With Democrats maintaining a large lead in the state House of Representatives and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham reelected for another four years, the Legislature is in a position to pass reproductive rights legislation, according to a Democratic legislator. State Rep. Linda Serrato, D-Santa Fe, called the next two years “crucial” to passing reproductive rights legislation. She said her focus is on expanding access to reproductive healthcare. “This election spoke volumes. We have a majority female House and a governor who supports bodily autonomy.
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the incumbent who has been in office since 2016, won her seat easily according to unofficial results as of 10:45 p.m.. Her primary opponent, Republican Audrey Trujillo, trailed by 15 points. Libertarian candidate Mayna Erika Myers received less than five percent of the vote. Toulouse Oliver carried the majority of votes in the state’s most populous counties – Santa Fe, Bernalillo and Doña Ana counties but Trujillo carried many rural counties, including Eddy, Chaves, Curry, Lea, Quay and Union counties. But Toulouse Oliver carried some traditionally Democratic rural counties, including Grant and McKinley.
Democrat Raúl Torrez won the New Mexico Attorney General’s race, leading easily over Republican Jeremy Michael Gay according to unofficial election results as of 10:45 p.m.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas termed out so the Attorney General race was open in 2022. Torrez defeated Brian Colón, who is the current state auditor, in the Democratic primary.
Torrez is currently serving as Bernalillo County District Attorney. He won Bernalillo County by 61 percent of the vote as of 10:45 p.m.
Torrez was not available for comment Tuesday night but through a news release, that he is “honored and humbled” by the win. “Nasha and I want to thank every single person who helped this campaign and supported my vision for New Mexico. I want to thank Jeremy Gay for stepping up to run for elected office and serve the people of New Mexico.
“This election is just the beginning as we embark on the work to make our state a safer and more prosperous community for the future.
Constitutional Amendment 1, which will allow an increase from the Permanent Land Grant Fund distribution by 1.25 percent, won by a large margin. As of 9:45 p.m., the votes in favor were 349,579 to 146,969 opposed. Those in favor carried the vote by 70 percent. Angie Poss, spokesperson for Vote Yes for Kids! Constitutional Amendment 1, a group that has been working to convince voters to vote in favor of the amendment, said by phone that the celebration at Hotel Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque, after a decade-long fight, was joyous.
If Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti wins election, he can still impact reproductive rights policy, even without being able to pass his priorities through the Legislature with Democratic majorities. Ronchetti has campaigned on an anti-abortion policy. During the Republican primary, his campaign website said he believed “life should be protected – at all stages.” In a commercial in September he said, that if elected, he would support a voter referendum on banning abortion after 15 weeks. But in July, Albuquerque megachurch pastor Steve Smothermon said Ronchetti told him privately that, if elected, Ronchetti still intended to ban abortion. Ronchetti’s campaign denied it.
Related: Pastor says Ronchetti would seek to ban abortion
Smothermon reiterated the claim to his congregation in October, saying that “he told me exactly what I said.”
Ronchetti’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Albuquerque Legacy Church Pastor Steve Smothermon said for a second time that GOP candidate for governor, Mark Ronchetti, told Smothermon he would ban abortion if elected. Ronchetti’s campaign denied the allegation when Smothermon initially said he and Ronchetti had talked “for hours” and that Ronchetti had told him during an earlier part of his campaign that he would ban abortion if elected. Smothermon announced this during a church sermon in July. Ronchetti’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment regarding Smothermon’s second allegation made before his congregation in October. But Smothermon insisted to his congregants, “I assure you, he told me exactly what I said.”
Democratic Party of New Mexico Communications Director Daniel Garcia questioned Ronchetti’s trustworthiness in response to the pastor’s remarks.
U.S. House of Representatives Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat who represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, held a rally with Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, from Massachusetts on Thursday. The rally, which took place at an office building on the east side of Albuquerque, was part of an effort to whip up voter support in New Mexico.
It was the second visit to Albuquerque by a high profile Democrat this week. On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris held a talk about reproductive rights with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Democrat who is up for reelection in November. Stansbury made connections between being what she called a “pro-choice” candidate with also believing in science and democracy. Stansbury did not refer to her Republican opponent by name, but she is facing a challenge from Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes.
Vice President Kamala Harris said during an event in New Mexico on Tuesday that the fight around reproductive rights in the United States will affect women all over the world. Harris stopped in Albuquerque to talk with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and University of New Mexico Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family Planning Fellowship Director Dr. Eve Espey about protecting reproductive rights. The moderated discussion took place in front of a packed house of about 250 people at the University of New Mexico’s Keller Hall in the Center for the Arts and Arts Museum. Harris said people around the world watch what is happening politically in the U.S. She said former German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaned over during a conversation about Russia and China and asked Harris about what is happening with voting rights in the U.S.
“My fear on this issue is that dictators around the world will say to their people who are fighting for rights, ‘you want to hold out America as the example?’ Look at what they just did; be quiet,’” she said. “I highlight the significance of this moment and the impact, which not only directly impacts the people of our nation but very likely impacts people around the world.”
Harris highlighted her mother’s career, saying that her mother was one of the very few women of color researching breast cancer in her era.
A group of six U.S. Senators, led by Senator Martin Heinrich, signed a letter urging the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to terminate its contract with CoreCivic for its operation of the Torrance County Detention Facility. The Democrats’ letter is in response to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General follow-up report in September that ICE had not fully addressed 10 of the 14 OIG recommendations to improve conditions at the facility. The OIG report recommended the detainees be relocated from the facility. This is the second time this year the OIG has made that recommendation. In March, the OIG released its initial report, based on a surprise visit in February, recommending the immediate relocation of detainees due to “inhumane” conditions.
A new report found that 15,064 newly naturalized citizens live in New Mexico and that they have the potential to impact elections in the state. The report, titled New American Voters in New Mexico, was produced by a group of organizations that work with naturalized citizens. It says that President Donald Trump’s win in 2016 galvanized many to become naturalized citizens. Juan Avila Campuzano, a spokesperson for Somos Un Pueblo Unido, said Lawful Permanent Residents, also known as “green card holders” who lived sometimes for decades with green cards become naturalized citizens after the 2016 election. “It was a catalyst for many,” Avila Campuzano said.