New Mexico

New Mexico wages plummet in May after April increase

The latest ADP Pay Insights report shows that the median annual wage in New Mexico declined in May.

In April 2024, the median annual wage stood at $40,000. However, in May 2024, it dropped by 1% to $39,600. Despite this recent dip, there was a 2.06% increase compared to May 2023, when the median wage was $38,800.

New Mexico’s wages have hovered around $40,000 since experiencing a decline in the spring of 2022. Unlike some neighboring states, New Mexico hasn’t witnessed sustained wage growth since the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. Among its neighbors, Utah was the only state with an increase in median annual income between April and May 2024.

The ADP Pay Insights report is based on payroll data, tracking pay changes for approximately 17 million jobs over a 12-month period. This results in about 10 million monthly individual pay change observations, which are then used to compile the report.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate was 3.9% in April. North Dakota and South Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates, at 2%. New Mexico ranked 33rd in the country with an unemployment rate of 3.8%, the same as in March 2024.

New Mexico’s unemployment rate falls in the middle in the Southwestern region. States like Texas, Nevada, and California have higher unemployment rates, while Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Utah have lower rates.

New Mexico no longer safe for Democrats: Cook Political Report

The Cook Political Report has shifted its rating of Virginia and New Mexico from “Solid Democrat” to “Likely Democrat” in its latest forecast for the 2024 election.

This adjustment comes amid Joe Biden’s ongoing struggles in polls across several states, particularly with black and Hispanic voters.

“Virginia and New Mexico are the only two states in our Solid Democrat column that Biden carried by 11 points or less in 2020,” remarked Cook Editor-in-Chief Amy Walter. “Given the current polling, they are now in the mid-single digit range and, as such, move into the Likely Democrat column.”

Walter added that while the Cook team believes these states “are at low risk of flipping to [45th President Donald] Trump, they are no longer the ‘gimmes’ a Solid Democrat rating suggests.”

If Trump were to win either state in November, he would achieve something no Republican presidential candidate has done since George W. Bush carried both states in his 2004 re-election.

Virginia, once a Republican stronghold, has consistently voted Democratic since 2008. However, recent polling indicates potential changes. Walter cited a FOX News poll showing Biden and Trump “in a dead heat” in Virginia, with both receiving 48% in a head-to-head matchup.

Trump’s unexpected competitiveness in Virginia is attributed to his rising support among black voters. While Biden still leads among black voters, his margin has significantly decreased from 81 points in 2020 to 48 points in the latest survey, with Trump increasing his share from 9% to 25%.

Walter noted, “The fact that the Biden campaign is spending as much time reaching out to Black voters as they are suggests that they too are worried about lagging support from this critical constituency.” She remained skeptical, however, that Trump would maintain his current level of support among black voters, suggesting the real danger for Biden is that many black voters may choose to stay home.

In 2020, Biden won Virginia by just over 10 points. The state has also voted Democratic in the previous three presidential elections, with Hillary Clinton carrying it by five points in 2016 and Barack Obama winning it by six points in both 2008 and 2012.

Virginia’s recent Democratic success is largely attributed to the heavily populated, deep-blue suburbs of Washington D.C. in the north. Despite this, Republicans have recently seen victories in statewide elections, with Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares winning the top three statewide offices in 2021.

Regarding New Mexico, Walter mentioned that while there hasn’t been recent public polling, a well-placed Republican source indicated Biden’s lead has narrowed to around four points, reflecting similar trends in Arizona and Nevada.

Walter highlighted that “43% of New Mexico’s citizen voting-age population is Hispanic,” suggesting Biden’s challenges with this demographic could have a significant impact in the state.

Polling has consistently shown Biden underperforming in battleground states with substantial Hispanic populations. For instance, a recent New York Times/Siena poll found Trump leading Biden by 12 points among registered voters and 13 points among likely voters in Nevada, where roughly 20% of voters are Hispanic. Similarly, Trump leads in Arizona by seven points among registered voters and six points among likely voters, with Hispanic voters making up about a quarter of the electorate.

