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See how Domenici’s fundraising haul stacks up against Heinrich’s

The fundraising race is heating up in New Mexico as incumbent Sen. Martin Heinrich and Republican challenger Nella Domenici gear up for the upcoming election. 

Domenici’s campaign has hit the ground running, raising over $1.25 million in the first quarter of the year. The campaign reported contributions from more than 1,100 supporters.

On the other side, Heinrich’s campaign has not fallen behind, bringing in over $1.5 million during the same timeframe. With $3.5 million in cash reserves at the end of 2023, Heinrich’s financial position appears strong, though the full details are yet to be disclosed in the Federal Election Commission filings.

Launching her campaign earlier this year, Domenici, the daughter of the revered late Sen. Pete V. Domenici, has positioned herself as a proponent of innovative solutions in border security, natural resource utilization, and education reform.

The Republican Party sees Domenici’s candidacy as a key opportunity to reclaim a stronghold in New Mexico, a state currently dominated by Democrats at both the congressional and statewide levels. 

Despite Joe Biden securing the state in the last presidential election, Republicans are hopeful to flip the seat being held by the far-left Democrat who is out-of-touch with the voters.

Heinrich, who secured his position in a three-way race in 2018 with 54% of the vote, faces a re-election battle in a Senate where Democrats have a razor-thin majority. 

With the November elections approaching, both campaigns are ramping up their efforts to win over New Mexico voters. Domenici recently met with victims of the Hermit’s Peak Calf Canyon fire on the disaster’s two-year anniversary, where those affected continue to wait for relief. 

“It’s a disappointment of the federal government, the New Mexico state government, and I’m hugely disappointed in our state leaders,” Domenici told KOAT 7. “No one should be treated this way it doesn’t have to take this long.”

Heinrich moved his family to Silver Spring, Maryland, over a decade ago after running a campaign for U.S. Senate, claiming he hadn’t “gone Washington,” as reported by the Albuquerque Journal. The Journal’s article on Heinrich’s exodus from New Mexico for Mayland has mysteriously disappeared from the publication’s website. However, it is archived at this link forever.

‘It’s theirs now’: Border agents concede N.M. mountain to Cartel control

A video posted by reliable Fox News reporter Matt Finn shows illegal immigrants ravaging a mountain in Sunland Park, New Mexico, while Border Patrol agents apparently won’t defend it, calling the mountain the Cartel’s.

Finn wrote in the video post, “Unbelievable. A Border Patrol agent in Sunland Park, NM just told us a mountain in the United States is ‘not ours’ anymore. ‘It’s theirs.’ Referring to Cartels.  We literally spent five minutes on Mt. Cristo Rey and a group of illegals breezed by.”

Mt. Cristo Rey is adorned by a 29-foot-tall statue of Jesus, which was erected in 1940 after the vision of Fr. Lourdes Costa “ who in 1933 after looking out the back window of his residence in the community of Smeltertown, envisioned erecting a monument at the summit of this glorious mountain.” 

Since the purchase of the mountain and the building of the Jesus statue, Mt. Cristo Rey has become a holy place for Catholics for generations.

But the criminal illegal immigration seeping across the border by way of the mountain has led to vandalism and desecration. Vandalism and gang-related graffiti have scourged the holy place.

Ruben Escandon Jr., vice president and spokesman for the Mount Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, told KFOX 14, “I continuously question why they were not going to put up a fence on the Southside directly behind the monument and their answer was the terrain was too treacherous.”

“The price tag to fix damages and restore Mt. Cristo Rey is between $15,000 to $20,000, according to Escandon. The restoration committee depends heavily on donations, which are often collected during the annual pilgrimages done in October,” the outlet reported.

The illegal immigration scourge, which amped up again after Joe Biden was inaugurated in 2021, has gotten to its worst peak in the history of the country. States like Texas have done their part to stem the flow into their state, but with the robust actions in Texas, illegal immigrants are now flowing through New Mexico, with Border Patrol apparently not able to stem the illegal flow on Mt. Cristo Rey.

