the U.S. Senate race. Johnson made his first public comments Thursday. On Friday, Elizabeth Warren,Kirsten Gillibrand and others tweeted support for incumbent Martin Heinrich—and criticisms of Johnson. Warren, a progressive Democrat from Massachusetts though to be considering a run for president in 2020, tweeted, “Gary Johnson – who’s supported abolishing the minimum wage, raising the Social Security retirement age, & gutting health care – jumped into the New Mexico Senate race against my friend Martin Heinrich.”
Johnson responded in a tweet that Warren was “pretty off-base on my positions.”
Gillibrand, another Senator who may run for president in 2020, wrote in a tweet thread that Heinrich “has been a champion in our fights for better health care, better education opportunities and better jobs. We can’t afford to lose his voice right now and let Gary Johnson take New Mexico backward at the expense of working families, so we need to rush Martin our support.”
Both included fundraising links for Heinrich’s campaign.
Gary Johnson is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. At least that seems to be the message from the former two-term Republican governor, two-time Libertarian presidential candidate and now Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate in New Mexico. “I am angry at the two-party system, I think we’ve all been hoodwinked to believe these are our only choices,” Johnson said at a press conference on Thursday. The press conference was the first time Johnson spoke publicly as a U.S. Senate candidate since the Libertarian Party of New Mexico nominated him earlier this month. The party filed paperwork to formally nominate Johnson earlier this week.