An Axios/Ipsos poll reported that from December 2021 to March 2024, Biden’s favorability among Latinos dropped 12 points, while Trump’s favorability increased by eight points. This shift has narrowed Biden’s lead among Latinos who plan to vote in November to just three points.

In 2020, Biden won New Mexico by a margin of 10.8%. The state had also voted Democratic in previous elections, with Clinton winning by eight points in 2016, Obama by 10 points in 2012, and 15 points in 2008. Bush narrowly won New Mexico in 2004, defeating John Kerry by less than one percent, as reported by Catholic Vote.

Nella Domenici launches second TV ad

On Tuesday, U.S. Senate candidate Nella Domenici, the Republican nominee who hopes to defeat Democrat Sen. Martin Heinrich in November, launched her second ad of the campaign cycle, focusing on introducing herself to New Mexico voters.

“Growing up, Nella blazed her own trail,” the ad explains, showing Domenici hiking in New Mexico. “Set her sights on law school, took night classes, and paid her own way. Graduated business school nine months pregnant — top of her class.” 

The ad shows photos of her education experience and then explains, “‘Mom’ was Nella’s most important title while she forged new paths in business and community, breaking down barriers and driving innovative solutions. It’s time to do the same for New Mexico. There are mountains of problems. We need an experienced leader to fix them.”

“The journey to getting New Mexico back on top will not be easy and requires experienced leadership- not the two decades of failed leadership we see in my opponent,” Domenici wrote in an X post, introducing the ad. “I look forward to demanding more and delivering for New Mexico in the United States Senate.”

A recent Red Oak Strategies poll of 1,800 New Mexico voters showed Domenici only three points away from Heinrich, indicating the viability of her campaign. However, Domenici closed this gap when respondents heard positive information about her and negative messages about Heinrich.

In Domeinici’s first ad, she focused on her deep New Mexico roots, growing up on Monroe Street in Albuquerque. 

Following the news of Domenici’s new ad, Heinrich wrote in a panic-stricken fundraising email, “John, my multimillionaire opponent is back on the air this week with a brand-new TV ad. She’s paying $250,000 to reach voters with her ad statewide this week. This news comes right after a poll showed our Senate race in a dead heat. As my opponent reaches voters statewide, it’s never been more important that folks across New Mexico know what our grassroots campaign stands for every day.”

The Democrat accused Domenici of putting “Wall Street profit” above voters due to Domenici’s successful business career for Fortune 500 companies. In contrast, Heinrich has been in elected office for decades and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.


‘Most prominent’ national school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis coming to NM

A leading national school choice advocate, Dr. Corey A. DeAngelis, Ph.D., is making a stop in the Land of Enchantment next Monday, June 17th, as part of the Rio Grande Foundation’s (RGF)education project, “Opportunity for All Kids NM.” 

“School choice is sweeping the nation. Arguably the most prominent national spokesperson and expert on allowing education dollars to follow students is Corey DeAngelis,” wrote RGF. DeAngelis is a visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a senior fellow at the Reason Foundation, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, among other accolades. 

45th President Trump wrote about DeAngelis, “Corey DeAngelis is a FIGHTER for Parental Rights. His new book, The Parent Revolution, is a great guide to help Moms and Dads take back control of their children’s education from the RADICAL MARXISTS ruining our schools. As I have long said, School Choice is the CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE of our time, and parents must have a voice in their child’s education!”

DeAngelis is the author of “The Parent Revolution: Rescuing Your Kids from the Radicals Ruining Our Schools.” The book is the #1 seller on Amazon for education funding and is a national USA Today bestseller. 

There will be talks and book signings in Albuquerque and Alamogordo. The Albuqueruqe event will be held at 12:00 p.m. at the Greater Association of Albuquerque Realtors (GAAR) located at 1635 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102. The registration link is here.

The Alamogordo talk will take place at 6:00 p.m. at the Flickinger Center for Performing Arts at 1110 N New York Ave, Alamogordo, NM 88310. The registration link is here.

For a special Piñon Post reader exclusive offer, enter the code PINONPOST at checkout to receive 10% off your ticket to either event! 

