Black and voting Democratic: Not so fast

The New Mexico electoral landscape is taking shape to the extent that early indicators are suggesting a clear change of power. Republicans have ruled the state for the majority of the last eight years. However, in these upcoming elections the New Mexico Democratic Party can potentially end the nightmare here in the Land of Enchantment that is unfolding in earnest for the rest of the nation. The question swirling throughout the Black community is, does it remain loyal to a Democratic Party that is failing to champion their interests, concerns and placing the future of all Black Americans at risk? For example, since the confirmation of the new United States attorney general, the U.S. Department of Justice has relented on a commitment to reducing and preventing excessive use of force by law enforcement, reforming the justice system and reducing the number of incarcerated Blacks.

Heinrich signs onto prescription drug importation bill

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich joined with other Senators, including Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, to introduce legislation to allow the importation of some pharmaceuticals from other countries. The senators announced the new legislation Tuesday, and Heinrich said the United States has the safest pharmaceutical system in the world, but also an expensive system. “Details matter and I think this legislation gets the details right,” Heinrich said while announcing his support of the legislation. “I think it preserves the sort of system that has given us the safest pharmaceutical supply in the world while at the same time using a free market, market-based approach to driving down those costs.”

This came more than a month after Heinrich voted against a Sanders-sponsored amendment to a bill that sought to allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries. The amendment, backed by many progressives, failed on a 52-48 vote.

Heinrich votes against prescription drug imports

Martin Heinrich was one of 13 Democratic U.S. senators who voted against legislation earlier this week that would have allowed Americans to buy prescription drugs from other countries. The measure, a health care reform idea often supported by progressives, came as an amendment to legislation aimed at changing Senate rules to allow majority votes on budget bills. The procedural changes, which the Senate narrowly approved in the early hours of Thursday, are the first step in Republican plans to repeal as much of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as they can. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent senator who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination last year, sponsored the amendment with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota. Senators rejected the amendment on a 52-48 margin, with 12 Republicans casting their votes in favor.

Sanders: Trump campaign ‘based on racism,’ ‘sexism,’ ‘dividing us’

Between campaign rallies in Colorado and Arizona for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders stopped in Albuquerque to spoke at a short rally for the Democratic nominee for president. Coming off his loss to Clinton in a contested race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders focused his speech on policies on which both he and the former U.S. Secretary of State agree. The independent U.S. Senator from Vermont also spent much of his 30 minutes criticizing Republican nominee Donald Trump, whom he called “racist,” “xenophobic” and “sexist.”

“We cannot support a candidate who is running a campaign based on racism, based on sexism, based on dividing us up,” Sanders told a crowd of roughly 1,000 people gathered Tuesday in the middle of the University of New Mexico campus. “That is not acceptable.”

Sanders listed off Clinton’s stances on issues like campaign finance reform, climate change, raising taxes on the wealthy and immigration. For example, Sanders said he and Clinton both support doubling federal funding for community health centers and forgiving student debt on doctors and health care workers who commit to practicing in underserved areas after graduation.

Mike Pence

Trump running mate to campaign in NM

Donald Trump’s running mate is making another campaign appearance in New Mexico, days after a rally by a high-profile Hillary Clinton surrogate. Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana and the running mate of the Republican presidential nominee, will appear at the Embassy Suites hotel in Albuquerque this Thursday, according to the Trump campaign website. Pence campaigned in Albuquerque and Roswell in August. In August, top Republicans, including Congressman Steve Pearce and state House Majority Whip Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, and state Rep. and Secretary of State candidate Nora Espinoza, R-Roswell, spoke at  the Pence rally. Trump himself headlined a rally ahead of the Republican primary in Albuquerque.

Bernie Sanders headed to NM for rally

Bernie Sanders will be headed back to New Mexico Tuesday, this time to campaign on behalf of his former opponent in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton. The Clinton campaign announced Sunday the Vermont Senator will headline a get-out-to-vote rally. Unsurprisingly, the Sanders rally will take place on the University of New Mexico campus, in front of Mesa Vista Hall near the Student Union Building. Doors open at 10 am and the rally is expected to start at 11 am. During the Democratic primary, Sanders received a high level of support among younger voters, including those attending college.

State GOP (and a handful of Sanders supporters) call on state Democratic Party chair to resign

The Republican Party of New Mexico says the chair of the Democratic Party of New Mexico should step down because of her actions at the Democratic pre-primary convention earlier this year. The state Republicans say that the cancellation of a non-binding presidential preference poll at the pre-primary convention in March shows the state party had bias toward Hillary Clinton. The party previously criticized Haaland for supporting Clinton after she defeated Bernie Sanders in the New Mexico Democratic primary, saying it was against Democratic party rules. “Much like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC, Haaland’s and the DPNM establishment’s bias toward Clinton was clear throughout the primary,” RPNM spokesman Tucker Keene said. “Haaland broke party rules to shelter her favored candidate from the embarrassment of losing a straw poll.

Poll shows approval ratings for Heinrich, Udall

Both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators are relatively popular, though a large amount of the state voters don’t have an opinion about them either way, according to a poll by online polling firm Morning Consult.

The poll, which looked at the approval rating of all 100 U.S. Senators, showed New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, both Democrats, in the middle of the pack when it came to popularity. Morning Consult’s poll found 54 percent of New Mexican voters approve of the way Tom Udall is doing his job, compared 27 percent who disapprove. For Heinrich, 46 percent approve while 29 percent disapprove. The rest said they didn’t know or had no opinion about either senator. The numbers are slightly down for both from April, where Udall had a 57 percent approval rating (and 23 percent who disapproved), while Heinrich had a 49 percent approval rating (to 24 percent who disapproved).

Ex-UNM prof hopes to ride Bernie wave to win in Florida

The man taking on controversial former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in an unusually high-profile Democratic congressional primary used to teach at the University of New Mexico. Tim Canova has been running as the more progressive option in the race against the incumbent, hoping to benefit from disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters who feel the DNC under Wasserman-Schultz helped “rig” the Democratic presidential primary for Hillary Clinton. Today is primary election day in Florida, and polls will close at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The Daily Lobo, a student newspaper at UNM, spoke to Canova. Canova said the experience of being a professor at UNM and elsewhere, and teaching a range of subjects related to public policy issues, has been great preparation for running for Congress.

NM voters moving towards political parties in election year

The months leading up to the general election show an increasing number of voters in New Mexico aligning themselves with a political party in the state rather than registering as independents. Democrats account for roughly half of registered voters, according to data from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office. The other half splits among Republicans, minor parties and those who decline to state an affiliation. But since January the number of registered Democrats spiked by about five percentage points and the number of registered Republicans increased by roughly 4 percentage points. Minor parties also saw an increase in voter registration since the beginning of the year.