Female Politicians Gain Ground In New Mexico- Associated Press
The New Mexico state House of Representatives has inched within four seats of gender parity with a surge in victorious female Democrats in the midterm election.
House Speaker Brian Egolf said Wednesday that women will constitute a majority of Democrats in the House when the Legislature convenes in January. Overall, 31 women won election to the 70-seat chamber on Tuesday.
In other milestones, the governor's office will pass from one Latina governor to another with the election of Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham to the highest office in state government.
Stephanie Garcia Richard of Los Alamos will become the first woman to lead the State Land Office that oversees energy and mineral development on state trust land to fund public education.
Women won two open U.S. congressional seats.
Republican Herrell Not Conceding US House Race In New Mexico- Associated Press
Republican Yvette Herrell has not conceded in a U.S. House race in southern New Mexico despite unofficial results that showed Democrat Xochitl Torres Small winning the contest.
Herrell’s campaign senior adviser said in a statement late Wednesday that Herrell is waiting for all provisional ballots to be counted.
The Associated Press called the race for southern New Mexico's 2nd District for Torres Small after absentee ballots counted Wednesday put her over the top.
New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas says around 1,000 or so provisional ballots remained to be counted. However, Curtas says even if Herrell won all those votes it still wouldn't be enough for her to win the race or trigger an automatic recount.
Herrell's campaign has not said if it would request a recount.
Navajo Man Leading County Race In Utah After Ballot Fight- Associated Press
A Navajo man is winning a Utah county commission race where he fought to get on the ballot for the first general election after a judge ruled that local voting districts were illegally drawn along racial lines.
Votes counted as of Thursday show Democrat Willie Grayeyes is leading with 55 percent of the vote over Republican Kelly Laws.
A Grayeyes victory would make the San Juan County Commission majority-Navajo for the first time.
Grayeyes has said that he wants to help address disparities faced by Native Americans in the southeastern Utah county that overlaps with the Navajo Nation.
While county leaders acknowledge those issues, they say it's wrong to lay the blame on the county when tribal and federal governments also play a large role in Navajo Nation services.
New Mexico Announces 'Fresh Start' Tax Amnesty Program- Associated Press
New Mexico's tax agency is launching an amnesty program.
The state Taxation and Revenue Department's announcement Thursday says the program called "Fresh Start" allows qualified taxpayers until Dec. 31st to pay unreported or underreported taxes without penalty or interest.
The department says taxpayers would have to finalize enrollment by Dec. 31st and pay the liabilities within 180 days.
Democrat Torres Small Wins US House Seat In New Mexico- Associated Press
Democrat Xochitl Torres Small has won an open U.S. House seat representing southern New Mexico's 2nd District in a closely watched race, completing a statewide sweep for Democrats and giving the diverse southwestern state its first U.S. House three-member delegation made up of all people of color.
The 33-year-old water rights attorney defeated Republican state lawmaker Yvette Herrell for a seat that has been held by the GOP for years, after officials in Dona Ana County tallied up absentee ballots late Wednesday.
The seat was open because the incumbent Republican, Rep. Steve Pearce, ran for New Mexico governor, a race he lost.
The victory comes as Democrats captured control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Torres Small ran as a moderate Democrat who promised to help the district's lucrative oil and gas industry and push for immigration reform.
Native American Women's Election Wins Follow Years-Long Push - Associated Press
Two Native American women's historic congressional victories add them to a record number of women elected to the U.S. House, following an election cycle that also saw a significant boost in Native American female candidates at the state and local level.
The incoming Native American congresswomen Deb Haaland, of New Mexico, and Sharice Davids, of Kansas, are Democrats.
Haaland, a former New Mexico Democratic Party chairwoman, is a Laguna Pueblo member. She won her race in a New Mexico district that includes Albuquerque, and credited a vast political network she built after nearly 20 years of working on other candidates' campaign, and her own hard work.
