Politics

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.

Heinrich gets horrible news in bid to keep U.S. Senate seat

Nella Domenici, daughter of New Mexico’s former Republican Senator Pete Domenici, has made headlines by setting a new fundraising benchmark for a Republican Senate contender in the state. Launching her campaign in mid-January, Domenici has successfully amassed over $1.25 million by the end of March, marking a record for GOP Senate candidates in New Mexico for the first quarter of an election year. This fundraising milestone was first revealed to Fox News Digital.

As the expected Republican candidate, Domenici is poised to challenge Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich in the upcoming November elections, where Heinrich seeks a third term. The significant $1.25 million raised is celebrated as an unprecedented achievement for a Republican in the state’s political arena, per Fox News.

Domenici’s campaign highlighted contributions from over 1,100 supporters, reflecting widespread backing. Domenici expressed her gratitude, stating, “What an incredible outpouring of broad support in such a short amount of time – New Mexico is truly ready for a change.” She criticized incumbent Senator Heinrich for prioritizing “extreme progressive ideology” over practical solutions for New Mexico’s challenges.

While Heinrich’s first-quarter fundraising figures are pending, his 2023 campaign efforts yielded nearly $4.5 million, with his campaign account holding about $3.5 million at year’s end, as per Federal Election Commission records.

Pete Domenici’s six-term tenure in the Senate, which concluded in 2009, endows his daughter with significant political clout and familiarity among New Mexico voters. Nella Domenici, with a robust background in finance, including roles at Bridgewater Associates as CFO, Credit Suisse, and Citadel Investment Group, brings a formidable fundraising network. Announcing her candidacy, she committed an initial personal investment of half a million dollars to her campaign.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has shown support for Domenici, indicating GOP endorsement for her candidacy. Despite New Mexico’s leftward shift in recent electoral cycles, Domenici’s campaign represents a concerted effort to reclaim a Senate seat for the Republicans, a feat not achieved in the state for 15 years.

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.

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.

Leftist judge claims former Trump attorney Eastman should lose license

In Los Angeles, a leftist judge has recommended stripping John Eastman, a lawyer known for his conservative views and a former law school dean, of his California legal license due to his actions on behalf of 45th President Donald Trump aimed at sending electors back to the states after the allegedly fraudulent 2020 election, in which Joe Biden was declared the winner despite abnormalities. 

The disciplinary actions faced by Eastman in the state’s bar court arise from his formulation of a legal approach that suggested then-Vice President Mike Pence could intervene in the certification of Joe Biden’s allegedly deceitful electoral win. Judge Yvette Roland of the State Bar Court of California recommended this, and the case is now pending a final verdict from the California Supreme Court, with Eastman retaining the right to contest their decision.

Roland, according to her former firm, Duane Morris, upon her appointment to the bench, she “served as a board member and past president of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and she is a board member of the Black Women Lawyers Foundation and the California Association of Black Lawyers. She also is a member of the American Bar Association, John M. Langston Bar Association and the National Bar Association.”

“Roland also represented employers against wrongful termination, retaliation, unfair competition, breach of contract, wage and hour, harassment and discrimination claims arising on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation and national origin. While she was a seasoned litigator in state and federal courts, Roland resolved many multimillion-dollar disputes by implementing appropriate alternative dispute resolution measures,” the firm’s website read.

Eastman’s defense, articulated by his attorney Randall Miller, asserts that Eastman’s legal interpretations post the 2020 election were rooted in established legal precedents, historical election outcomes, constitutional analysis, and comprehensive academic research. Miller emphasized that Eastman’s process mirrored the standard legal practices undertaken daily by attorneys across the nation.

Judge Roland found Eastman responsible for 10 out of the 11 allegations against him, which included deceiving the courts, moral turpitude, issuing false statements, and collaborating with Trump to impede the presidential power transition. Roland’s detailed 128-page judgment highlighted Eastman’s alleged conspiracy with Trump to disrupt the governmental procedure, particularly the electoral count on January 6, 2021.