NMSP Officer Hare’s suspected murderer has trial delayed

A federal judge has postponed the trial for a Marion, North Carolina, man charged with the murder of a New Mexico State Police officer in March. U.S. District Court Judge James O. Browning granted the defense team’s request to delay the trial of Jaremy Smith by nearly a month, moving the date from June 10 to July 8.

Jaremy Smith, 33, is accused of several charges, including carjacking resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death, related to the March 15 shooting of Officer Justin Hare on Interstate 40 near Albuquerque. Smith was arrested on March 17 by Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies in an Albuquerque neighborhood after being shot multiple times during a brief foot chase.

Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 9. Prosecutors have stated they are considering the death penalty if he is convicted. Smith’s attorneys mentioned in court documents that a “mitigation presentation” is planned for early July, which could potentially remove the death penalty from consideration. They argued that preparing for this presentation, along with the criminal trial, is overwhelming.

“There is still a great deal of work to be done, which cannot be accomplished by the current deadlines set by the court,” Smith’s attorneys stated in their motion.

On April 18, Smith pleaded not guilty to charges including carjacking resulting in death, causing death by the discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, kidnapping resulting in death, and interstate transport of a stolen vehicle.

Last week, Smith’s legal team requested a delay in the trial, citing the “voluminous” evidence, which includes over 7,700 individual items.

Judge Browning, in his June 4 decision, noted, “The court finds that granting the continuance will strike a proper balance between the ends of justice and the best interests of the public.” He also mentioned that the delay was necessary as “defense counsel anticipates plea negotiations with the government will begin shortly.”

In addition to the charges related to Officer Hare’s death, Smith is facing 17 charges in connection with the death of Pee Dee paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore, whose body was discovered on March 15 outside Lake View in Dillon County, North Carolina.

Parents in seven NM school districts left in the dark about kids being ‘transitioned’

Seven major New Mexico school districts, responsible for the education of thousands of children, have implemented policies that allow students to change their “gender identity” in school without notifying their parents, as revealed by the

The conservative group Parents Defending Education (PDE) uncovered these policies through public records requests. The documents show that teachers are instructed to help transgender students change their names, pronouns, clothing, and gender identity without parental knowledge.

Transgender advocates argue that these guidelines are essential for protecting students from unsupportive parents. However, many parents believe these policies are dangerous and deny them the opportunity to support their children through difficult times.

PDE’s outreach director, Erika Sanzi, criticized the schools for their “indefensible and likely illegal” policies, stating, “Any time a school participates in or facilitates a student’s transition, they are engaging in a psychosocial intervention that requires parental notification and consent. Federal law guarantees parents the right to view every record maintained by the district, and that includes gender support plans.”

The schools in question—Los Alamos Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools, Las Cruces Public Schools, Gallup-McKinley County Schools, Moriarty-Edgewood School District, Santa Fe Public Schools, and Gadsden Independent School District—did not respond to inquiries from PDE plans to add these schools to its national database of institutions with secret transgender policies.

New Mexico is known for its progressive stance on transgender youth, offering protections from discrimination and bullying. Last year, Democratic Governor Michelle Grisham signed a law safeguarding sex-change procedures in the state.

Santa Fe Public Schools, comprising 28 institutions, has one of the most stringent confidentiality policies, instructing teachers to “MAINTAIN CONFIDENTIALITY — THIS IS CRITICAL.” The internal guide states, “Do NOT share the student’s transgender status with anyone else. This is HIGHLY confidential information.” Parents are only informed if a student wishes to change their name or gender marker in the school’s database.

In the Moriarty-Edgewood School District, teachers are instructed to determine if students “feel safe” and whether their “parents know” about their gender transition. When parents are unaware, only a counselor is involved.

The documents also include educational materials like the “Gender Unicorn,” which promotes the concept of gender as a fluid spectrum, and the ‘Genderbread Person,’ which educates about intersex and ‘genderqueer’ identities. These materials aim to challenge traditional notions of biological sex.

