Dems: Popular vote should determine presidential winner

New Mexico’s five electoral college votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes nationally, under a bill that state senators approved Monday in a party-line decision. All 26 Democratic senators voted for the measure and all 16 Republicans opposed it, perhaps a predictable outcome three months after Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote but handily won the presidency in the electoral college. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the electoral college allows presidential candidates to ignore most voters because it largely functions as a winner-take-all system in individual states. “Candidates have no reason to pay attention to states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind,” Stewart said. In addition, she said, minority-party voters in heavily Republican or overwhelmingly Democratic states believe that their votes don’t matter because the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

NM Dems file legislation to blunt Trump’s impact

A local legislator’s bill to bar New Mexico law enforcement from imposing federal immigration laws is getting attention as a measure to challenge President Trump’s expected crackdown on illegal immigration. “Given the repressive potential coming from the Trump administration, I wanted to make sure our immigrant community felt safe and protected,” the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, said in a recent interview. Hers is just one of several proposals sitting before the New Mexico Legislature directly reflect what’s happening as a result of 2016’s contentious campaign and the election of Donald Trump as president. State Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, for example, is carrying a bill that would require New Mexico’s electors to cast their votes to reflect the national popular vote. State Rep. Matthew McQueen, D-Galisteo, has a measure to eliminate “faithless” electors, or state electors who cast votes without abiding by their state’s vote totals.

Martinez calls for unity

One week after accusing lawmakers of failing to make tough decisions as New Mexico slid into financial crisis, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez struck a conciliatory tone in her annual State of the State address Tuesday, calling on legislators to work together as the state faces a projected deficit that will top the agenda for the 60-day legislative session ahead. Rattling off issues on which Republican and Democratic lawmakers had reached agreement in the recent past, Martinez urged bipartisan compromise during the session’s opening day. But with the governor also calling on lawmakers to reinstate the death penalty for some crimes and reiterating her opposition to raising taxes, her pleas for cooperation with Democratic majorities in both the state Senate and House of Representatives will be quickly tested. Related: Dem response: ‘The state of our state is unacceptable’

This year’s session may be the last big opportunity for Martinez to advance some of her big-ticket legislative proposals. Only a 30-day session, which are typically dedicated to the budget, will remain before the two-term governor leaves office at the end of 2018.

NM electors cast votes for Clinton

New Mexico’s electors officially cast the state’s five electoral college votes for Hillary Clinton Monday. Clinton won the state easily last month, even as she lost the national race to Republican Donald Trump when it comes to electoral votes. Trump received enough votes Monday to be formally named the president-elect. Each state receives an electoral vote for each member of the congressional delegation, plus Washington D.C. receives three electoral votes. Clinton received 48.3 percent of the vote in New Mexico, compared to 40 percent of the vote going to Trump.

What do Trump’s trade proposals mean for New Mexico?

Just months before Donald Trump’s surprise victory to the nation’s top office, Gov. Susana Martinez penned an op-ed about a bright spot in New Mexico’s otherwise weak economy. That bright spot is also a geographical location—the border. “We are quickly positioning our state as a gateway of international trade throughout the Americas,” Martinez wrote in June, “and we are embracing our newly found leadership role, which wouldn’t be possible without the cross-border relationships we’ve built.”
Related: Why Trump would almost certainly be violating the Constitution if he continues to own his businesses (by ProPublica)
Last year, for example, Las Cruces and Santa Fe, respectively, ranked as the two metropolitan areas in the nation with the highest economic growth in exports. In 2012 and 2014, New Mexico also led the nation in export growth. Nearly half of these exports—45 percent—are shipped south of the border.

Heinrich asks Obama to declassify info on Russian involvement in elections

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich wants the information about the Russian government’s involvement in the recent U.S. election to be declassified. Heinrich and the other Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee wrote a short letter to President Barack Obama asking for the declassification. “We believe there is additional information concerning the Russian Government and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the public,” the letter reads. The letter says specifics on the call for declassification were sent “through classified channels.”

In October, the Obama administration said that Russia was responsible for hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails. A private security firm said that Russian hackers were also behind the hacking of John Podesta’s emails.

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.

Martinez’s term as RGA chair ends

Gov. Susana will no longer chair the Republican Governors Association. Instead, the organization elected Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, according to an announcement Wednesday. The RGA, which advocates to elect Republican governors across the nation, elected Martinez at its helm last year. Before then, she served for one year as vice chair. Martinez will continue to serve on the RGA’s executive committee.

Martinez on controversial Trump pick: ‘He gets to choose whoever he wants’

Gov. Susana Martinez continued warming up to President-elect Donald Trump by defending his controversial pick of Steve Bannon to national media outlets Tuesday. Trump’s pick of Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart, the far-right news website, as chief strategist at the White House drew rebuke from anti-discrimination groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. At the same time, the American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan and former KKK leader David Duke praised Trump’s pick of Bannon. Bannon is under fire for his alleged anti-semitic comments as well as running Breitbart while the website published stories with headlines like, “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage,”  “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy,” and “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews.” While Democrats, including those in New Mexico’s congressional delegation, are criticizing Trump for the pick, most congressional Republicans haven’t commented one way or another on Bannon.

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.