Hi there. I guess I should introduce myself.
I'm Matthew Reichbach. I write about politics. I'm here to tell you about the previous day's big stories.
You may know me from back in the day New Mexico FBIHOP. You may know me from the late and dearly-lamented New Mexico Independent. You may know me from my new venture, the New Mexico Telegram.
Now you can say that you know me from the web-pages of the SF Reporter.
The SF Reporter is partnering with NM Telegram to be the only two places you can read the Morning Word -- the most comprehensive (though not even close to fully comprehensive) New Mexico news recap.
If you have any stories you think deserve to be included, from interesting local stories to anything involving our federal delegation, go ahead and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope you continue to read.
Anyway, on to the Word!
- Big story coming today.
The progressive group ProgressNow New Mexico has some news -- U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson is involved in a pay-to-play probe by the Attorney General. From the release:
You might remember in 2011 when news reports questioned the use of federal grants earmarked by Wilson to the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department that ended up at a company owned by Wilson campaign donors.
Now, ProgressNow New Mexico has learned that New Mexico's Attorney General has been conducting an investigation and both Heather Wilson and then-sheriff Darren White were called in for questioning.
The Albuquerque Journal and others reported on the story in 2011 but never fully explored the extent of the scandal. We did.
Our investigation reveals that donors connected to that Albuquerque company and two other associated companies gave Wilson more than $20,000 in campaign contributions and received more than $6 million in federal and contacts and grants, like the one earmarked to BCSO. The group will have a new website going up today (perhaps up by the time you read this) called WilsonWatch.org targeting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Heather Wilson.
I can feel confident saying that there is no chance that Wilson will lose the Republican primary to Greg Sowards on Tuesday -- but if this issue has legs, it could dog her in the general election battle, likely against Martin Heinrich.
- Its not just the Angie Spears race. The Associated Press reports that Susana PAC, the PAC run by Gov. Susana Martinez's political staff, donated in six different House and Senate primaries in the past three weeks. And another Republican-leaning PAC raised big money from oil and gas interests -- the Reform New Mexico Now PAC raised $205,000, the vast majority of which game from just two sources, Martinez-backers Chase Oil Corp. ($130,000) and Mack Energy ($50,000).
- Santa Fe Democratic State Rep. Brian Egolf's New Mexico Defense Fund PAC raised $61,950 in the past three weeks. Of that $35,000 came from six sources, with Brian Egolf's campaign committee donating $10,000 and AFSCME, Ben Lujan's campaign committee, Ben Lujan's leadership PAC, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and the Committee on Individual Responsibility all pitching in $5,000. PACs and candidate committees are allowed to donate $5,000 to PACs per election. The primary and general election are each considered separate elections, which is why the Committee to Elect Brian Egolf could donate $10,000.
- The Albuquerque Journal looks at the progressive PACs Verde PAC, which is a PAC run by the League of Conservation Voters, and Progressive Kick, a Super PAC that has been in the headlines lately, which have been putting money into Democratic primaries around the state.
- If you want to vote early in the primary, Saturday is your last chance. After that, you will have to risk standing in line on election day. But there generally is low turnout for election day, especially with no marquee statewide race to draw interest -- both U.S. Senate races are all-but foregone conclusions and neither party has a competitive presidential primary at this point, with all apologies to Ron Paul supporters.
- The Albuquerque Journal covered the controversial leaflet passed out in the House District 19 race that is aiding incumbent Sheryl Williams-Stapleton. NM Telegram first reported on this story nearly a month ago.
- The public interface portion of the New Mexico Courts website was hacked, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Nothing in the internal databases was affected.
- A poll for Manzano Strategies for New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan on May 22 shows that Barack Obama is above water in each of the three congressional districts. It, oddly enough, does not break down the crosstabs statewide and, somewhat humorously, misspell's the first name of Obama as "Barak."
It seems that Monahan has shed his longtime aversion to automated polls.
- A firefighter won a ruling in court that says she can indeed run for office.
But Republican Darren White says not so fast.
A case of a police chief being fired from that position after winning election to Utah's state Senate may be instructive in this case. The question will likely come down to whether or not the Albuquerque firefighter, Emily Cane, directs any federal funds.
- The governor toured the massive Whitewater-Baldy Fire on Thursday.
"It's always important to come out to these fires," said Martinez during a media briefing after meeting with officials. "To make sure that the people in the community are receiving good, accurate information and are getting it on a consistent basis."
- There is some substantial irony in Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson, a two-term governor of New Mexico, accepting matching federal funds for his presidential campaign. Johnson does have a fig leaf among Libertarians for why this would be acceptable; it is from a voluntary check-off on taxes:
The presidential public funding program is financed through the $3 check-off that appears on individual income tax returns. The program has three elements: grants to parties to help fund their nominating conventions, grants available to nominees to pay for the general election campaign and matching payments to participating candidates during the primary campaign.Still...
- Interesting from the Farmington Daily-Times.
The New Mexico Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, a collection of oil and gas companies, alternative fuel vehicle experts and local officials, was in Farmington on Thursday discussing the feasibility of building a compressed natural gas filling station in the city.
The station likely would be primarily used by local business fleets and a few city vehicles, but if it were built, the chance of a public station coming would be much greater.T. Boone Pickens is smiling somewhere.
- The Weekly Alibi reports that the De Anza Motor Lodge is on its way back.