Parents’ concerns extend beyond New Mexico. In Wisconsin, a group of parents recently protested a gender support policy in the Eau Claire Area School District, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the matter. The group, Parents Protecting Our Children, argues that the district’s policy violates their constitutional rights by excluding them from their children’s gender transitions.

Nicholas Barry, a lawyer from America First Legal, asserted that the Supreme Court “should step in and protect parental rights,” emphasizing that parental exclusion from a child’s social transition is “simply disconnected from reality.”

Schools face pressure to support transgender students amidst a politically charged environment where gender identity has become a contentious issue. This debate includes whether “trans” teens should use restrooms and participate in sports that align with their gender identity. These matters often result in legal battles, with varying outcomes depending on the state.

Parents of transgender-identifying children express concerns about external influences, such as classmates, social media, and school staff. Some parents believe their children may not truly be transgender and advocate for delaying irreversible steps like puberty blockers or surgery, citing underlying mental health issues as a more significant factor.

The number of transgender children aged 13 to 17 has doubled, and insurance claims for puberty blockers and hormones have similarly increased. Supporters of “gender-affirming care” attribute this rise to greater awareness and acceptance, while concerned parents warn of a potential “social contagion.”

Poll spooks Heinrich, showing him with razor-thin lead over Domenici

Since Pete Domenici’s victory in 2002, no Republican has secured a U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico. Currently, Republicans are hopeful that Domenici’s daughter, Nella Domenici, a former CFO at Bridgewater Associates and a newcomer to politics, might challenge Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich.

While this race isn’t a primary focus for Senate Republicans, who are directing most of their efforts towards states like West Virginia, Ohio, and Montana, Nella Domenici’s potential financial backing and favorable political conditions could make the contest more competitive than expected.

A Red Oak Strategies poll conducted for Domenici and the National Republican Senatorial Committee indicates that she has the potential to grow her support base in the months leading up to Election Day. The poll, based on a survey of 1,800 registered voters, shows that while 66% of New Mexicans are unfamiliar with Nella, 46% recall her father, Pete Domenici, positively and support her candidacy. “This is a huge advantage as the campaign begins to deliver Nella’s message across direct voter contact platforms,” noted her team in a strategy memo shared with the National Review.

The poll revealed Heinrich leading Domenici by only three points among likely voters, within a 2.3 percent margin of error. However, Domenici closed this gap when respondents heard positive information about her and negative messages about Heinrich.

Despite New Mexico’s strong Democrat leaning and expectations of an easy win for Heinrich, as indicated by forecasters like Sabato’s Crystal Ball and the Cook Political Report, Domenici’s campaign believes Joe Biden’s declining favorability ratings might negatively impact Heinrich. The strategy memo highlighted Biden’s 42% favorable and 56% unfavorable ratings compared to Trump’s 39% favorable and 59% unfavorable ratings, suggesting potential vulnerabilities for Democrats.

Domenici’s financial resources and business background, with experience at Bridgewater, Credit Suisse, and Citadel Investment Group, could prove advantageous, especially if she secures substantial contributions from Wall Street contacts. Notably, her latest Federal Election Commission report includes a donation from Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman.

If Domenici can improve her fundraising, which was around $1 million compared to Heinrich’s $4.4 million as of mid-May, Democrats might have to allocate more resources to defend Heinrich, diverting funds from more competitive battleground states.

Domenici launched her first campaign ad last month, and Heinrich responded with attacks this week. Her campaign plans to criticize Heinrich on energy policy, immigration, and public safety while adopting a centrist stance on abortion, opposing a federal ban on the procedure.

“Nella Domenici is well-positioned to take on Martin Heinrich and make this race competitive. New Mexico is a race to watch,” stated NRSC spokeswoman Maggie Abboud.

Heinrich’s team responded to the poll results in a fundraising email, calling it a “dead heat.” His team wrote, “This new poll is concerning enough. But the National Republican Senatorial Committee has put their full support behind Martin’s opponent and is calling New Mexico ‘a race to watch.’ NPR reports that the state has ‘pivotal races’ for the House and the Senate — including Martin’s — that could ‘help determine the control of those chambers.’”

