New progressive group pushes in legislative races

A new progressive group is stepping into two legislative races in districts with large Native American populations. The Working Families Party announced support for two incumbents: Representative Wonda Johnson and Senator Benny Shendo. Both Democrats are facing a challenge in Tuesday’s primary against more conservative opponents. The organization is airing radio ads supporting the candidates. Former State Rep. Stephanie Maez told NM Political Report the Working Families Party chose to support Johnson and Shendo because of their past support for “progressive policy positions.”

She also said that the organization would add more endorsements for the general election.

Sandra Jeff quietly amends reports, $27K in debt disappears

While former state Rep. Sandra Jeff avoided ballot disqualification after a recent scuffle with the Secretary of State, several questions remain about possible discrepancies in previous campaign reports. The biggest question is the sudden disappearance of more than $27,000 in debt from her failed 2014 campaign for reelection to the state House of Representatives. In July 2014, Jeff reported a loan contribution of $26,720.82 from Gallagher & Kennedy, a law firm with offices in Santa Fe and Phoenix. A note next to the contribution reads, “Campaign Debt for legal fees incurred.”

Jeff continued to report this debt, plus an extra $1,200 that she loaned to herself, for the next six campaign reporting periods, marking a period of nearly two years. But on March 15 of this year, Jeff amended seven old campaign reports from the 2014 election cycle.

Jeff pays fine, will be on primary ballot

Former state Rep. Sandra Jeff will make it on the ballot for state Senate this upcoming primary election in June after all. Jeff came to an agreement with the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday—nearly three weeks after that office disqualified her from the ballot for not paying a fine for filing a late campaign finance report from an earlier campaign. Jeff, a Democrat, is challenging Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo, for the party nomination this year. Her attorney Zach Cook told NM Political Report that she agreed to pay “a nominal amount” of roughly $100 to the Secretary of State’s Office to get on the ballot. Part of the deal involves Jeff not having to concede that the fine was legitimate.

Jeff wants back on primary ballot

A former state Representative is challenging her disqualification from the ballot for a state Senate primary. Sandra Jeff will move forward with her attempt to challenge Sen. Benny Shendo of Jemez Pueblo in the Democratic primary for Senate District 22. Jeff is a former state representative who lost her position after failing to make the primary ballot for reelection to her state House seat in 2014. Two weeks ago, Jeff told NM Political Report she wasn’t sure if she wanted to challenge the disqualification. Jeff said she would consider running for Navajo Nation President or challenging U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan in the Democratic primary.

Sandra Jeff disqualified from the ballot

The Secretary of State disqualified former State Rep. Sandra Jeff from the ballot for the Democratic primary in Senate District 22. A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office confirmed via email Wednesday afternoon that Jeff was disqualified from the ballot “due to noncompliance with the Campaign Reporting Act.”

Amy Bailey, the general counsel of the department, later added more information. “I need to review the file for specifics, but the noncompliance is associated with reports which were due in past filing periods and the fines associated with those past issues,” Bailey said in an email. Jeff said in a phone interview on Wednesday that she was aware and was deciding whether or not to contest the disqualification. She described herself as undecided on whether or not to continue her run for State Senate.

Filing Day: Old faces, open seats and uncontested races

Filing day took place for candidates for many positions throughout the state—but the main focus is on state representatives and state senators. Two contested primaries with former legislators trying to return to the Roundhouse will likely receive a big amount of attention in the next two months. Related Story: Who’s running for House, Senate seats? Former State Rep. Sandra Jeff of Shiprock is back running for office, this time in the state Senate. Jeff will be taking on incumbent Benny Shendo of Jemez Pueblo in the Democratic primary  Senate District 22.

She’s back! Sandra Jeff to challenge Shendo in primary

Former State Rep. Sandra Jeff is back for another run at the state legislature. This time, she is setting her sights on a Senate seat. She is running in the Democratic primary against Sen. Benny Shendo in Senate District 22. Jeff told NM Political Report that she felt “very confident” after she finished the filing process on Tuesday afternoon. She said Shendo has a bad habit of not returning to his district and talking with his constituents.

Working together to strike a balance for Greater Chaco | by Sen. Benny Shendo & Rep. Georgene Louis

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]STATE SEN. BENNY SHENDO represents New Mexico Senate District 22 and STATE REP. GEORGENE LOUIS represents New Mexico House District 26, both are Democrats.[/box]

Working together is tough, and learning to trust one another when facing big decisions can be even tougher. This is especially true when government agencies are trying to balance oil and gas development with the needs of communities, industry, and other stakeholders. Just because issues don’t have easy solutions, doesn’t mean we should shy away from finding common ground. This is especially true if we want to preserve the amazing beauty of our western landscapes and protect the health of our communities living with nearby oil and gas development. No other place embodies this conflict more than the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwest New Mexico.

Severance tax fund solvency bill clears Senate committee

A bill designed to address the solvency of the Severance Tax Permanent Fund passed the Senate Indian and Cultural Affairs Committee with no recommendation on Monday on a 4-2 vote. The legislation passed despite opposition from groups representing Native American tribes, which argued that the cuts to payments from the fund to the tribes would have an adverse effect. Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, sponsored the legislation and said that without action that there was a good chance that the permanent fund would go bankrupt. He cited a Monte Carlo simulation that said the fund has an 84 percent change of going bankrupt in decades if there are no changes made. “Without this fund, we would be talking about cutting $100 million from our general fund budget this year instead of spending $83 million,” Harper said, of the importance of the fund.