For Dems, Lt. Governor race is still a toss-up, but GOP and Libs are locked in

ProgressNow New Mexico will be looking at some top-level races more in-depth over the next few weeks to bring our perspective to the key races we’re expecting to see in New Mexico this year. New Mexico is in the national spotlight as one of the “most likely to flip” states in terms of our governor’s race. Our series will focus on the offices that New Mexicans can vote for statewide. This is the third piece in our series. The position of Lt. Governor can seem pretty inglorious compared to other statewide positions with specific duties as Secretary of State or Attorney General.

Alan Webber Announces Running for Santa Fe Mayor in his Interview with Richard Eeds

With Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales’ surprise announcement this month that he will not seek a second term, the March 2018 election to lead the capitol city is underway. 

Five candidates had already announced within days of Gonzales’ announcement.  According to the Santa Fe New Mexican: 
[School Board Member Kate] Noble joins three city councilors — Peter Ives, Joseph Maestas and Ron Trujillo — and school crossing guard Harvey Van Sickle, who is on the board of the nonprofit group Keep Santa Fe Beautiful, in the race for mayor, which could get more crowded. Today, former Fast Company magazine CEO and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Alan Webber became number six. 

He announced on Richard Eeds Santa Fe radio show. Listen below. 

Source: Alan Webber Announces Running for Mayor in his Interview with Richard Eeds

Finance Agency: State revenues up; Gov’s furlough, closing threats just politics

At the close of the legislative session, Gov. Martinez made statewide news announcing huge gaps in state revenue that required her to close state parks and museums and furlough state workers if the legislature did not pass her preferred version of the state budget. That threat appears to be based on a lie a new report from the state’a leading finance agency. 

The state is on track to end the year at least $71 million ahead of projections, according to the report and other financial data. From the Santa Fe New Mexican: 
A revenue forecast for the state of New Mexico released Friday indicates that Gov. Susana Martinez is wrong about the need for employee furloughs or a hiring freeze to balance spending for the remaining two months of the fiscal year, according to a top university economist. The budget tracking report from the Legislative Finance Committee indicates “revenues continue to appear on track or exceed expectations from the December forecast.” It projects that the state general fund will close out the 2017 fiscal year at $54 million, or 1 percent, above expectations… An economics professor, asked by The New Mexican to review the revenue tracking report, said Martinez’s talk of furloughs isn’t supported by the revenue forecast.

Gov. Martinez goes on trial in Santa Fe

The trial of Santa Fe Reporter vs. Governor Susana Martinez (D-101-CV-201302328) is finally underway in Santa Fe District Court. At the core of the issue: did Governor Martinez and her staff retaliate against news outlets not favorable to her by delaying or ignoring their public records requests and requests for comments? The suit alleges that the governor’s office stopped responding to Santa Fe Reporter questions and requests after the paper published excerpts from the governor’s private emails with cabinet officials and campaign members discussing public business. Joey Peters, then a reporter for the SFR, apparently recorded a phone call with Gov. Martinez in which he asked her about the SFR’s problems getting a response.

Ben Ray Lujan: Republicans helping Democrats pick up seats in 2018

Steve Pearce isn’t the only New Mexican in Congress in good spirits this week.  Ben Ray Lujan, Congressman representing New Mexico’s northern district, is the chair of the committee responsible for recruiting candidates for Congress and his predictions for Democratic wins in 2018 got a lot rosier this week. 

From The New Mexico Political Report:
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of Nambe is going to be a key figure for Democrats in the next election cycle. That’s because he’s the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As such, he’s tasked with aiding Democrats in their pursuit of retaking the U.S. House of Representatives—and while he won’t say if he’s confident Democrats will do so in the 2018 midterms, he says they will pick up seats… “It’s too early to know what’s going to happen in November of 2018, but I can tell you Democrats in the House are on offensive, and there’s no question that we will pick up seats in 2018,” he said according to the paper.