Lujan Grisham To Face Pearce In November, Governor Says Red Tape Slows Oil And Gas Projects

Jun 6, 2018

Lujan Grisham To Face Pearce In November Race For GovernorBy Morgan Lee, Associated Press

New Mexico Democrats chose three-term U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham as their nominee for governor Tuesday in hopes of reclaiming the state's top office after two terms of Republican control.

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce ran unopposed for the Republican nod and moved on to November's general election. Lujan Grisham could become the nation's second elected Latina governor if she succeeds GOP Gov. Susana Martinez, who cannot run for a consecutive third term.

Democrats in the nation's most Hispanic state accounted for about two-thirds of Election Day balloting as voters decided competitive primary races for two wide-open congressional seats and several statewide offices.

Lujan Grisham campaigned on making a clean break with the state's Republican administration to dramatically expand early childhood education, boost public and private investment in renewable energy, and make it easier for immigrants in the country illegally and others to obtain state driving credentials.

Her victory against two primary opponents set up a showdown between an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump on immigration issues and a member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus in Congress who campaigned for Trump in 2016.

In the lieutenant governor race, Democrats nominated state Sen. Howie Morales. Pearce's Republican running mate is former law enforcement officer Michelle Garcia Holmes.

Gunshot Victim Found Dead In Vehicle In Albuquerque’s North Valley- Albuquerque Journal

APD is investigating the circumstances surrounding a male gunshot victim found dead in a car at a park in Albuquerque’s north valley Wednesday morning.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, Officer Simon Drobik said an individual driving by a park located between two Albuquerque Public Schools, Griegos Elementary and Valley High School spotted a suspicious looking BMW.  The person called the police and when they arrived, the body was discovered inside the car.

The man has not been identified and it was unclear how long he had been in the vehicle.

APD detectives are waiting on a search warrant for the car and do not have any suspects yet.

New Mexico Governor: Red Tape Slows Oil And Gas Projects-Associated Press

Revenue from oil and gas development is critical for funding education and other public services in New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez said Wednesday, and urged Congress to address issues with bureaucratic red tape.

The two-term Republican governor testified Wednesday before a House subcommittee that's considering legislation to streamline the permitting process.

Martinez and a handful of other western governors have asked for changes that would address a backlog in the approval of permits as the oil and gas industry rebounds, netting more revenues and royalties for state governments.

In New Mexico, the average time it takes federal land managers to approve a drilling permit application is 250 days, Martinez said. That can amount to a potential loss of $2 million a day for the state, she said.

Two of the bills are sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, who is running against Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham in the gubernatorial race to replace Martinez when her term expires at the end of the year.

Primary Upends New Mexico Political Landscape- Associated Press

Primary elections have upended the political landscape in New Mexico by setting up general-election showdowns between women in two open congressional seats and casting aside a Statehouse Democrat who is embroiled in sexual harassment accusations brought by a female lobbyist.

Victorious Democratic primary candidates appealed for unity within party ranks and respect for the decisions of voters at a celebratory breakfast Wednesday in Albuquerque.

Democratic voters nominated Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham to face Republican Congressman Steve Pearce for the governor's seat in November. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez cannot seek a consecutive third term.

Former state Democratic Party chairwoman Debra Haaland was nominated for the Albuquerque-area U.S. House seat, seeking to become the first Native American woman in Congress. State Rep. Carl Trujillo denied sexual harassment allegations and still lost.

Lincoln National Forest To Remain Open To Public- Associated Press

Lincoln National Forest officials say they considered closing the forest in southeastern New Mexico to the public but that rain Sunday and the occurrence of relatively few fires contributed to their decision to keep it open.

However, the forest's announcement Wednesday said fire restrictions remain in effect and encouraged visitors to be diligent about fire safety.

The Santa Fe National Forest in northern New Mexico was closed to the public Friday because of extreme wildfire conditions.

Lincoln officials said their consideration of restrictions and possibly closing the forest to the public included checking indicators such as fire activity, precipitation and fuel moisture content for live and dead vegetation.

New Mexico Races Could Help Decide Party Control Of US House - By Russell Contreras, Associated Press

New Mexico voters have selected nominees in two key congressional races that could help determine which party controls the U.S. House and make history in November's general election.

Former state Democratic Party leader Debra Haaland on Tuesday won the nomination for the House district encompassing Albuquerque as she tries to become the first Native American congresswoman.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, a woman will represent the most Hispanic congressional district in the most Hispanic state in the nation for the first time.

