GOP still favored in CD2, but a rating shifts towards Dems

New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District isn’t the safe territory it used to be for Republicans, according to election handicappers. Most experts have put the Republican stronghold in the “Likely Republican” category. This is both because of the national environment—there are many more competitive Republican seats compared to Democratic seats—and the fact that the incumbent is not running for reelection. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is instead running for governor. The Cook Political Report offers the most aggressive prediction.

After report on Russia ties, Heinrich says Senators should call Manafort in to testify

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says a former Donald Trump campaign chairman should testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee after reports of the former campaign official’s ties to Russia. Heinrich, a member of the committee, said that Paul Manafort must testify “and give the American people the answers they deserve.”

Heinrich cited an Associated Press report that Manafort “secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics.”

Manafort worked for Oleg Deripaska, who is a close ally of Putin, for a reported $10 million a year contract. Heinrich said the work described by the AP was similar to recent Russian hacking actions during the elections in the United States. “I am alarmed by reports that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort created and then sold the Russians what appears to be a game plan to undermine democracy and further the interests of the Russian government – including inside the United States,” Heinrich said. “His reported recommendation to use political campaign tactics, establish front groups, and manipulate the press are strikingly similar to the actual tactics we know the Russians employed to undermine our presidential election.”

The Trump administration has attempted to downplay Manafort’s role, with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying Manafort’s role in the campaign was “for a very limited amount of time.”

As CNN reported, Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist for the summer of 2016 before the role went to Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon and political strategist Kellyanne Conway.

Both state parties say their nominee won the debate

The first presidential debate of the general election is over after more than an hour and a half of sometimes heated back-and-forths between the two candidates. The debate featured Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump facing off as polls show an extremely close race. In New Mexico, not surprisingly, both state parties said that their nominee was the winner of the debate, in press releases that came just minutes apart. Democratic Party of New Mexico chairwoman Deb Haaland said that Clinton “focused on the issues, gave substantive answers and reiterated that we’re stronger together.”

“In stark contrast, Donald Trump was unprepared, didn’t give any specifics, and once again showed that he doesn’t have the temperament to lead our country,” she continued. “This debate made the choice very clear, and I feel more confident than ever that New Mexicans will vote for Hillary Clinton this November.

Police officer calls out racism in Santa Fe

A black police officer in Santa Fe called the state capital city “one of the most racist places I’ve ever been.”

Anwar Sanders spoke to the Albuquerque Journal for an article published this Sunday and made the remarks. “People are just so racist,” Sanders said. “It’s like almost sickening. Just because you’re gay-friendly doesn’t mean you’re black-friendly.”

“This is probably one of the most racist places I’ve ever been,” he said. Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales responded to the Albuquerque Journal article on Facebook.

Martinez wants ‘very clear plan’ before state accepts Syria refugees

Gov. Susana Martinez isn’t on board with accepting refugees fleeing the unrest in Syria at this time. A spokesman for the governor said, “The Governor strongly opposes the Obama Administration’s plan to accept more Syrian refugees until there is a very clear plan in place to properly vet and place the refugees, and the voices of governors and the public can be heard.” Lt. Gov. John Sanchez agreed on Facebook on Monday night. “I strongly oppose the President’s proposal to allow the unchecked flow of Syrian refugees into the United States,” Sanchez wrote. “The potential security threat that this represents must be reconsidered in light of the need to keep U.S. citizens as safe as possible.”

CNN talks to suspected cop killer, hijacker living in Cuba

With a thawing of U.S.-Cuba relations, more attention is being paid to a man who hasn’t lived in the United States for more than four decades. That is Charlie Hill, a man who is wanted for the killing of a state police officer and the hijacking of a plane that was flown to Cuba. Hill and two others were granted asylum by the Cuban government. Of the three, Hill is the only remaining survivor. Hill and two others were part of a black separatist group called the Republic of New Afrika that sought to break off a portion of the United States as its own country.