Leftists churn out fake news about Trump’s NM primary margin

Leftist news networks began attempting to delegitimize 45th President Donald J. Trump’s primary election night victory in New Mexico, claiming former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley created a failure in the primaries with a “huge vote against him.”

KRQE 13 ran a headline reading, “Haley, Christie and others take votes away from Trump in New Mexico primary,” focusing on the meager 8.6 percent Haley took from him, the tiny 2.6 percent Christie took, and the 3.3 percent “uncommitted,” which added up to 14.5 percent.

Newsweek continued perpetuating the fake narrative with the headline, “Donald Trump Suffers Huge Vote Against Him in New Mexico Primary,” bringing attention to the same numbers as the local TV news station. 

Even far-left “comedian” Steven Colbert brought attention to the Newsweek headline, trying to claim the results were a “hiccup” against the 45th President. 

But these leftist news organizations and personalities failed to mention Joe Biden’s performance in New Mexico, which percentage-wise was around one point off from Trump’s numbers.

Biden grabbed 83.5 percent of the New Mexico Democrat primary vote, while Marianne Williamson snatched 6.7 percent, and a huge 9.7 percent or 12,877 rejected Biden — a massive blow to the wildly unpopular Democrat politician. 

One X user wrote, “I don’t like to extrapolate or make predictions based on primary elections, but I find it interesting how Trump has a higher % of the GOP primary vote share vs. Biden in the DEM primary in New Mexico tonight.”

State Rep. John Block wrote regarding the KRQE article, “What a bunch of fake news! Taking votes away from Trump? Try Biden! He only got barely one point more than Trump in NM. Give it a rest! Oh, and 10% of Biden’s votes are uncommitted vs. Trump’s only 3%! Report that!”

The leftist media in New Mexico or nationwide, however, neglected to mention Biden’s abysmal performance, which could tarnish him in the Land of Enchantment, which he purportedly won in 2020 by a 10.79 percent margin of victory.

Vasquez humiliated during border visit as his narrative crumbles before his eyes

In an unexpected turn of events, New Mexico’s U.S. Rep. Gabe Vasquez found himself in an awkward situation during a recent border visit, as The Wall Street Journal reported. During the visit, Vasquez accused Republicans of exaggerating the number of illegal border crossings, only to be proven wrong shortly thereafter.

According to the WSJ, Vasquez dismissed claims by Republicans that migrants were crossing the border “24/7” at a specific location. He stated, “This was a spot where Republicans claimed migrants were illegally crossing into the country ‘24/7.’ But no one was there. We’re on that same trail right now.” However, moments after his statement, a group of exhausted-looking men appeared along the sides of the hill, contradicting his claim.

“Moments later, a few exhausted-looking men, then more, appeared along the sides of the hill. They finished their climb and searched the mountain for pockets of shade to rest. In all, about 20 men and one young girl crested the ridge, where the terrain makes any border barrier difficult to maintain. Vasquez offered one of the men his bottle of water, guessing they were all suffering from dehydration,” wrote the WSJ.

This incident highlights a significant disconnect between Vasquez’s stance on border security and the reality on the ground. Vasquez has consistently opposed commonsense border security measures, opting instead for a more lenient, open-border approach. This has drawn criticism, especially as illegal crossings remain at alarmingly high levels and incidents of migrants hiding in New Mexico schools have surfaced.

The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) seized the opportunity to criticize Vasquez. Maureen O’Toole, CLF Regional Press Secretary, stated, “Come November, New Mexico voters will elect the candidate they trust to fix this border crisis – and that’s not Gabe Vasquez.”

Former Congresswoman Yvette Herrell, the GOP nominee for the Second District, wrote on X, “Denying reality doesn’t change it, Gabe!”

The border crisis continues to be a contentious issue in New Mexico and across the nation. With the upcoming elections, voters are increasingly looking for leaders who can effectively address the challenges posed by illegal immigration. Vasquez’s recent misstep at the border may further sway public opinion toward candidates advocating for stricter border controls and enhanced security measures.