President Donald Trump was expected to be an issue in the competitive race between Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell and Democratic attorney Xochitl Torres Small in the southern New Mexico district in November.

Both seats are open because Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce are running for governor.

Incumbent State Lawmakers DefeatedAssociated Press

Two incumbent New Mexico lawmakers have lost primary bids to Democratic challengers, including a Santa Fe-area representative who fought accusations of sexual harassment.

Democratic voters on Tuesday nominated Andrea Romero of Santa Fe to replace Rep. Carl Trujillo in a race with no Republican challenger. Trujillo denies a former lobbyist's harassment allegations, which a panel of four lawmakers and an outside attorney are investigating.

Democrats also voted out Rep. Debbie Rodella of Espanola, who has served in the Legislature since 1993. They nominated retired education foundation director Susan Herrera of Embudo in a district with no Republican contenders.

Democrats are defending a 38-32 majority in the state House of Representatives.

Garcia Richard Wins In Land Commissioner Primary RaceAssociated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard won the Democratic nomination for New Mexico public land commissioner. She would be the first woman in the state to hold the job if she beats Republican Patrick Lyons of Cuervo in the general election.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports she narrowly defeated Garrett VeneKlasen, who leads the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.

She had the endorsement of former Land Commissioner Ray Powell and pitched herself as carrying on his legacy. Garcia Richard ran for the state House of Representatives in 2019 and lost, but won in 2012 and was re-elected.

The land commissioner oversees millions of acres in the state leased for oil and gas production, which generates millions of dollars for the state budget that is mostly designated for support of public education.

Colón Wins Democratic Nomination For AuditorAssociated Press

Albuquerque attorney Brian Colón has won the Democratic nomination in the race for New Mexico state auditor.

He will face off against the sole Republican challenger, State Auditor Wayne Johnson, in the November general election.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Johnson to the position after Democrat Tim Keller stepped down and took over as Albuquerque mayor.

Colón is a former state Democratic Party chairman who now lives in Albuquerque. He grew up in Las Cruces and started his career there. In 2010, he ran to be the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor.

Colón said during the campaign that the most important role of the auditor is to fight waste, fraud and abuse. He called for promoting a fraud hotline that would allow residents to report suspicious activity.

Howie Morales Wins Lieutenant Governor RaceAssociated Press

State Sen. Howie Morales has won the Democratic nomination for New Mexico lieutenant governor.

He beat out two other experienced politicians to win Tuesday's primary. He raised more campaign cash than his rivals.

During the campaign, Morales of Silver City stressed his background as a former teacher and said his experience would help the next administration oversee public schools and embark on education reforms.

Morales ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.

The sole Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Michelle Garcia Holmes, is a former law enforcement officer. She'll be paired with Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce.

Firefighters Clear Containment Lines Around New Mexico FireAssociated Press

Firefighters anticipating a return to dangerous weather conditions are clearing containment lines around a northern New Mexico wildfire that has burned 36,800 acres of forest and threatened two rural communities.

The fire is now 30 percent contained according to Inciweb. Cimarron residents were allowed Monday to return home but smaller Ute Park on the other side of the fire remains evacuated.

A storm Sunday slowed the fire's growth but the fire's incident management team says fire activity is expected to increase this week due to a high pressure system building from the south.

Crews have containment lines around 25 percent of the fire's perimeter. Nearly 600 firefighters and other personnel are assigned to the fire.

The fire started Thursday, burning 14 outbuildings on the Philmont Scout Ranch. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Relatives Of 1 Victim Accused Of Burglarizing Homicide SceneAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Authorities say the father and brother of one of three people killed at a northern New Mexico home last week have been arrested for allegedly burglarizing the crime scene.

New Mexico State Police say 70-year-old Robert Martinez of Dixon and 29-year-old Ezekiel Martinez of Santa Fe are accused of burglary, larceny and tampering with evidence.

The Albuquerque Journal reports police say the two apparently weren't involved in the May 30 murders in a home near Dixon. Two other men are facing charges.

The three shooting victims have been identified as 36-year-old Abraham Martinez of Dixon, 42-year-old April Browne of Taos and 27-year-old Kierin Guillemin of Vadito.

Authorities have arrested two suspects — 34-year-old John Powell of Taos and 33-year-old Roger Gage of Arroyo Hondo. State Police say they recovered video of the killings from a security system inside the house.