Attack ads, political bottle tossing and recriminations have marked this year’s race to replace outgoing Gov. Susana Martinez, who is leaving office due to term limits. The campaign’s increasingly dark tone illustrates the state of play in politics here in New Mexico and across the nation. But under the tribalism lies something else: A set of stark differences in visions held by the two candidates, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce, who have both abandoned seats in the U.S. House of Representatives for a shot at the Governor’s Mansion. During three televised debates, Pearce and Lujan Grisham have hurled broadsides and frontal attacks at one another on a host of issues bedeviling the state — from education to immigration, economic development to marijuana legalization, energy to water conservation. Clashes over how to address New Mexico’s persistently high crime rates, particularly in Albuquerque, have torched some of the race’s oxygen, too.
ROSWELL— Former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon spoke to a crowd of about 150 people in Roswell Thursday night about his new film Trump@War. He also took the opportunity to praise Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich, calling him a “real populist.”
Bannon said his film was not intended to change minds about Trump, but instead to rally Trump supporters ahead of November’s midterm election. “This is not a midterm,” Bannon told the crowd. “This is Trump’s first reelect.”
Rich praised Trump and the controversial strategist. “When I looked at this race, I looked at President Trump,” Rich said.
Controversial political figure and former presidential chief strategist Steve Bannon will make an appearance in New Mexico on Thursday in support of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate. UPDATE: Steve Bannon: Mick Rich is a ‘real populist’
Mick Rich’s campaign confirmed that Bannon will speak on behalf of his political group Citizens of the American Republic in Roswell, stumping for the Albuquerque construction contractor and political newcomer. The Rich campaign said the event is sponsored and paid for by Citizens of the American Republic and Rich will appear as a guest. Nick Gerard, a staffer with the Mick Rich campaign, said Bannon’s appearance is notable for both the campaign and the Republican Party. “A lot of people nationally kind of look at New Mexico and just assume it will forever and always be a Democratic state and that’s not the case on the ground,” Gerard said.
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.
The NM Elections Roundup comes out every Tuesday morning through email. The following is an excerpt from this week’s email. To get the full version each week, including a look at the ads on the air, sign up here. The Associated Press reported that Republican candidate Steve Pearce invested millions of dollars in companies that lease equipment for oil and gas exploration. One of those companies, Trinity Industries, was previously described as renting party equipment.
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In 2016, ProPublica partnered with newsrooms around the country to tell the story of voting experiences. ProPublica is doing it again this year, and this time NM Political Report is a partner. The project focused on the problems people had when trying to vote—from long lines to harassment, to finding out your name is not on voting rolls and anything else that impacted casting your ballot.The project relies on regular citizens to be the eyes and ears on the ground—which is where you come in. To help out, sign up by texting VOTE to 81380. Or you can reach out on WhatsApp at +1 850 909-8683, Facebook Messenger at http://m.me/electionland or tweeting @Electionland.
While Democrats led the way in fundraising in the latest quarter, federal campaign finance reports filed Monday show, one candidate considerably outraised the rest. NM Political Report first reported that Xochitl Torres Small, a Democrat seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat, raised over $1.9 million yesterday. Her fundraising total was $650,000 more than all three candidates for U.S. Senate combined raised in that same time period. Torres Small spent over $1.3 million and finished with $1.1 million cash on hand for the final few weeks of the race. Her opponent, Republican State Rep. Yvette Herrell, raised $564,000 and spent $245,000, leaving her with $419,000 cash on hand for the final stretch.
Democrats across the nation have announced massive fundraising hauls as the midterm elections near. This includes New Mexico. Water lawyer Xochitl Torres Small announced a record-breaking $1.9 million raised in the last quarter in her race to represent the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Campaign finance reports for federal races are due tomorrow and cover the period from July 1 to Sept. 30.
This story was co-published by USA Today. ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In New Mexico’s Statehouse, Jimmie Hall is something of a fixture: The veteran Republican representative has served District 28 in this sun-dried, high-desert city for seven terms.
For much of Hall’s tenure, the district, which lies along the foothills of the Sandia Mountains on the eastern edge of Albuquerque, has been reliably conservative, so much so that he’s coasted to victory without having to face any Democratic opponent in his three most recent re-election bids. This story originally appeared at The Center for Public Integrity and is reprinted with permission. But this year is different. In November, Hall will square off against Melanie Stansbury, who is among a slew of young, progressive Democrats running for office at every level of government across the country.
The NM Elections Roundup comes out every Tuesday morning through email. The following is an excerpt from this week’s email. To get the full version each week, including a look at the ads on the air, sign up here. Michelle Lujan Grisham once again outraised and outspent Steve Pearce in the race for governor. But Pearce has more cash on hand for the final for weeks of the campaign, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.