Heinrich calls on indicted U.S. Senator to step down

New Mexico’s senior senator says that U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez should resign because of his recent indictment in an alleged bribery case. 

Mendendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, has faced calls to resign from a number of Democratic politicians. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich joined those on Tuesday on a post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. “The charges against Senator Menendez are serious and very troubling,” Heinrich wrote. “While he deserves a fair trial, his constituents and our nation deserve a senator solely focused on delivering for the good of our country. Senator Menendez should step aside.”

The indictment alleges that Menendez took bribes to use his influence on foreign affairs.

A "Vote Here" sign at the Otero County Fairgrounds in Alamogordo.

Poll: CD2 race extremely close a year ahead of voting

As New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District looks like it will be a rematch of the 2022 race, incumbent Gabe Vasquez, a Democrat, very narrowly trails former U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican. The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA for KOB-TV, found that 46 percent of likely voters would vote for Herrell and 45 percent would vote for Vasquez. That leaves 9 percent who are currently, over a year from the start of voting, undecided. Related: Vasquez announces reelection bid in southern NM congressional district

A large swath of those surveyed did not have opinions on Herrell or Vasquez. When asked if they favored the candidates, 39 percent said they held a favorable opinion of Herrell, with 32 percent saying unfavorable and 23 percent saying neutral, with 8 percent saying no opinion.

Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Health officials from hospitals throughout the state encouraged New Mexicans to get vaccinated against three respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new vaccine for COVID, providers throughout the country will be able to provide the vaccination in the coming days. The New Mexico Department of Health advises anyone over the age of six months to get vaccinated for COVID and the flu. New Mexico Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Miranda Durham said that the vaccines began to ship yesterday and “should be arriving in the state towards the end of the week.”

DOH no longer has a COVID vaccine registration website, and those seeking the vaccine can schedule directly with their provider or a pharmacy. However, DOH does provide an interactive map at vaccinenm.org where residents can find places to schedule their appointment.’

COVID numbers have increased in New Mexico and nationwide recently, which led to questions of whether those who recently have had COVID need to get the new vaccine.

Pro-gun group files suit over guv’s gun carry ban, more coming

It didn’t take long for gun rights activists to file a lawsuit against the governor for her public health order that seeks to ban guns from public spaces in Bernalillo County because of gun violence. The order would ban open and concealed carry in public spaces in Bernalillo County, with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed security personnel. 

Related: ‘Cooling off period’: Gov bans firearms in public in BernCo

The pro-gun group the National Association for Gun Rights announced they would file a lawsuit in federal court against the governor, citing the Bruen U.S. Supreme Court ruling that greatly limited the ability to restrict access to guns. 

“Governor Luhan Grisham [sic] is throwing up a middle finger to the Constitution and the Supreme Court,” Dudley Brown, president of the gun-rights group, said in a statement. “Her executive order is in blatant disregard for Bruen. She needs to be held accountable for stripping the God-given rights of millions away with the stroke of a pen.” 

Other gun rights groups also blasted the decision and likely will file lawsuits. Senate Minority Leader Greg Baca, R-Belen, also said he would be filing a suit against the governor.

Former State Rep. announces run for Congress

A Republican who served in the state House of Representatives for three terms announced that she will run for Congress in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District. Sharon Clahchischilliage, a member of the Navajo Nation and currently a member of the Public Education Commission, will challenge incumbent Teresa Leger Fernandez in the longtime Democratic stronghold. “It’s time for Congress to hear a voice like mine, someone who has served our country, taught in the classroom, raised on the family farm, and fought against the radicals in Santa Fe,” Clahchischilliage said in a press release. “I am running for Congress to restore commonsense values to Washington and deliver results for the hardworking families of New Mexico. From energy production to protecting the farmers, ranchers, and herders, New Mexicans need someone who has lived their experiences, not tell them how to live.” 

The Republican would have an uphill battle, as the district has been the most Democratic-leaning district in the state since its inception in 1983.

Former governor Richardson dies at 75

Former governor, congressman and diplomat Bill Richardson died Saturday, according to the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. Richardson was 75. 

According to a statement from Mickey Bergman, the vice president of the organization on Saturday, Richardson “passed away peacefully in his sleep last night.”

Richardson had a long history in New Mexico politics, including serving two terms as governor. But he also worked on the national and international stage. “He lived his entire life in the service of others — including both his time in government and his subsequent career helping to free people held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” Bergman said. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called Richardson a “visionary who saw the potential of our great state before so many others did.”

Lujan Grisham approval rating at 47 percent while Heinrich and Luján have lower ratings

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham continues to have more voters approve of her job performance than disapprove, though the number remains below 50 percent. Meanwhile, both of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators have more voters who approve of their job performance than disapprove but a large amount have no opinion. A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report found that 47 percent of New Mexico voters approve of Lujan Grisham’s job performance, compared to 43 percent who disapprove. Another 9 percent are not sure. Numbers on polls may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

Biden leads in NM in potential 2024 matchups

A new exclusive poll commissioned by NM Political Report finds that incumbent President Joe Biden has a lead over former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in potential 2024 matchups in New Mexico. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 767 New Mexico voters from Aug. 23-24. Biden has the support of 49 percent of those polled against both Trump and DeSantis. In a potential rematch against Trump, the Republican former President would get 41 percent of the vote, with 10 percent of voters saying they were not sure.

QAnon-believing Las Cruces resident charged with threatening congresswoman

A Las Cruces resident is being charged with a federal crime for alleged threats made against a Texas congressman. According to the complaint from May 28, as discovered by the Court Watch newsletter by Seamus Hughes, Las Cruces resident Michael David Fox allegedly threatened to kill a congresswoman from Houston, Texas, in a voicemail. The FBI did not identify the member of Congress. Fox made transphobic comments in the call. The complaint charges Fox with violating the “Interstate Threatening Communications” law.

Ousted anti-abortion Democrat seeks comeback as a Republican

One of the most significant recent elections in New Mexico took place in the June 2020 primaries, when five Democrats who opposed abortion rights lost their primaries to more progressive challengers. One of those was Gabriel Ramos of Silver City. Ramos, who was never elected and was appointed to replace the vacancy left by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, lost to Siah Correa Hemphill in the Democratic primary in 2020 for Senate District 28 by a wide margin. Correa Hemphill, like others, made support of abortion rights a key part of her campaign. After the loss, Ramos switched political affiliations to the Republican Party and now seeks a rematch with Correa Hemphill, this time in the general election.