Note: Every year, we count down the top ten stories of the year, as voted on by NM Political Report staffers. See our entire countdown of 2022 top stories, to date, here
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, marking a significant shift in decades of judicial decision-making as well as creating what many called a public health emergency. The court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned nearly 50 years of precedent. The court said in its 6-3 opinion that it thought the decision should go back to the states to decide. The outcome of the decision has led to 44 states to ban or restrict abortion care in 2022, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights organization.
Amid much fanfare, President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law at the White House on Tuesday. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill last week by 258 to 169. The bill passed the U.S. Senate the week prior by 61 to 36 votes. The bill repeals the 1995 Defense of Marriage Act, which stated that marriage is solely between a man and a woman and denied federal benefits to same sex couples. Related: Respect for Marriage Act passes Congress: What it means for New Mexicans
The new law protects same-sex and interracial marriages by recognizing those marriages federally.
The U.S. House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that protects same sex and interracial marriage, on Thursday. The bill previously passed the U.S. Senate. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it. He has expressed his support, saying “love is love,” in a previous statement. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support, with 61 to 36 votes last week when 12 Republicans joined Democrats in voting for its passage.
Five days ahead of Election Day, President Joe Biden visited Albuquerque in a stump stop for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s re-election. The visit came during the New Mexico Democratic Party rally at the Ted M. Gallegos Community Center in Albuquerque and amid an extremely close race against Republican nominee Mark Ronchetti. “I tell you what, that governor, she’s something else, isn’t she?” Biden said, referring to Lujan Grisham who spoke before him at the rally. “She’s the real deal.”
Lujan Grisham entered the stage to cheers of “MLG! MLG!” by the crowd of about 300 people at the venue.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti on a social media account this week. “(Ronchetti) will be tough & smart on Crime, the Border and everything else!” the post stated.
“Mark is supported by people from all walks of life and all different viewpoints – including Democratic sheriffs, former Libertarian presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and now former President Trump,” Ronchetti campaign spokesman Ryan Sabel said.
The statement included some statements about New Mexico during Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s term as governor. “With crime at record levels and just 1 in 5 students learning at grade level, it’s not hard to see that, as governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham has made things worse and New Mexico needs to go in a different – and better – direction,” Sabel said. Lujan Grisham reacted to the Trump endorsement with a statement of her own. “Donald Trump’s endorsement of Mark Ronchetti emphasizes the clear choice in this race: I will keep delivering on the issues that matter to New Mexico families, while Mark Ronchetti would bring Donald Trump’s extreme national Republican policies to New Mexico,” the incumbent said.
U.S. House of Representatives Melanie Stansbury, a Democrat who represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, held a rally with Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, from Massachusetts on Thursday. The rally, which took place at an office building on the east side of Albuquerque, was part of an effort to whip up voter support in New Mexico.
It was the second visit to Albuquerque by a high profile Democrat this week. On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris held a talk about reproductive rights with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another Democrat who is up for reelection in November. Stansbury made connections between being what she called a “pro-choice” candidate with also believing in science and democracy. Stansbury did not refer to her Republican opponent by name, but she is facing a challenge from Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes.
New Mexico voters indicated that they support abortion rights, including New Mexico’s repeal of an antiquated abortion law. In a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report, 55 percent of likely voters said they supported the repeal of the law that allowed abortion to remain legal in New Mexico despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision this summer that overturned Roe v. Wade. Another 33 percent said they opposed it and 11 percent said that they were not sure. This is similar to the results in June, before the Supreme Court decided Dobbs. In that poll, 53 percent said they would support such a repeal and 36 percent said they would oppose it.
New Mexico likely voters are evenly split on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, while voters are virtually split on the same question about President Joe Biden. A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report found that 48 percent of voters approved and an equal number disapproved of what Lujan Grisham did during the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining 4 percent were not sure. For Biden 46 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved, while 7 percent were not sure. There have been virtually no restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID for months.
Slightly more likely voters disapprove of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s job performance than approve, according to a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report. The poll found that 46 percent of voters approved of her job performance and 49 percent disapproved. Another 6 percent said they were not sure. This is a drop from a NM Political Report poll in June, which found 48 percent approved and an equal percentage disapproved of her job performance.
Related: Lujan Grisham leads governor’s race by 8 points
Lujan Grisham is in the midst of a reelection campaign against former meteorologist and former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti. The poll found that 39 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Ronchetti, while 46 percent have an unfavorable opinion and 15 percent said they were not sure.
Democratic U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra listened to youth behavioral health professionals at a roundtable discussion held on Wednesday at Arrowhead Early College High School in Las Cruces. Luján and Becerra both made general remarks but mostly listened to the local professionals talk about challenges they see facing youth in New Mexico. Dan Green, the state survey epidemiologist supervisor, said that according to 2019 data, 40.4 percent of New Mexico children experience persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness. He said that is higher than national trends. According to the 2019 data, 50.7 percent of girls in New Mexico were likely to experience sadness or hopelessness compared to 30.3 percent of New Mexico boys.