Majority of voters support NM’s law protecting abortion access

A poll commissioned by NM Political Report found that a majority of voters support abortion rights, including a law protecting abortion rights recently passed by the state legislature, and also are poised to approve dipping into the state’s massive land grant permanent fund for education funding. Abortion rights could be at the forefront of midterm elections as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to gut the landmark Roe v. Wade decision this summer. When asked in the poll conducted by Public Policy Polling if abortion should be always legal; legal with some limitations; illegal except for rape, incest or to save the mother’s life; or always illegal, a majority said it should be legal (with 30 percent saying always, 25 percent saying legal with limitations). Just 13 percent said it should always be illegal and 29 percent said it should be illegal except in the cases or rape, incest or to save the mother’s life. When asked about the new state law that would allow abortion to remain legal in New Mexico regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court decides, 53 percent said they supported the recently enacted law and 36 percent said they opposed it.

Dems lead in SOS, AG races

Democrats hold leads in the races for Secretary of State and Attorney General, two high profile statewide positions. Races for Secretary of State across the nation, in states where the position is the chief elections officer, have received renewed attention this cycle because of efforts by many Republicans to restrict voting access or even outright overturn elections. And as the U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn rights like those involving reproductive healthcare, the position of Attorney General is also increasingly important (although New Mexico has state laws with protections, unlike some other states). The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 44 percent of voters supported Democrat Raúl Torrez, compared to 37 percent who favored Republican Jeremy Gay, with 19 percent who said they were not sure. The position is open because current Attorney General Hector Balderas is term limited and cannot run for a third consecutive term.

Slight majority of voters give thumbs up to Gov on COVID response

A slight majority of voters support Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, while a slight plurality say the same about President Joe Biden according to a poll commissioned by NM Political Report. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 51 percent of voters approve of the job Lujan Grisham has done in handling the ongoing pandemic, while 46 percent disapproved. The same amount disapproved of President Joe Biden’s job performance on the pandemic, though just 48 percent said they approved. The approval largely fell along partisan lines, with 81 percent of Democrats approving of Biden’s handling of the pandemic compared to 10 percent who disapproved, while 86 percent of Republicans disapproved of the handling of the pandemic and 12 percent approved. Among independent voters, 61 percent disapproved, while 33 percent approved.

Poll: Lujan Grisham with narrow lead at start of general election

A new poll commissioned by NM Political Report shows that incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham holds a narrow lead over Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti at the start of the general election campaign. The poll by Public Policy Polling shows Lujan Grisham leads Ronchetti 45 percent to 42 percent, with Libertarian Karen Bedonie receiving 9 percent and 5 percent saying they’re not sure. The lead for Lujan Grisham is within the margin of error for the poll. Related: Poll: Lujan Grisham even approval/disapproval ratings

Lujan Grisham won the 2018 gubernatorial campaign 57.2 percent to 42.8 percent over Steve Pearce, the Republican candidate and now chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico. Ronchetti lost the 2020 U.S. Senate election to Democrat Ben Ray Luján 51.7 percent to 45.6 percent with Libertarian Bob Walsh taking 2.6 percent.

Poll: Lujan Grisham even approval/disapproval ratings

Just under 50 percent of New Mexico voters approve of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s job performance according to a recent poll commissioned by NM Political Report. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that 48 percent of New Mexico voters approved of her job performance while an equal 48 percent disapproved. Another 5 percent were not sure. The numbers do not add up to 100 percent because of rounding. Lujan Grisham’s approval was higher among women than men, with 54 percent of women approving of her job performance and 54 percent of men disapproving.

Ronchetti wins Republican nomination for governor

Mark Ronchetti, a former meteorologist, won the Republican primary for governor and will face incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this November. Ronchetti won a five-way primary after being the candidate with the highest name recognition and the most campaign funds throughout the primary. In his victory speech, Ronchetti touted his credentials. “When I announced my campaign, I said I was running because politicians have forgotten us….they don’t listen. I’m a political outsider,” the former U.S. Senate candidate said, “and I won’t apologize for that.”

What to watch for in today’s primary elections

Voters, at least those who have not voted already, will decide which candidates will take part in November’s general election today. 

State races

The marquee race is on the Republican side, where five Republicans vie for the party’s nomination for governor. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham in November, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Two Libertarians, one of which is a write-in candidate, are also vying for their party’s nomination. Two public polls released in May show that former weatherman and 2020 Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti with a healthy lead over his opponents. State Rep. Rebecca Dow, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, retired National Guard Brigadier General Greg Zanetti and anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg are the other candidates seeking the position.

Texas has spent billions of dollars on border security. But what taxpayers got in return is a mystery.

In October 2005, Texas Gov. Rick Perry traveled to the border city of Laredo and announced Operation Linebacker, a new initiative that he said would protect the state’s residents from terrorist groups such as al-Qaida.

Without pointing to evidence, Perry said such terrorist groups, along with drug cartels and gangs, were attempting to exploit the U.S.-Mexico border. A press release from the governor’s office said Perry warned that after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, criminal organizations could “import terror, illegal narcotics and weapons of mass destruction.”

Legislature passes financial relief bill in special session

A bill to provide financial relief to New Mexicans quickly worked its way through the Legislature in a special session on Tuesday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called legislators into the special session largely to pass this bill. It took nearly 12 hours for lawmakers to send the legislation to her desk. The legislation would provide $500 in individual tax rebates to those who file taxes, or $1,000 to the head of a household who is married. The payments would come in the form of two payments, one in June and one in August.

Health department recommends booster shot for those who are 50+ or with certain health conditions

The New Mexico Department of Health recommends an additional COVID-19 booster for those who are over 50 years old and for immunocompromised people who are age 12 or older. The recommendation on Wednesday followed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation earlier in the week and applies to those who received a booster of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 shot at least four months ago. The booster shot would be of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which use mRNA. “Vaccines and boosters are both safe and free. The data clearly demonstrates that COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses protect individuals from both infection and severe outcomes,” Acting Department of Health Secretary David R. Scrase, M.D. said.