NM House Republicans elect new leader, whip

On Friday, the New Mexico House of Representatives Republicans met to elect a new minority leader and minority whip.

The vacancies in the leadership positions were not unexpected. Former Rep. Ryan Lane (R-Aztec) made a voluntary decision to resign his leadership position and his seat, paving the way for new leadership. Lane’s House seat was filled by former FBI agent Bill Hall, also of Aztec.

Rep. Jim Townsend (R-Artesia), who previously served as whip, also stepped down from the leadership role as he is running for the New Mexico Senate. This smooth leadership transition demonstrates the party’s commitment to maintaining stability and continuity.

GOP House Minority Leader Rod Montoya (left) and GOP House Minority Whip Alan Martinez (right).

House Republicans selected Rep. Rod Montoya of Farmington as leader, while Rep. Alan Martinez of Bernalillo as whip.

Montoya has served in the House since 2015 and sits on the House Appropriations Committee. Previously, Montoya served as minority whip. Before coming to the Legislature, Montoya worked for GOP former Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, who served under Gov. Susana Martinez.

Rep. Martinez, who is a freshman lawmaker elected in 2022, previously worked for the State of New Mexico’s Department of Veterans Services. 

The one leadership role in the House GOP that will not change is that of Republican Caucus Chair Gail Armstrong of Magdalena, who will continue in that position. Armstrong has served in the Legislature since 2017, succeeding former Speaker of the House Don Tripp. 

Currently, Republicans hold 25 of the chamber’s 70 seats but hope to flip many Democrat-held seats in the upcoming November election.

Biden’s Dem rival making campaign stops in NM

Later this month, Joe Biden’s rival in the Democrat primary, author Marianne Williamson, will make campaign stops in New Mexico in an attempt to pull votes from the woefully unpopular current Democrat presumptive nominee.

Williamson will be at 7:00 p.m. in Santa Fe on April 12 at Unity Santa Fe, a leftist movement that “emphasizes spiritual healing, prosperity, and practical Christianity,” according to Brittanica.

The church’s website notes that it is “a welcoming inter-faith community that celebrates the oneness and divinity of all creation” and “We welcome all regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  You are a beloved child of God and we love you just the way you are.”

Williamson will then make a campaign stop in Albuquerque on April 13 at Unity Spiritual Center Albuquerque at 7:00 p.m.

“I do not believe [Joe] Biden is a strong candidate for 2024,” Williamson said to NewsNation after her decision to unsuspend her campaign and continue running against the octogenarian Democrat for the White House.

Marianne Williamson in Manchester (February 17, 2019). Marcn, Wiki Commons.

Williamson has not won a single delegate in the Democrat primary, coming in near-last in Iowa with 268 votes, third in New Hampshire with 5,006 votes, and second in Nevada with ⁦3,727.

Despite her lackluster performance, her continued remainder in the presidential race keeps support from Biden as all of Republican 45th President Donald Trump’s serious rivals have dropped out of the race. 

Biden currently has a 53 percent disapproval rating in New Mexico, with 41 percent approving, despite Democrats dominating the state in recent elections.

Lujan Grisham keeps flirting with special session

Far-left Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham continues toying with the idea of having a special session for “crime” and “public safety.”

Per a report from the Santa Fe New Mexican, the governor’s agenda for a potential special session would include sending “criminal defendants who are found incompetent to stand trial to a mental health or behavioral health treatment program,” a bill to ‘offer mental or behavioral health programs to people with “a significant mental health issue and a chemical dependency’ when family members are unable to have them involuntarily held in an inpatient facility,” measures to restrict panhandling, and increasing penalties for felons in possession of firearms.

Recently, the governor sat down with PBS New Mexico’s “New Mexico In Focus” to talk about the potential of a special session.

She told the program, “It’s a decision I can make. I have the authority to do that as governor [of] the state of New Mexico, so why not just decide? You know, part of it is I want to be successful for the public.”

She added, “We have a lot of public safety issues that still require, in my view, immediate and dramatic attention. And what I want is these strategies to get through a very narrow, very tight, special session.”

