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Morning Word: New Mexico GOP Delegation Unites

Republican National Convention Opens in Cleveland

July 18, 2016, 7:30 am
Republican Delegation Unites Behind Trump 
New Mexico’s delegation to the Republican National Convention, which begins today in Cleveland, appear to be united behind Donald Trump, reports Michael Coleman, the Albuquerque Journal’s Washington bureau chief. 

No Speaking Role for Martinez
Gov. Susana Martinez and US Rep. Steve Pearce, both Republicans, say they like Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate. Martinez, the chair of the Republican Governors Association, still hasn’t endorsed Trump, who criticized her administration during a stump speech in Albuquerque in May. Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Deb Haaland argues that Pence, a Tea Party favorite, is “just as extreme as [Trump] is," Joey Peters reports.

Martinez, who has “been at odds with Trump over his claims that many Mexican immigrants are criminals and rapists,” is not scheduled to speak at the convention.
Sabato said Trump and Martinez are not going to reconcile. “So she has to ride this campaign out and see what happens. If Trump loses, Martinez will have an opportunity to re-emerge as Republicans try to climb out of the wreckage and reconstruct their party.”
CNN Poll Puts Johnson at 13 Percent
Gary Johnson is getting closer to the 15 percent mark he needs to appear in the national presidential debates. CNN has him at 13 percent. The former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party candidate was profiled Saturday by Deborah Baker in the Albuquerque Journal. He says there’s not much difference between climbing Mount Everest and running for president: “It’s just one foot in front of the other.” Not only does Johnson think he’d be good as president, “But more than that is, I just have to think this would be one of humankind’s greatest experiences.” 

Expect Higher Insurance Premiums
Just when you were getting over sticker shock for 2016 health insurance premiums, Bruce Krasnow reports premiums could jump even higher next year. Molina Health Care, for example, is seeking approval for a 24 percent increase.
All rate requests are still preliminary and have to pass muster with the superintendent of insurance. The comment period is open until the end of August. The rates are not necessarily an indication of what might happen with group or commercial plans for government workers and large businesses. Those are based on the claim record of that employee group.
President Barack Obama says he’s open to adding a public option where individuals would buy their health insurance directly from the government.

Public Officials Want Salary Hikes in Rio Rancho
Rio Rancho’s elected officials’ salaries could be tied to the estimated median household income after city elections in 2018. The proposed increases got a thumbs-up vote last week. If the measure eventually works its way onto the books, the mayor’s salary would jump from just more than $30,000 to $59,000. City councilors' pay would also increase to $16,588.

NM Republican House Candidates Have Cash Advantage
Speaking of money flows, New Mexico House Republican candidates appear to have a healthy campaign cash advantage headed into the fall election, but Steve Terrell reports that some state Democrats aren’t far behind.

New Mexico Could Owe Texas Millions in Water Battle
A high-stakes interstate water battle between Texas and New Mexico is heating up. Lawyers in the Lone Star State contend that New Mexico farmers are illegally curbing the flow of river water before it reaches the border. As the case makes its way through the legal system, a court-appointed master is recommending a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed or denied.
If Texas ultimately prevails, it could receive more than just extra water. New Mexico could be forced to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, experts say.

Hollywood Heads to Las Cruces
Albuquerque and Santa Fe are used to hosting big-name movie stars for film and TV productions. Now it’s Las Cruces’ turn for celebrity sightings. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that Cybill Shepard and James Brolin will be working on a comedic drama in southern New Mexico this fall.

Correction: An education funding formula gives charter schools about 15 percent advantage over public schools, not just $15, as we wrote on Friday.

 

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