October 4, 2018

NM Elections Roundup: Youngblood convicted, Gary Johnson updates and more

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.

It’s just five weeks until Election Day, and campaigns are entering their final stretch.State Rep. Monica Youngblood was convicted of one count of aggravated DWI last week. The bench trial took place exactly six weeks before Election Day. The Albuquerque Republican represents House District 68, on the west side of the city. It appears to be too late to replace Youngblood on the ballot (the Secretary of State has already begun sending them to military and overseas voters, as in accordance with state law).

Not only is the DWI problematic, but KOB-TV reported the Attorney General believes she violated the Governmental Conduct Act, and sent a letter to legislative authorities saying this.

I wrote about it briefly on Twitter, but Youngblood has represented the district since 2012, when the district was moved from northern New Mexico during  redistricting.
Youngblood won the seat by 10 percentage points in the general election after easily winning a four-way primary. Since then, she hasn’t faced any competition—until this year, with Democrat Karen Bash stepping up. So does Bash, who issued a brief statement after the verdict, have a chance at flipping this district?

On Bash’s side, you can see Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Donald Trump in the district—by just 0.65 percentage points. But Libertarian Gary Johnson earned over 11 percent of the vote. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, won the district by 1.6 percentage points. And the only statewide Democrat to win the district in 2014? Attorney General Hector Balderas. Who, coincidentally enough, represented district 68 for two years in the mid-2000s when it was in northern New Mexico.

With a Democratic wave and a high-profile conviction of the incumbent, this could be a pickup for Democrats to expand their House majority.

If you have any tips, send to matthew@nmpoliticalreport.com.

  • The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9. That’s only a week away! That’s also when early voting begins in county clerks’ offices throughout the state. Yes, we’re that close to Election Day.
  • Last week, Andy Lyman profiled the 1st Congressional District race and Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor turned Libertarian presidential candidate who is now running for U.S. Senate.
  • The Associated Press talked about Johnson’s potential to be a “spoiler” in the U.S. Senate race on their “Ground Game” podcast. Because everyone has a podcast these days.
  • Speaking of Johnson, a SuperPAC that is supporting his candidacy released a poll that shows Johnson trailing Heinrich by just seven points. It is a big difference in results from the Albuquerque Journal poll released last week. The poll is by NSON, whose president is Ron Nielson—who runs the Elect Liberty PAC.
  • The Albuquerque Journal has its election guide online, including profiles of many candidates.
  • Incumbent Democrat Ben Ray Luján’s opponents want to set up a debate with all three candidates before early voting starts next week. The Los Alamos Monitor reports on their frustration, while Luján says his official duties as a member of Congress take precedence.
  • Former President Barack Obama endorsed another slate of candidates Monday. It included six New Mexicans: Michelle Lujan Grisham for Governor, Howie Morales for Lieutenant Governor and Day Hochman-Vigil, Abbas Akhil, Melanie Stansbury and Karen Bash for state House.
  • The Secretary of State found that State Auditor Wayne Johnson violated campaign finance laws with money spent during his unsuccessful mayoral campaign. Johnson blames partisanship for the finding—Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is a Democrat, while Johnson is a Republican. Two weeks ago, Johnson himself was accused of partisanship because his office looked into payments to the law firm that employs his opponent, Brian Colón, from a village in northern New Mexico.

This is just a portion of the NM Elections Roundup. To get the full version inbox each Tuesday, sign up here.

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