In the New Mexican’s report, the governor claimed she was leaning “80/20” in favor of calling a special session. Previously, the governor called a special session in 2021 to ram through a bill to legalize recreational marijuana sales in the state.

She has not, in fact, called special sessions on the time-sensitive topics of reforms to her Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) or border security, both crises plaguing the state.

See what first New Mexico billionaire’s solar fortune is worth now

In the late 1970s, amidst the global energy crisis sparked by the Iranian Revolution, a young Ron Corio, freshly equipped with a driver’s license, found himself stuck in extensive gas lines in New Jersey. This experience prompted him to consider solar power.

Decades later, Corio’s venture, Array Technologies, based in Albuquerque, has emerged as a leading name in the renewable energy sector (due to heavy government subsidy and no excise taxes whatsoever), propelling him to become New Mexico’s sole billionaire. Forbes attributes Corio’s fortune to strategic share sales following Array’s IPO in October 2020, positioning him as the wealthiest individual in the state as per Forbes’ latest state-wise richest person compilation.

Corio’s journey into the solar industry began post-high school when he ventured to the University of New Mexico, pursuing engineering. His path took a turn when he joined a local startup, HDI Research, which was innovating an automotive ignition system to boost efficiency and minimize emissions. This role marked Corio’s initial foray into solar, as he installed a solar setup for HDI’s remote cabin.

John Williamson, who served as Array’s chief engineer, remarked, “In those early days, solar wasn’t mainstream, positioning Ron as somewhat of an industry maverick. He faced skepticism, with many advising him to pursue more traditional career paths.”

Corio’s pivotal moment came in 1985 when he transitioned to a small Albuquerque solar company, Wattsun Corp. It was here that he conceptualized his first solar tracker, a pivotal invention aimed at enhancing solar panel efficiency by aligning them with the sun’s trajectory. This innovation laid the groundwork for what would become Array Technologies.

Fast forward, solar trackers now play a crucial role in solar energy generation, with the International Energy Agency noting it as the fastest-expanding renewable segment. Wood Mackenzie’s Annie Rabi Bernard highlights that trackers feature in nearly half of all new large-scale solar projects, presenting a significant growth opportunity in the sector.

Williamson fondly recalls Corio’s early contributions, “Ron wasn’t just the first to imagine a solar tracker; he was instrumental in making it commercially viable for the utility market.”

Strategic moves and industry foresight mark array’s journey from a small venture to a solar powerhouse. Despite facing challenges, including market competition and regulatory uncertainties, Corio’s resilience and innovation steered Array through. His decision to decline a buyout offer from Oaktree Capital Management during a turbulent period showcased his commitment to the company’s vision.

However, Array’s market dynamics shifted, prompting Corio to eventually partner with Oaktree, a move that led to his stepping down as CEO and CTO. Despite these changes, the company continued to thrive, with its IPO in 2020 marking a significant milestone.

Corio’s exit from Array didn’t mark the end of his contributions to the solar industry. As the company navigated post-IPO challenges and market fluctuations, Corio had already solidified his legacy within the sector.

Reflecting on Corio’s journey, Williamson shared, “Ron’s always been more hands-on, preferring the grit of engineering work over idle relaxation. Even after stepping away from Array, he continues to explore new technological frontiers.”

Beyond his business ventures, Corio has embraced philanthropy, channeling a portion of his wealth into the Corio Foundation, supporting various causes and fostering innovation through educational scholarships.
Forbes reported in 2023 that Corio was the state’s first billionaire. In 2021, his net worth was $1.1 billion, and it has shot up to $1.7 billion now, which is on par with what he was worth in 2023. He is currently ranked the 1,851th wealthiest person on the planet.

ABQ City Council set to take stance on police chief’s performance

The Albuquerque City Council is slated to convene on Wednesday to determine their stance on Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina. Councilor Louie Sanchez, a former APD officer, has raised the question of a vote of no confidence, emphasizing that such a vote would convey a “clear message.”

“We’re done with no accountability. We’re done with no transparency,” stated Sanchez, underlining the necessity to rebuild public trust in the police department.

