We have a feeling that Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, will not be entertaining the idea of voting for Trump this November. From CNN: “Donald Trump has been saying some of the most inflammatory, hateful, discriminatory, racist, filled-with-misogyny comments we’ve ever heard — not just from a candidate for office, but especially a candidate seeking the nomination for president of the United States,” House Democratic campaign chairman Ben Ray Lujan, the first Hispanic to hold the job, told CNN. A former National Republican Congressional Committee chairman noted that Republicans were likely to keep the House thanks to districts being drawn in a friendly way for Republicans in many states. —Our stories
Before we get to the rest on a busy Friday, here’s our stories from today:
ABQ’s top aviation cop placed on leave Jeff wants back on primary ballot HSC takeover another blow to healthcare for New Mexicans (Opinion)
Back to the run down… —Another behavioral health provider leaves.
—The town of Roswell is looking for a flying saucer. Roswell police are looking for, and yes they’re serious, a missing flying saucer. The town is famous for aliens after an incident in 1947 has a lot of alien decorations and alien-themed restaurants. These include, of course, flying saucers, including the one that went missing on Saturday night. Police said, via Facebook, that thieves took a silver saucer that is made of fiberglass and metal, including stainless steel, from the town’s UFO museum overnight this weekend.
—HSD Secretary talks behavioral health shakeup. Here at NM Political Report, we’ve been following the behavioral health shakeup that came after the state Human Services Department decided to cut off Medicaid funding for 15 providers, citing “credible allegations of fraud.”
Since then, several went out of business and the Attorney General exonerated 13 of the groups. While he wasn’t at the helm at the time, legislators on the Legislative Finance Committee still wanted an update on the process from the department’s secretary. HSD Secretary Brent Earnest explained that there was “still some overbilling” with those providers who were cleared and there was an ongoing administrative process to deal with the overbilling. He was less willing to say what that process was, beyond saying it would be “months more than years” before the situations were resolved and that currently OptumHealth is holding the funds.
—Ben Ray Luján thinks a Donald Trump nomination will be a boon for Democrats down-ballot. The congressman, who is also the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, appeared on CNN’s New Day. After saying he prays every day that Donald Trump will not be President, he riffed on how it will impact Republicans down-ballot. “I will say this: Donald Trump has created a lot of optimism for me as a Democrat as well as Democrats across the country with opportunities,” Luján said. “Donald Trump is bad for the GOP down-ballot,” he continued.
—White Sands Missile Range is getting a new active-duty mission. Sen. Martin Heinrich announced the news on Wednesday afternoon that the Air Defense Artillery Test Detachment, with 143 soldiers, will be housed at the facility. “At a time when Army installations across the country are facing reductions, adding a new mission to White Sands is a big deal,” Heinrich said. “I am pleased we secured this new mission and I will continue to advocate for a larger active duty presence at WSMR.” —Bill Richardson is back on the North Korea beat.
—Rubio drops out. Susana Martinez took a calculated risk in endorsing Marco Rubio two weeks ago. He was seen as the pragmatic and establishment choice for Republicans in a year dominated by, well Donald Trump. But after getting crushed in his home state of Florida, Rubio dropped out. This isn’t to say it will impact Martinez that much (a LOT of Republicans endorsed Rubio), but it still isn’t a good look.