Torres Small Wins District 2 House Seat, Democrats Dominate New Mexico Election

Nov 7, 2018

Democrats Dominate New Mexico Midterm Election – Associated Press

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham seized the New Mexico governor's office away from Republican control as Democratic candidates swept a long list of statewide races.

Sentiments against President Donald Trump were running high across much of the state as Lujan Grisham defeated GOP Congressman Steve Pearce by a wide margin in Tuesday's election.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich will serve a second term after winning a three-way race. Democrat Debra Haaland will fill Lujan Grisham's congressional seat.

Democrats won re-election as attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer. Democratic state lawmaker Stephanie Garcia Richard will become the state's first female land commissioner.

The election positions Democrats to overhaul public education standards and funding, and the state's approach to hot-button issues including climate change.

Nez Elected To Lead Navajo Nation, Warns Of Tough Times - By Felicia Fonseca, Associated Press

Jonathan Nez has been elected president of the Navajo Nation and is warning of tough times ahead for the tribe on the largest Native American reservation in the U.S.

Unofficial election results for the reservation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah show Nez overwhelmingly beat former two-term President Joe Shirley Jr.

Nez is vice president of the tribe and said Wednesday he would start planning his administration.

Among the plans are restructuring the tribal government to try to avoid layoffs after a coal-fired power plant and a mine that supplies it close at the end of 2019. Both are on the reservation.

Election results will be finalized next week.

Ballot shortages were reported at some polling stations but Shirley wasn't contesting the outcome of the race.

Democrat Torres Small Wins US House SeatAssociated 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.

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.

It was open because the incumbent Republican, Rep. Steve Pearce, ran for New Mexico governor, a race he lost.

Torres Small ran as a moderate Democrat who promised to help the district's lucrative oil and gas industry and push for immigration reform.

The 54-year-old Herrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation and would have been one of the first Native American women elected to the House. She ran as a staunch backer of President Donald Trump and his support for a border wall.

Two Key New Mexico Counties Still Counting VotesAssociated Press

Two key New Mexico counties are still counting ballots in a closely watched U.S. House race in southern New Mexico.

New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said Wednesday that Doña Ana County still needs to count around 4,000 absentee ballots and submit 4,000 other votes.

In addition, Curtas says Cibola County officials also are "rerunning" ballots on slow machines.

Republican Yvette Herrell and Democrat Xochitl Torres Small remain locked in a tight race for U.S. House seat in southern New Mexico that is still too close to call.

It remains unclear when those outstanding ballots will be reported.

Cibola County Clerk Michelle Dominguez and Doña Ana County Chief Deputy Clerk Lindsey Bachman did not immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press.

Key New Mexico County Stops Vote Count – Associated Press

The New Mexico Secretary of State's Office announced that a key southern county stopped counting ballots last night and will reconvene this morning.

Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said early Wednesday that around 4,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted in Dona Ana County. He says the county clerk will reconvene the absentee precinct board later Wednesday to complete the count.

The move comes as Republican Yvette Herrell and Democrat Xochitl Torres Small remain locked in a closely watched race for U.S. House seat in southern New Mexico. The region also has a number of undecided state House races.

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, New Mexico, in mid-November under the code name "Greenbrier."

Gilligan's "Breaking Bad" prequel series "Better Call Saul" last month concluded its fourth season.


Democrat Lujan Grisham Wins Governor's Race – Associated Press

Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham has won election as governor of New Mexico to succeed a two-term Republican amid simmering conflicts over struggling public schools and high poverty rates.

The reins of state government will pass from one Latina to another as termed-out Gov. Susana Martinez leaves office.

Lujan Grisham has been a leading critic in Congress of President Donald Trump's policies on immigration.

The 59-year-old former state health secretary defeated Republican Rep. Steve Pearce in a campaign focused on expanding preschool education, lowering crime rates and reducing poverty.

Lujan Grisham is embracing new investment in solar and wind energy and has pledged to comply with a court order to help poor and minority students.

Democrat Debra Haaland Wins US House Race – Associated Press

Democrat Debra Haaland has defeated Republican Janice E. Arnold-Jones in a New Mexico U.S. House race, earning a groundbreaking congressional victory as a Native American woman and keeping an open seat under Democratic control.

Libertarian Lloyd J. Princeton also was seeking to represent the district that includes Albuquerque, New Mexico's largest city. The seat was open because incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham opted to run for New Mexico governor.

Haaland is an enrolled Laguna Pueblo member. She was one of a few Native American women seeking to become the first elected to Congress on Tuesday.

