Democrats are ahead in two of New Mexico’s most important races, according to an Albuquerque Journal poll. The poll’s results, released Sunday, showed 50 percent of likely voters would support Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and 43 percent for Republican Steve Pearce. The two are looking to replace Susana Martinez, a Republican who is term-limited and cannot run for a third consecutive term. Both Lujan Grisham and Pearce are U.S. representatives, leaving their positions for the statewide run. Pollster Brian Sanderoff told the Albuquerque Journal that Pearce needs more support in the Albuquerque metro area, which holds a large percentage of the state’s population, if he wants to close the gap.
Last weekend, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and his wife Julie pulled up to an Albuquerque trailhead and were greeted by a group of eager supporters with hiking poles and hydration packs at the ready. Almost immediately, Heinrich became an impromptu trail guide, educating his constituents on the different native plants along the trail and which animals use them as food sources. At least twice, unsuspecting hikers recognized the affable sportsman who has worked in Washington, D.C. since 2009. One family hiking towards the top of the trail passed the Heinrich entourage on its way back to the trail head. As the two groups converged, one woman looked at Heinrich and asked, “Is it really you?
Editor’s note: This week, NM Political Report will publish Q&As with candidates for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and governor about their policy platforms regarding a range of topics, including abortion, contraception, LGBTQ issues and domestic violence. For links to all of our stories, see here.
The following is from a Q&A with Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate. NMPR: If elected, how will your beliefs about the separation between government and religion guide your work in the U.S. Senate? Gary Johnson: Well, that they should be separate, period. They have to be, and that’s of course Constitutional.
The flood of U.S. Senate polls since Gary Johnson entered the race continued this week. Two new partisan polls show different visions of the U.S. Senate race, but both show the incumbent leading while the insurgent Libertarian candidate trails in third place. One newly-released poll by Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research for The Majority Institute, an organization that seeks to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate, showed Heinrich with the support of 48 percent of likely voters, compared to 33 percent for Republican Mick Rich and 17 percent for Johnson, a former governor. The poll was conducted in early August, before Johnson formally entered the race. Another poll released before Johnson formally entered the race showed the same order.
Republican U.S. Senate nominee Mick Rich is down one major campaign staffer since Tuesday. Rich’s former campaign manager Evan Machan confirmed with NM Political Report that he left the campaign to “pursue other opportunities.”
Nathan James, the campaign’s spokesman, said the campaign would go back to its original staffing structure. “We’re returning to the non-traditional campaign strategies and team that we used to win the Republican nomination,” James said. Rich ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Machan came from Ohio to join Rich’s campaign last December after previously working on the presidential campaigns for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2016 and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in 2012.
The race for New Mexico governor is tight, while the incumbent Democratic U.S. senator holds a sizeable lead over his two challengers, according to a new poll from Emerson College. The poll, conducted last week, via calls to landlines and online surveys and released Monday morning, shows Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham with a two point lead over Republican nominee Steve Pearce, 42 percent to 40 percent. The poll shows 18 percent of voters polled are still undecided. The poll is of registered voters. Both candidates are leaving their respective congressional seats to run for governor.
Prominent Democratic U.S. Senators are blasting out their support for Martin Heinrich after the entry of former Governor Gary Johnson shook up the U.S. Senate race. Johnson made his first public comments Thursday. On Friday, Elizabeth Warren,Kirsten Gillibrand and others tweeted support for incumbent Martin Heinrich—and criticisms of Johnson. Warren, a progressive Democrat from Massachusetts though to be considering a run for president in 2020, tweeted, “Gary Johnson – who’s supported abolishing the minimum wage, raising the Social Security retirement age, & gutting health care – jumped into the New Mexico Senate race against my friend Martin Heinrich.”
Johnson responded in a tweet that Warren was “pretty off-base on my positions.”
Gillibrand, another Senator who may run for president in 2020, wrote in a tweet thread that Heinrich “has been a champion in our fights for better health care, better education opportunities and better jobs. We can’t afford to lose his voice right now and let Gary Johnson take New Mexico backward at the expense of working families, so we need to rush Martin our support.”
Both included fundraising links for Heinrich’s campaign.
Gary Johnson is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. At least that seems to be the message from the former two-term Republican governor, two-time Libertarian presidential candidate and now Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate in New Mexico. “I am angry at the two-party system, I think we’ve all been hoodwinked to believe these are our only choices,” Johnson said at a press conference on Thursday. The press conference was the first time Johnson spoke publicly as a U.S. Senate candidate since the Libertarian Party of New Mexico nominated him earlier this month. The party filed paperwork to formally nominate Johnson earlier this week.
The Libertarian Party of New Mexico filed paperwork to name former governor Gary Johnson as its nominee for U.S. Senate. The Secretary of State updated the listing of candidates to include Johnson Tuesday morning after the party filed at 9:30 on Monday, the office said. He will face incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican contractor Mick Rich in the November general election. The Libertarian Party of New Mexico Central Committee voted Johnson as its candidate earlier this month after State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, the original nominee, withdrew from the race. For about a week after the nomination, while supporters anticipated a run, Johnson stayed silent on his plans.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party of New Mexico nominee for U.S. Senate, is still mum on whether he will run. But, that hasn’t stopped supporters and political adversaries from chiming in on his candidacy. Johnson has yet to even launch a campaign, but some of his supporters are calling for his possible Republican opponent, Mick Rich, to drop out of the race. Those supporters say internal polling suggests with Rich out of the picture, Johnson would win in a head-to-head race against U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich. Too much competition?