As the situation at the border remains critical, the pressure is mounting on politicians to provide viable solutions. The outcome of the November elections will likely reflect the public’s growing concern over border security and their demand for tangible actions to address the crisis.

See who won and who lost in Tuesday’s most contested primaries

On Tuesday, New Mexicans headed to the polls to vote for nominees who will battle for positions in November’s general election. 

Far-left fringe Democrats defeated multiple more moderate incumbents who bucked Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s radical agenda, although many held on. Reps. Ambrose Castellano (D-Ribera), Willie Madrid (D-Chaparral), and Harry Garcia (D-Grants) were defeated by Lujan Grisham-backed “progressives.”

Rep. Marian Matthews (D-Albuquerque), who faced a primary challenge after she was one of the Democrats who voted against the governor’s “paid family and medical leave” bill, won her primary against a progressive challenger, and so did Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup), who faced two challengers. Sens. George Muñoz (D-Gallup) and Pete Campos (D-Las Vegas) both handily won over far-left challengers.

Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell (R-Roswell) won her GOP bid for an open seat in Senate District 32, Rep. Larry Scott (R-Hobbs) beat incumbent Sen. Steven McCutcheon in District 42, Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-Carlsbad) fended off a primary challenge from John Jack S. Volpato, Jr., and appointed Rep. Jared Hembree (R-Roswell) won his primary over challenger Tracy De La Rosa. In House District 62 being vacated by Scott, Elaine Sena Cortez won over two other opponents. 

In Senate District 27’s GOP primary, Patrick Henry Boone, IV defeated incumbent Sen. Greg Nibert (R-Roswell), who served in the House before being appointed to the Senate.

State Sen. Bill O’Neill (D-Albuquerque) narrowly lost his primary to M. Debbie O’Malley. Embattled incumbent Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto (D-Albuquerque) lost to challenger Heather Jean Berghmans in Senate District 15. 

Manny Gonzales, the Democrat-turned-Republican former Bernalillo County sheriff, narrowly lost the New Mexico Senate District 23 GOP nomination to Terry Lynne Aragon. In the Rio Rancho/Albuquerque area, Senate District 12, Jay Block won over former Sen. Candace Gould. In Senate District 21, Nicole L. Tobiassen won over two other Republicans for retiring Sen. Mark Moores’ seat. For retiring Rep. Bill Rehm’s seat, Nicole Chavez won the GOP nomination against Sarah Jane Allen and Patrick Huested.

Former State Rep. Linda Trujillo (D-Santa Fe) won the Democrat primary for retiring Sen. Nancy Rodriguez’s seat in the upper chamber of the Legislature over two challengers. 

Republican House Leader Rod Montoya (R-Farmington) easily won over Keith Mitchell Neil, who challenged him for the nomination.

In Albuquerque’s House District 16, progressive-appointed incumbent Rep. Yanira Gurrola fended off a primary challenger from former Rep. Marsella Duarte. The seat was previously held by Sen. Moe Maestas (D-Albuquerque), who was appointed to the Senate. He won his primary over a challenger.

Piñon PAC-endorsed Karl Melton won over Democrat-backed Rachel Black for Otero County Treasurer in a closely watched primary.

In a shocking turn, Steve Jones narrowly clinched the GOP nomination for the First Congressional District over Calibers gun store owner Louie Sanchez. Jones will now advance to take on far-left Democrat Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury in November. Uncontested, former Rep. Yvette Herrell won the nomination for the Second Congressional District, while Sharon Clahchischilliage won the nomination for the Third Congressional District. Nella Domenici clinched the uncontested Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

First Judicial District Attorney Mary Virginia Carmack-Altweis (D-Santa Fe) fended off a challenge from former DA Marco Serna. In Albuquerque’s Second Judicial District, Democrat DA Sam Bregman won over former U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez.

With the candidates advancing to the November general election, some of these primary wins could determine the fate of the Legislature, especially in seats where incumbents lost to progressives, meaning the opposing party may have a chance at winning. 

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