Republican Yvette Herrell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, is in a hotly contested race for another open U.S. House seat in New Mexico. And Democrat Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, won a U.S. House seat in Kansas.

New Mexico Re-Elects Democratic US Sen. Heinrich – Associated Press

Democratic U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich has been re-elected in a three-way race against a Republican political newcomer and a Libertarian former governor.

The 47-year-old engineer and former Congressman won a second term, finishing ahead of construction contractor Mick Rich and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Heinrich's victory further solidifies Democratic control over the state's Senate delegation.

Heinrich cast himself as a vigorous adversary of President Donald Trump's policies in the Senate, and campaigned on promises to defend federal health care and retirement programs.

Heinrich recently became an advocate for decriminalizing marijuana, co-opting one of Johnson's signature Libertarian issues against government interference. He derided Johnson's proposals to slash federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and the military.

Rich ran on his reputation as a businessman while embracing Trump and voicing anti-abortion sentiments.

Toulouse Oliver Re-Elected As Secretary Of State – Associated Press

Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver has won re-election as New Mexico's secretary of state.

Toulouse Oliver finished ahead of Republican Gavin Clarkson and Libertarian Ginger Grider to win a second term as the state's top election official.

Toulouse Oliver was first elected secretary of state during a special election in November 2016 to finish the remainder of the term vacated by Republican Dianna Duran. She announced her bid for re-election in 2017, saying she wanted to continue implementing reforms of the state's campaign finance rules as well as increasing voter education in rural and Native American communities.

Toulouse Oliver made waves earlier this year when she tried to include the option of straight-party voting on this year's ballots. The New Mexico Supreme Court ended up blocking the move, but she vowed to continue looking for ways to increase voter registration and turnout.

Democrat Balderas Re-Elected Attorney General – Associated Press

Democrat Hector Balderas has been re-elected to a second term as New Mexico's top prosecutor in a three-way race against a Republican immigration attorney and an Albuquerque land and water rights attorney.

Balderas finished ahead of Michael Hendricks and A. Blair Dunn, who is known for representing ranchers and other rural New Mexicans.

Balderas, 45, maintained a clear fundraising lead over his opponents throughout the race. He's a former state lawmaker, former state auditor and a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Balderas was first elected attorney general in 2014 after serving two terms as state auditor. In his first term, his office prosecuted high-profile cases against state politicians, including former Secretary of State Dianna Duran, a Republican, and former Democratic state Sen. Phil Griego.

Voters Elect Garcia Richard To Land Office – Associated Press

Democratic state lawmaker Stephanie Garcia Richard has been elected as New Mexico's next state land commissioner, making her the first woman to hold the office in the state's history.

Garcia Richard finished ahead of Republican Patrick Lyons and Libertarian Michael Lucero to fill the open seat. Current Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn did not seek re-election, setting up the three-way contest.

Garcia Richard is three-term state lawmaker from the Los Alamos area. She's the chair of the House Education Committee and works as an administrator with the Pojoaque Valley School District.

Some have criticized her for a lack of experience when it comes to land issues. She argues that her knowledge about the classroom would provide an important perspective for the State Land Office because its top priority is raising money for education.

New Mexico Voters Approve Streamlining Courts – Associated Press

New Mexico voters have approved a constitutional amendment that seeks to bring the state court system one step closer toward streamlining the appeals process for some low-level cases.

The measure also had the support of members of the state judiciary.

While it seeks to change an obscure segment of state law, supporters say it could result in notable savings in both cost and time for busy courthouses, like those in Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque.

The amendment proposes allowing lawmakers to begin reviewing the appeals court process for cases that originate in probate and magistrate courts, as well as the Metropolitan Court in Bernalillo County.

After hearings, debate and analysis, lawmakers could then vote to decide whether the requests for the lower-level cases to be overturned or retried should be allowed to proceed directly to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Voters Back New Mexico Ethics Commission – Associated Press

New Mexico voters have approved a constitutional amendment that clears the way for the creation of an independent ethics commission.

The proposal was on the ballot this year after many years of debate in the Legislature over establishing such a panel to address complaints involving elected officials, public employees and others.

The state has had a string of public corruption scandals going back more than a decade, with two state treasurers, two state senators, a secretary of state and a deputy insurance superintendent going to prison on criminal charges.

Most recently, a former state taxation and revenue secretary is facing felony charges of embezzlement and using a position in government for personal gain.

The number of states with ethics commissions has steadily increased in recent years, leaving New Mexico as one of six without one, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.