Sanchez’s call has prompted Chief Medina to appear at the council meeting to field inquiries. An APD spokesperson, Franchesca Perdue, confirmed Medina’s attendance and readiness to provide insights into crime-fighting efforts and the department’s positive trajectory.

According to the city charter, a two-thirds majority vote from the Council can oust a police chief, provided there’s substantial cause. Even if the no confidence vote falls short, Sanchez intends to persist in his endeavors, potentially advocating for changes to the city charter.

While specific alterations weren’t outlined, Sanchez expressed willingness to collaborate with fellow councilors. Previously, Sanchez and councilor Renee Grout attempted to amend the city government structure from a strong to weak mayor system, albeit unsuccessfully.

Scrutiny of the law enforcement agency and its leadership began in January, following federal raids on the homes of three APD officers and a local attorney’s office. This was amid revelations of numerous DWI dismissals involving five officers, leading to over 190 dismissed cases. The officers implicated in the DWI unit resigned after being placed on administrative leave pending an internal inquiry by APD’s Internal Affairs Division.

In another development in February, Chief Medina was involved in a vehicle collision, injuring Todd Perchert. Perchert, speaking about his injuries, announced plans for legal action against the city, represented by attorney James Tawney.

Despite these challenges, the City Council narrowly voted against initiating a multi-agency investigation into Medina’s crash in March. This tumultuous period follows APD’s attainment of its highest level of compliance with the court-approved settlement agreement, or CASA, in November 2023. However, Sanchez voiced concerns that these recent events might jeopardize the prospect of concluding the CASA agreement.

“DOJ is probably not going anywhere,” remarked Sanchez, hinting at the ongoing oversight from the Department of Justice.

This is not the first time illegals were found hiding in NM middle school

Last week, Santa Teresa Middle School in Doña Ana County was placed on lockdown following the discovery of illegal immigrants hiding within its premises. Situated near the U.S. Southern border with Mexico, this incident is not an isolated occurrence, as migrants have been found hiding there previously.

“Being that those schools are so close to the border, the proximity of the border, these types of events happen weekly,” stated Refugio Socorro, a spokesperson with U.S. Border Patrol.

“A lot of people in that area that try to evade arrest from our apprehensions do have a criminal history or have immigration issues. So that’s the reason why they just take off running and go through locations they’re not even familiar with,” Socorro added.

According to reports from KOAT, migrants likely entered the U.S. border through “The Anarpa Gap,” an opening in the border wall approximately five miles from the school. Concerns about safety have been voiced by parents, with one mother expressing her worry for her child’s safety amidst such incidents.

“At first, I was scared with every notification from the school that they’re on lockdown. As a parent, you’re going to get worried,” she remarked.

Gadsden Independent School District (GISD) extended gratitude to the U.S. Border Patrol for their efforts in ensuring the safety of children. In a statement, GISD thanked both the U.S. Border Patrol agents and the officers of the Sunland Park Police Department for their prompt and professional response to the situation.

Meanwhile, recent developments elsewhere, such as a pair of murders in Michigan allegedly perpetrated by migrants, have sparked discussions about potential political ramifications. Strategic National CEO John Yob, known for accurate polling in 2016, suggests that these events may influence public opinion, possibly impacting future elections.

NM SOS Toulouse Oliver suffers legal blow after trying to hide election info

In a major legal development, a federal court has ruled that New Mexico must allow a conservative group to publish voter registration data online in a move toward transparency and election integrity. 

U.S. District Judge James Browning in Albuquerque decreed that the conservative-leaning Voter Reference Foundation LLC is legally entitled to access information from the state’s voter rolls. This marks a setback for the Secretary of State’s office, which had sought to prevent the release based on a federal election transparency law.

The Secretary of State’s office, led by far-left Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, disagreeing with Judge Browning’s decision, plans to challenge the ruling at the 10th Circuit Court and will seek to suspend the ruling’s effect during the appeal process.

The dispute centers on the foundation’s intention to post detailed voter data on its website, including names, addresses, and birth years. The foundation, led by Gina Swoboda, a former Trump campaign official and current chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, asserts its mission is to bolster voter engagement across all states.

