Otero County Sheriff David Black removes the microphone from former Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin during a heated exchange at the regular Otero County Commission meeting November 10, 2022.

Couy Griffin confronts DuBois over appointment, derails meeting

Former Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin caused a fuss at the Otero County Commission meeting last week when his time at the public comment table became so heated, one of the sitting county commissioners plans to file a restraining order against Griffin. Griffin was unhappy that Stephanie DuBois, a Democrat, was appointed to his old seat after Griffin was removed from office based on the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment’s Disqualification Clause after his conviction related to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection in Washington, D.C.

“I’m going to have to do what I’m going to have to do,” DuBois said Monday. 

DuBois deemed Griffin’s rant as a verbal assault and is in the process of filing a restraining order against Griffin. “Couy Griffin, duly elected and legitimate county commissioner of District 2 as well as founder of Cowboys for Trump and I’d like to just start out by saying looking up here at you Stephanie (DuBois) in that seat is a total disgrace,” Griffin declared. 

Griffin said that he felt DuBois’ appointment was disgraceful because she has run for office in Otero County eight times including in last week’s election and has lost each time. DuBois interjected and Griffin said that “I’m talking right now.

NMAG and SOS issue warning amid election misinformation campaigns

As New Mexico’s counties begin certifying vote totals in the 2022 Midterm election, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a joint statement on Nov. 15 that warned of possible disruptions to the election certification process during county commission meetings. “This week, New Mexico’s county commissions are playing their vital role in the administration of our elections by performing their legal duties as the county canvassing boards in their respective counties,” the statement said. “The ‘canvass’ is the process of reconciling and confirming the accuracy of the election results and reporting those results to the county and then to the state. Under the law, these county boards support the county clerk in the canvass of the election and are mainly responsible for ensuring the timely certification of the county clerk’s report of canvass.

Amid international climate conference, EPA announces proposal for cutting methane emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released new draft rules to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas sector on Friday during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27. The draft rule released Friday builds upon a previous draft rule released last year. Environmental advocates say that the proposal is strong, but could be stronger. Many groups said further restrictions or elimination of routine flaring are needed. Full text of the draft rule can be found here. 

“Ozone pollution and climate impacts from methane emissions pose a serious threat to our people.

Gabe Vasquez narrowly won the U.S. 2nd Congressional District seat in New Mexico in the 2022 Midterm Election.

Vasquez declares victory, Herrell concedes in close congressional race

After a close race for Congressional District 2, Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez declared victory over Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell, who conceded. The unofficial vote count for the Congressional District 2 race showed Democrat Gabe Vasquez at 50.32 percent, or 96,556 votes, and 49.68 percent of the vote or 95,332 votes going to Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell. 

Update: The Associated Press projected Gabe Vasquez as the winner at 8:36 a.m. on Thursday. “Make no mistake about it, there’s nothing that happens in Washington that New Mexico can’t do better,” Vasquez said in a press release. “To everyone out there struggling, no matter whether you voted for me or not, please know this: I see you, I hear you, and I’ll fight my heart out for you, because public service is a sacred responsibility that I will never take for granted.”

Herrell conceded to Vasquez Wednesday afternoon. “While we are disappointed by the final results, I am incredibly proud of our team and the work we did serving our district, and I am grateful for the steadfast support of so many who helped us along the way,” Herrell said.

Deputy Otero County Clerk Denise Guerra and a poll worker do election night work on November 8, 2022 at the Otero County Clerk's Office in Alamogordo.

Two recounts coming in state House races, congressional race outside recount threshold

The 2nd Congressional District race between Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell and Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez is still too close to call with both candidates having 50 percent of the vote. Two state House seats, meanwhile, appear poised to trigger automatic recounts. Vasquez has 96,253 votes in his favor and Herrell has 95,238 votes in her favor, a margin of 1,025 votes for Vasquez, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office election results page. 

“These are unofficial results- that’s important to know- they don’t become official until the state canvassing board meets and certifies them on Nov. 29,” New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Alex Curtas said. “Only then will we know whether or not the result is within the margin to trigger an automatic recount.”

The margin to activate an automatic recount is one quarter of one percent of the vote total.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a Democratic Party rally in Albuquerque on November 3, 2022.

Michelle Lujan Grisham wins a second-term after bruising campaign

Tuesday night ended with incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham winning reelection to the governor’s office. “Tonight, New Mexico said yes – yes to hope, yes to growth, yes to fighting for our neighbors, not against them,” Lujan Grisham said in a press release. “Tonight New Mexico said yes to equal justice under the law, New Mexico said yes to economic opportunity for all, New Mexico said yes to more health care for families, better education for kids and more economic freedom for workers and students.” The expensive campaign featured millions of dollars of ads on each side, with attack ads blanketing airwaves and mailers filling inboxes for weeks. Lujan Grisham spoke about protecting abortion access, while Ronchetti campaigned on crime, saying it was out of control in the state.

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

Democrats win state treasurer, auditor and commissioner of public lands

Democrats swept the down-ballot statewide races, with candidates winning treasurer, auditor and commissioner of public lands. The closest race was for state treasurer, with Democratic candidate Laura Montoya thanking supporters and giving a short victory speech shortly after 9:30 p.m.

As of 10 p.m., unofficial results showed her leading with 53 percent of the votes. Montoya was running against Republican Harry Montoya, who is a former Democrat, in the open race for state treasurer. The most distance was in the race for state auditor, which was also an open race without an incumbent. The Republican Party did not nominate a candidate, but that didn’t mean Democratic nominee Joseph Maestas could sail to victory without any opposition.

Stansbury defeats Garcia Holmes in 1st Congressional District race

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat, won a full term after defeating Republican challenger Michelle Garcia Holmes. 

The Associated Press called the race for Stansbury shortly before 9:30 p.m. Unofficial results from the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website had her leading with 59 percent of the votes as of 9:40 p.m.

Bernalillo County voters handed Stansbury a large lead over Garcia Holmes, who in 2018 ran for lieutenant governor. Garcia Holmes received strong support from conservative parts of the district including Otero, Chaves and De Baca counties. These areas were all added to the district during the most recent round of redistricting. Stansbury won a special election to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in 2021 following former Rep. Deb Haaland’s appointment as Secretary of the Interior. Prior to serving as a congresswoman, Stansbury was a member of the state’s House of Representatives.

Leger Fernández said her to-do list includes addressing inflation and increasing manufacturing not only in the United States but also in New Mexico.

In a rematch of the 2020 election, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández once again defeated Republican Alexis Martinez Johnson to represent New Mexico’s Third Congressional District. Leger Fernández took the stage around 9:10 p.m. for her victory speech. The Associated Press called the race at 8:51 p.m.

In 2020, Leger Fernández won 59 percent of the votes compared to Martinez Johnson’s 41 percent. However, redistricting brought more conservative areas into the district, including parts of Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties. At about 9:30 p.m., unofficial results showed Leger Fernández leading with 55 percent of the votes.

FiveThirtyEight predicts Lujan Grisham, Herrell favored to win reelection

The two biggest races in the 2022 General Election are the governor’s race and Congressional District 2. Poll analysis website FiveThirtyEight predicts that incumbents Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, a Republican, will win reelection Nov. 8. FiveThirtyEight has an election breakdown of when to expect election results and a forecasting model that shows based on polls how contenders may do once ballots are counted. The Deluxe version “simulates the election 40,000 times to see who wins most often,” Nathaniel Rakich and Elena Mejía say in the FiveThirtyEight project.