Dems eye tax reforms to balance 2018 budget

A framed newspaper clipping adorns the wall outside the office of New Mexico Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth. The piece, dated May 25, 2002, serves as a reminder of the time when Republican Gov. Gary Johnson, who had vetoed 700 bills in six years, finally overplayed his hand. One of those vetoes was the $3.9 billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year, a 1.1 percent increase over the previous year. Johnson, a fiscal hawk, said the plan didn’t go far enough to control the growth of Medicaid. With just a few weeks left in the fiscal year, the Democratic Party-controlled House and Senate called themselves back to Santa Fe for a special session to override the veto and keep the government operating.

Pot proposal advances in House but faces uncertain future

Adults over 21 would be able to legally buy, possess and smoke marijuana under a bill that survived its first hearing Saturday in the state House of Representatives. The Consumer and Public Affairs Committee voted 3-1 to advance the bill without a recommendation. Sponsored by Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Mesilla Park, House Bill 89 moves ahead to the House Judiciary Committee. His proposal would tax and regulate recreational marijuana, as is done in eight other states, including neighboring Colorado. It would earmark 40 percent of taxes from cannabis sales for education and designate other proceeds to government programs.

But don’t spark up yet.

Lawmakers look at slicing APS into smaller districts

Near the end of his announcement for mayor last weekend, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis took a shot at the city’s public school district, saying it needed “radical repair.”

“I believe now is the time to deconstruct this large unaccountable school district and replace it with smaller, more accountable school districts,” Lewis said at the business incubator ABQ Fat Pipe, which is located in the old Albuquerque High School building. “As your mayor, what I’ll do is lead the charge to fundamentally change education in our city.”

With more than 95,000 students in the school system, APS ranks as the 31st largest public school district in the nation—outsizing the public school systems in bigger cities like Detroit, San Francisco and Boston. Lewis is making the idea of breaking up the school district a part of his mayoral platform. To do so requires action from the state legislature. State Rep. David Adkins, R-Albuquerque, could be the lawmaker that takes on the issue this legislative session, which starts next week.

State certifies election results, orders three recounts in legislative races

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.

Where Clinton beat Trump and Trump beat Clinton in NM

More people voted in 2016 than in 2012, but turnout fell when compared to the amount of registered voters. And both total votes and turnout fell far behind the numbers of 2008. Because of this and other factors, Hillary Clinton won New Mexico by a smaller margin than Barack Obama did in either 2008 or 2012, and even lost some counties that Obama won four years ago. In fact, Clinton received a lower share of the vote in every county in the state except for Los Alamos County. Vote totals will not be finalized until canvasses are complete, so all numbers in this post from 2016 could change slightly.

Libertarians celebrate Johnson’s run, see a coming GOP divide

While both New Mexico Democrats and Republicans were carefully watching national election numbers roll in on Tuesday night hoping for a win for their candidate, Gary Johnson supporters in Albuquerque were cheering for the win of getting the support of three percent of voters nationwide and nine percent in New Mexico. A few hours before Donald Trump gave an acceptance speech, the Libertarian Party nominee  and his supporters were near Old Town in Albuquerque, celebrating what was ultimately a presidential loss. But they didn’t see the showing as a loss, instead seeing the best showing for a Libertarian candidate ever. Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark kept on eye on the numbers throughout the night, but seemed more concerned with his party’s numbers and less concerned with the numbers of the two candidates who finished well ahead of Johnson. Sarwark and his party also seem focused on the long game—eventually getting even footing with the two major parties—during this election cycle.

Networks: Clinton wins NM; Toulouse Oliver wins SOS race

While the race remains too close to call in many key battleground states, national media outlets are starting to project Hillary Clinton will win in New Mexico. With over 435,000 votes already counted, Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump 52 percent to 38 percent. Libertarian and former New Mexico Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has the support of 8 percent of votes counted already. While one pull put the race in New Mexico as close as 2 percent, even the polls with larger margins for Clinton may have underestimated. This wasn’t the only good race for New Mexico Democrats.

Libertarians one step closer to major party status in NM

The Libertarian Party of New Mexico’s membership numbers are now high enough to qualify the group for major party status. Now that determination lies on how many votes former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson receives on election night in the state. If Johnson wins five percent of the vote in New Mexico, the state’s Libertarian Party could have a nominee on the next gubernatorial ballot. Libertarian Party of New Mexico Director Burly Cain told NM Political Report voters are finding it increasingly difficult to find a candidate they agree with, especially during this election cycle. “Many people in this election cycle are finding that they are looking for underlying principles that match their political ideals,” Cain said.

Clinton up by 8 in NM, according to latest poll

A likely final poll of the presidential race in New Mexico puts Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ahead of Republican nominee Donald Trump by eight points. The poll found Clinton leads Trump 45 percent to 37 percent. Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson came away with 11 percent support while Green Party candidate Jill Stein polled at 3 percent support. Results from the poll, conducted by Gravis Marketing, are perhaps most surprising because of the organization it’s commissioned by—Breitbart News. The right-wing online news organization is notable for its enthusiasm for Trump and the so-called “alt right” segment of his supporters who deviate from more mainstream conservatives, especially on racial issues.

Clinton by 2 over Trump in latest poll

A final poll of the presidential race in New Mexico shows Hillary Clinton clinging to a two-point lead over Republican Donald Trump. The poll by ZiaPolls was conducted Nov. 6 and surveyed 8,429 likely voters—a much larger number than normal for a public opinion poll, especially for a statewide poll. The poll finds Clinton has the support of 46 percent of likely New Mexico voters to Trump’s 44 percent. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, running as a Libertarian, receives the support of just 6 percent of voters, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at 1 percent.