“The Voter Reference Foundation is dedicated to ensuring transparent, accurate and fair elections in the United States of America. The purpose of this website is to provide educational information about how our elections process works and how elections data is compiled and maintained nationwide,” the group’s website states.

Judge Browning’s ruling aligns with similar federal court decisions, reinforcing the precedence set by the National Voter Registration Act over state-level restrictions on voter data dissemination. This ruling comes amidst ongoing legal battles in other states like Pennsylvania and Maine, where attempts to safeguard voter information from online exposure have faced legal challenges.

In response to the ruling, Alex Curtas, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office, claims the court’s acknowledgment that the state’s restrictions on voter data usage do not infringe on First Amendment rights and were not applied in a retaliatory manner against the Voter Reference Foundation. 

The case, dating back to 2022, saw the foundation initially post New Mexico voter data online, which was subsequently removed following objections from state election regulators. The foundation’s legal action against the state argued that the pushback constituted unconstitutional retaliation and infringed on First Amendment rights.

The publicly accessible voter information in New Mexico does not include sensitive personal details such as Social Security numbers or precise birthdates, nor does it cover participants in the state’s Safe At Home Program for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. 

However, the foundation’s use of voter data from April 2021 means that any changes to voter registration status after that date will not affect the information available on their website.

Although Toulouse Oliver previously touted a leftist MIT study, claiming New Mexico had some of the best election administration in the country, the Voter Reference Foundation ranks New Mexico’s elections at the bottom of the nation, with a “D” rating. See New Mexico’s ranking on the group’s website here.

Publicly funded ABQ opera show for ‘all ages’ under fire for sexual content

In a recent series of opera performances that sparked controversy in Albuquerque, Opera Southwest’s latest production, “Before Night Falls,” reportedly featured a scene that has left many audience members and residents aback. 

The opera, presented at the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s (NHCC) Albuquerque Journal Theatre (a division of the state-funded New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs) from March 1-3, purportedly included a depiction of a live sex act involving nearly nude men, simulating male-on-male sexual intercourse, without any prior content advisory to the audience, per attendees.

The production, funded by the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque City Council, among others, did not provide warnings in its promotional materials or programs about the explicit content, despite the presence of minors in the audience, per one concerned Albuquerque citizen who was in attendance. 

According to Opera Southwest’s mission statement on its website, it seeks “to produce quality, professional, enjoyable and accessible opera in an intimate setting for audiences of all ages.”

This omission raised legal and ethical questions by those in attendance, given New Mexico’s laws regarding the exposure of minors to sexually oriented material. The all-ages audience was reportedly given no warning about the forthcoming indecent exposure and no content advisory. 

The opera’s program also does not mention any such content advisories nor does the website for purchase of tickets. 

The 2000 film rendition of Before Night Falls was rated R, with IMDB’s parental guide noting of the film, “Only male nudity present in [the] movie. Male full frontal nudity shown in a couple of scenes,” adding that the film“[i]ncludes a scene of sexuality involving a child.”

New Mexico statute, Chapter 30 Criminal Offenses, Article 37, relating to sexually oriented material harmful to minors, states, “It is unlawful for any person knowingly to exhibit to a minor or knowingly to provide to a minor an admission ticket or pass or knowingly to admit a minor to premises whereon there is exhibited a motion picture, show or other presentation which, in whole or in part, depicts nudity, sexual conduct or sado-masochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors.”

The artistic team behind the opera, including artistic director Anthony Barrese and executive director Tony Zancanella, have expressed their unwavering support for the inclusion of the scene, per a press release from concerned citizens, despite its potential violation of state statutes. Meanwhile, Morris James Chavez, the Board President of NHCC, has yet to make a public statement regarding the incident.

This controversial decision by Opera Southwest and the NHCC to include such explicit content without warning has led to discussions about the responsibility of cultural institutions to their audiences, the role of taxpayer funding explicit arts, and the potential legal ramifications of exposing minors to sexually explicit performances.

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