Sharice Davids, who is Ho-Chunk, and attorney and a former White House Fellow, beat U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder to win her election for a district that includes suburbs of Kansas City.
Democrats Dominate New Mexico Midterm Election -Associated Press
Democrats ran roughshod over Republican candidates in New Mexico's midterms, taking control of the governor's office, sweeping major statewide races and ensuring Democratic control of the state's top courts.
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham won the governor's race in a landslide to succeed Republican Susana Martinez.
Democrats also won for attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer, auditor and land commissioner.
They ousted a GOP Supreme Court justice and four ap-PELL-ate court judges.
Former Senator Guides New Mexico Transition -Associated Press
Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman has been tapped by New Mexico's Democratic governor-elect to help recruit a Cabinet and guide her transition to the top office in state government.
Governor-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday announced the appointment of Bingaman and campaign staffer Dominic Gabello as leaders of her transition team.
Lujan Grisham said special attention is being paid to potential leaders of the Departments of Children, Youth and Families and Health and Human Services that oversee child wellbeing and administer Medicaid and food stamps programs.
Bingaman is a former state attorney general and five-term senator. On Jan. 1, Lujan Grisham will succeed termed-out Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
Nez Elected To Lead Navajo Nation, Warns Of Tough Times -Associated Press
Jonathan Nez has been elected president of the Navajo Nation and warned Wednesday of tough economic times ahead for the tribe with the anticipated closure of a power plant and the coal mine that supplies it.
Unofficial election results from Tuesday's election show Nez, the tribe's vice president, overwhelmingly beat former two-term President Joe Shirley Jr. The loss was the second in a row for Shirley.
Nez said he would start planning for his administration that will take office in January. He wants to restructure tribal government to avoid layoffs of tribal employees after the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta Mine close at the end of 2019.
Both are major employers on the huge reservation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, and officials have estimated that the tribal government could lose 30 percent of its revenue after they shutter.
Nez said he would work with tribal employees in his attempt to escape layoffs.
Las Cruces Diocese Releases Names Of Accused Priests- Associated Press
The Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces has released the names of 28 priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
The diocese announced Thursday it was handing over the names to the New Mexico attorney general's office two months after the department asked all Roman Catholic church officials for files.
Officials say the alleged abuse cases took place from the 1950s to 2000.
The New Mexico attorney general's office said in September it wanted Roman Catholic church officials around the state to allow it to review personnel records for any material that might be related to past or present allegations of sexual abuse.
Last year, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe published a list of 74 clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in New Mexico; that list was updated today and now includes 79 names.
Bryan Cranston Confirms 'Breaking Bad' Movie In Development- Associated Press
Bryan Cranston has confirmed that a "Breaking Bad" movie is in development, though he's not sure he's in it.
Following reports that "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan is prepping a two-hour movie connected to the AMC series, Cranston on Wednesday called into the sports talk radio show "The Dan Patrick Show" and confirmed the project is indeed in the works.
Cranston said he hasn't yet read the script and that his character, Walter White, may not even be in it. Cranston said he would "absolutely" return to the character if he was in it.
The two-hour spinoff is set to begin shooting in Albuquerque in mid-November under the code name "Greenbrier."
Gilligan's "Breaking Bad" prequel series "Better Call Saul" last month concluded its fourth season.
School Board Considers Disclosure Question For Applicants - Santa Fe New Mexican, Associated Press
Santa Fe Public Schools officials are considering a policy that would ask applicants of vacant board seats if there are any incidents in their past that would cause the district embarrassment.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the district board approved the first reading Tuesday after board vice president Maureen Cashmon introduced the resolution that would give officials the right to ask the question.
The measure comes after officials learned that board member Rudy Garcia has an arrest record that he did not disclose when he applied for the seat.
Garcia had pleaded guilty years ago to DWI charges and served 16 days in jail.
Garcia and board member Lorraine Price voted against the measure, arguing that many people have episodes in their past that do not necessarily disqualify them.