February 26, 2016

Odds and Ends: Luján endorses Clinton, no Martinez endorsement yet

Hillary Clinton at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

—All of New Mexico’s congressional Democrats are on Team Hillary.

Ben Ray Luján, the last holdout, announced his support for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

Hillary Clinton at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore cc

Luján said in a statement that the former Secretary of State “embodies New Mexico values.”

“She puts people first and will roll up her sleeves to change their lives for the better,” he added. “Her record of advocating on behalf of women, children and families, investing in science and supporting our national labs, and fighting to protect our land, water and air will make a real difference in New Mexico and across the country.”

Luján is also the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, giving him an increased national profile among Democrats.

—Speaking of endorsements, you may have heard that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump (yes, each word is a link to a different news story on the event).

Before she became head of the Republican Governors Association, Martinez campaigned with her “good friend” Christie. Christie was already well on his way to an easy reelection victory.

So will Martinez join Christie (and somehow-still-Maine-Governor Paul LePage) as governors endorsing Trump? Not yet. A Martinez spokesman told the Associated Press she is staying neutral.

In the 2012 election, Martinez did endorse Mitt Romney, but only after the New Mexico primaries, well after Romney had the race sewn up.

—Did Judy Nakamura violate state law with that bars judges from fundraising under their names? That’s what the Democratic Party of New Mexico alleged on Friday, saying a letter from the Republican Party of New Mexico with “a message from Judge Judy Nakamura” violated this law.

“Judicial candidates, like Judy Nakamura, cannot personally solicit donations. Period,” Joe Kabourek, DPNM Executive Director, said in a statement. “Justice Nakamura, handpicked by Gov. Susana Martinez to serve on the New Mexico Supreme Court, is not following the rules. New Mexicans deserve leaders—especially judges and justices—who not only uphold the rules, but follow them as well.”

The Republican Party of New Mexico responded with their own statement calling the DPNM charge “desperate.” Then, they went on to admit to “a mistake.”

“It was planned that this message come from the campaign, rather than Justice Nakamura personally. We recognize that the language in the letter could have more clearly reflected this intention,” The RPNM statement said. “This was an honest mistake amongst both parties, and there was certainly no intention to violate any rule and we apologize for the confusion.”

—New Mexico’s influential Latino Republicans.

The conservative website Newsmax ran down a list of the most influential Republican Latinos. Ted Cruz led the list right ahead of Marco Rubio.

Gov. Martinez clocked in at 16 (between the mayor of Miami and a Miami radio host who advised Ronald Reagan). Further down the list? Lt. Gov. John Sanchez at 23.

The most surprising name is U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham at 44. Not because she isn’t influential—she is the First Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus—but because she isn’t a Republican.

This New Mexico member of Congress is the niece of Manuel Lujan, a former congressman and Secretary of the Interior under President George H. W. Bush.

NM Political Report reached out to a spokesman for Lujan Grisham.

“I know the Republican Party is having an identity crisis, but I’m not sure they want to claim a strong Democrat like Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham who is leading the charge in Congress on issues like healthcare, women’s rights and helping working families,” Gilbert Gallegos said in an emailed statement.

Gallegos noted that she is very distantly related to Manuel Lujan, not a niece as Newsmax claimed.