Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson stopped on his way into a rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center to see the workings of a lowrider car with hydraulics Saturday afternoon. After he watched with awe, the most logical thing happened—the presidential candidate sat in the car as the front end jumped seven feet off the ground and lurched forward. The surrounding crowd cheered as Johnson pressed against the ceiling of the car. https://twitter.com/Anjreu/status/767070094526590976
Later, as he walked into a press conference, Johnson told NM Political Report he enjoyed himself but was still feeling the effects. “My teeth are still chattering,” Johnson said.
Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence spent his Tuesday Albuquerque town hall defending the character of his party’s controversial presidential nominee in wake of constant negative headlines. So did a few other local Republicans who spoke at the event, including Congressman Steve Pearce and State House Majority Whip Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas. Pearce said he was won over during the Republican National Convention with a few “dramatic revelations of the character of Donald Trump.”
Among them was Trump’s “disarming and revealing” words about his evangelical Christian supporters. “He said, ‘I’m getting support from the evangelicals and I’m not sure I deserve it,’” Pearce said. “That’s what I am looking for in politicians who will be transparent.”
Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson will be appearing in New Mexico next week, a week and a half later than originally scheduled. The former New Mexico governor will appear for a campaign rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center, according to the campaign. The event is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m., but doors will open at 1:00 p.m.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also held a campaign rally at the same venue in May; however, the convention center has many different rooms and it’s unlikely Johnson’s event will take place in the same large room as Trump’s. Johnson originally announced he would be in Albuquerque for the rally this week. However, his campaign rescheduled days before the event.
In response to allegations of breaking campaign finance laws, Republican Secretary of State candidate Nora Espinoza said her accuser manipulated documents to create false accusations. Espinoza sent Secretary of State Brad Winter a four-page letter defending campaign finance reports she filed in 2016. These reports accounted for expenses and donations going back to last year. Espinoza, however, also accused Robert Lara, who filed the complaint last month, of falsifying documents in an attempt to attack her. “Mr. Lara created a form of his own design with his own headings and terminology which nowhere appear in statute.
Less than a week before Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in New Mexico, the Libertarian Party ticket will hold a public rally in Albuquerque. The Gary Johnson campaign told NM Political Report that Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld will appear at the Albuquerque Convention Center this Thursday, the first such rally by Johnson in New Mexico since he became the Libertarian Party presidential nominee. Many in New Mexico still remember Johnson from his two terms as governor. Often referred to as “Governor No,” Johnson takes pride in the high number of bills he vetoed while in office. Weld is a former two-term governor of Massachusetts.
Monday evening, the Albuquerque City Council sent a sick leave ballot initiative to Bernalillo County officials with a request that it go to voters in November. If enacted, the initiative, spearheaded by the Healthy Workforce ABQ coalition, would require businesses with 40 or fewer employees to provide workers with 40 hours of paid sick leave each year. Businesses with more than 40 employees would be required to provide workers 56 hours of paid sick leave each year. City Councilor Trudy Jones took a moment to remind members of the public that the Council had no authority to completely strike down the bill. “We cannot vote against this and defeat it,” Jones said.
Darren White resigned from Gary Johnson’s administration over the then-governor’s push for marijuana legalization. Now, White thinks that Johnson should be the next president. Last Thursday, just before the end of the Republican National Convention, White took to Twitter to announce his support for Johnson. “This year I can’t back the GOP,” White wrote. “And I’m not alone.”
A ballot initiative that would require most Albuquerque employers to provide paid sick leave for employees will head to the City Council after the City Clerk’s office approved more than enough petitions signatures this week. Albuquerque City Clerk Natalie Howard confirmed with NM Political Report on Thursday that Healthy Workforce ABQ, a group of community advocates turned in at least 14,477 valid petition signatures. Howard said the group turned in more than 18,000 signatures but her office will likely not have to verify any more. Such campaigns typically turn in an excess of signatures in case some are thrown out for being invalid. Elizabeth Wagoner, an attorney with the New Mexico Center for Law on Poverty, told NM Political Report that the signature confirmation is “definitely a success.”
“The next step is going to make sure the City Council and County Commission do the right thing,” Wagoner said.
Some key players in the Libertarian Party weighed in on why former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson has remained relatively low in recent election polls. In a recent MSNBC interview, Johnson pointed to polls that included Green Party nominee Jill Stein as one reason he hasn’t been able to break the much needed 15 percent to get into the general election presidential debates this fall alongside presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. Austin Petersen, who sought the Libertarian Party nomination but then backed Johnson, told NM Political Report that Johnson’s low numbers should be taken seriously, given there is less than five months until the general election. “It’s definitely time to worry because the national election is in November and that’s going to sneak up on us,” Petersen said. One of Johnson’s mistakes, Petersen said, was trying to appeal to Bernie Sanders’ supporters instead of Republicans who don’t agree with their party’s nominee.
Secretary of State Candidate Nora Espinoza recently appeared in two promotional videos for a group closely associated with the Church of Scientology that is critical of prescription drug companies. Months later, Espinoza received a large campaign contribution from a pharmaceutical company that clashed with the controversial religious group in the past. This February, the Church of Scientology released a video featuring Espinoza praising the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)—an organization founded by the Church of Scientology—for helping her pass legislation in 2015 prohibiting schools and school officials from coercing students into taking medication. In the video, Espinoza discussed how CCHR helped her pass HB 53, which Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law. “We drafted it, we worked together with it, to make sure that it was an excellent legislation,” Espinoza said.