Eastman is also implicated in trumped-up criminal charges in Georgia related to efforts to contest the 2020 election results alongside Trump and others. Despite pleading not guilty and defending his actions as legitimate legal advocacy for Trump, Eastman criticized the charges as an attack on lawyers’ vigorous defense of their clients.

The California State Bar accused Eastman of engaging in conduct that violated ethical standards, including making false claims that threatened democratic integrity by attempting to subvert the electoral outcome. Roland, in her ruling, claimed that Eastman’s statements went beyond acceptable legal advocacy and constituted lies that breached his duty of honesty and ethical obligations.

While Roland concurred with Eastman’s defense on one count, asserting his speech at a January 6 rally in Washington did not directly incite the Capitol incursion, she ruled that Eastman should be placed on involuntary inactive status, effectively barring him from practicing law in California pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

The “States United Democracy Center,” a leftist dark money group that has attacked Eastmand and three New Mexico legislators, including Piñon Post founder and editor Rep. John Block (R-Alamogordo), lauded the ruling.

“This is a crucial victory in the effort to hold accountable those who tried to overturn the 2020 election. After hearing from almost two dozen witnesses over a 35-day trial, the court found that John Eastman violated his ethical duties to uphold the constitution,” said Christine P. Sun, a senior vice president for the D.C.-based swamp group. “This decision sends an unmistakable message: No one is above the law — not presidents, and not their lawyers.”

Eastman, who has been part of the California Bar since 1997, has a notable legal background, including clerking for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and contributing to constitutional law through the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. 

His academic tenure at Chapman University’s law school ended in 2021 following a faculty uproar over his involvement in the post-election controversies. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

Radical leftist likely to be booted from ballot amid ballot petition lawsuit

The political aspirations of former “DREAMer” (illegal alien) and far-left New Mexico Senate hopeful Cindy Nava could be derailed by a legal challenge questioning the validity of her ballot qualification petitions. The challenge, spearheaded by Audrey Trujillo, a Republican contender for the State Senate District 9 seat, along with two prominent local Democrats, County Commissioner Katherine Bruc, and former State Sen. John Sapien, hinges on a clerical error in Nava’s petition forms.

The crux of the dispute lies in the petition forms used by Nava, a Democrat from Bernalillo, which incorrectly listed her address as being in Bernalillo County rather than the correct Sandoval County due to a mix-up between her town’s name and the similarly named neighboring county.

Sandra Wechsler, Nava’s campaign manager, expressed disappointment over the challenge, highlighting the enthusiasm and support Nava has garnered. “Over 250 Democratic voters in Senate District 9 signed petitions to put Cindy’s name on the ballot,” Wechsler told the Sandoval Signpost.

The lawsuit’s proponents argue that the law is unambiguous regarding such errors, stating that petitions with incorrect address information must be invalidated.

Nava had surpassed the requirement of garnering signatures from 3% of District 9’s registered Democratic voters, submitting over 250 signatures to the county clerk. The confusion arose from the paper and online nominating petition’s format, which separates the candidate’s street address and county of residence, leading to the inadvertent listing of “Bernalillo” in the county section.

State regulations are clear that any discrepancies in the required information on a nominating petition, including the candidate’s address, render the petition and all its signatures invalid. The law also penalizes the circulation of petitions that fail to accurately display essential details about the candidate and the office sought.

The lawsuit seeks to disqualify Nava from the upcoming June 4 Democrat primary, leaving Heather Balas as the sole Democratic candidate to face Trujillo in the November general election. This development follows the announcement by current Democratic State Sen. Brenda McKenna that she would not seek re-election, with McKenna having endorsed Nava as her preferred successor.

The legal challenge poses a significant dilemma, balancing the technicalities of election law against the expressed will of voters who supported Nava.

Scroll to Top