Jennings losing after 34 years, not real surprised

State Senator Tim Jennings
From Capitol Report New Mexico - After 34 years, Tim Jennings is no longer going to be part of New Mexico’s state Senate. “It’s been an awesome, absolutely incredible ride,” the outgoing Democrat and Senate pro tem told Capitol Report New Mexico in a phone interview some 16 hours after he learned that he lost by four percentage points (52-48) to dairy farmer Cliff Pirtle in Senate District 32 in the Roswell area. “I don’t begrude anything.” Well, he does begrudge Gov. Susana Martinez a few things.
“But I think Susana has created a monster,” Jennings said, “exposing hate and destruction around here just like we’re seeing in politics in other states and on the national level that I think is a disservice.”
The Reform New Mexico Now PAC associated with the governor sent negative ads and mailers attacking Jennings, who responded with his own set of blistering ads blasting what it called “outsiders” trying to influence the outcome. Independent groups from both sides jumped into the race that became more intense with eachy passing week.
According to the latest campaign reports from the Secretary of State’s Office, Jennings raised $375,870 – a staggering amount by New Mexico standards — to try to hang on to his seat. Pirtle, the latest records show, raised $64,704.
Late Tuesday night, Pirtle didn’t gloat about his upset. Instead he told Capitol Report New Mexico, “I want to say thank you to Sen. Jennings for 34 years of service and I hope I can earn as much respect with constituents as he earned” and added, “I hope he’s willing to give me some advice and be a mentor for me.”
So, after 34 years of being in the very heart of the vibrant and sometimes raucous Roundhouse scene, will Jennings miss it? “I’ll miss the friendship,” he said. “I was there when it was pure hell in the Senate. It’s not like that anymore. There’s only about 5 or 10 percent of the people there now that you just don’t want to associate with.”
Another phone call was heard in the distance. “I gotta take this call,” Jennings said. “It’s my mom.” Read more

Lincoln County imposes temporary burn ban

From the Ruidoso News - by Jim Kalvelage - Some snowflakes could be in the air Saturday night into Sunday morning. But before that the winds will pick up, which has prompted Lincoln County to impose a temporary ban on open burning. County Manager Nita Taylor said strong winds, combined with ongoing dry conditions, required the prohibition from Thursday through Sunday. The burning ban was expected to be lifted on Monday.

Winds on Thursday in Ruidoso are expected to be in the range of 15 to 20 mph, according to the National Weather Service. By Friday, breezy conditions will come into play. And Friday night into Saturday the situation is expected to become downright windy with blowing dust later in the day.
A strong cold front also will roll in later Saturday, with Sunday morning's temperature falling below freezing. And Veterans Day should see the mercury in the low 40s. Read more

Las Cruces Bulletin purchased by S.C. company

From The Las Cruces Bulletin - The Las Cruces Bulletin, along with the award-winning newspaper’s affiliated specialty publications, has been acquired by a family-owned media company in South Carolina. OPC News, LLC, owned by members of the Osteen family in Sumter, S.C., purchased the weekly newspaper from David and Jacqueline McCollum of Las Cruces. The sale closed Monday, Nov. 5.
OPC News is owned by three members of the Osteen family, brothers Graham, Kyle and Jack Osteen.
In a statement, the brothers said they were attracted to the Bulletin because of the quality of the Las Cruces community and the paper’s strong brand. “Las Cruces is a great community with a large audience that traditionally loves to read newspapers. David and Jaki have put together a superb organization over the years, and we are thankful they selected us to keep their tradition of newspapering alive,” the brothers said in a statement.
Richard Coltharp, general manager of The Las Cruces Bulletin since 2010, has been named publisher of the newspaper. Coltharp has 27 years of experience at six different newspaper organizations, and has worked in southern New Mexico since 1995. He will report to Larry Miller, chief executive officer of Osteen Publishing Co., Inc., and OPC News. Miller works out of his office in South Carolina and will be in the New Mexico market frequently. An Oklahoma native, Miller has 35 years of experience at newspapers throughout the country, and has been associated with Osteen Publishing since 2007. Read more

Swickard: After election back to one world problems

Commentary by Michael Swickard, Ph.D. - It was a defining moment for me. I was standing at a train station in Tokyo when a man approached me and said, “Oh, you’re from America, aren't you… do you know Harvey McClelland?” I thought hard but had to admit I did not know the person. He thanked me and walked away.
Afterwards I wondered what he would have done had I known a Harvey McClelland in America, that is if it was the one Harvey McClelland that this man was talking about to me. But I did not know any Harvey McClellands, and frankly, I still do not know one.
This man on the Tokyo train station might have instructed me to, “Tell him François says hi.” Or maybe he intended to hand me a twenty and tell me that the very next time I saw Harvey to pay it back to him since he, François, was not coming to America any time soon. Or maybe all he wanted to do was to relate the story of Harvey and him back during Second World War.
The more I thought about it the more I was a little put off by the man’s notion that because I was from America I would automatically know someone, unless it was Elvis. I could have said I did not know Elvis, but I had seen him once and I did not do a bad job myself singing, Love me tender.
Harvey McClelland was just an ordinary name and we are a big country. We feel isolated by our bigness in America. You can literally spend days driving across Texas, weeks if your vehicle runs like my old truck I had in college. Our land is so immense that when things happen in other parts of the world many Americans do not feel as if it has any bearing on us here in our country. Many people think that the wars and troubles in far off lands are just something to watch on television while we wait for Wheel of Fortune.
I was thinking of this now that our latest election has just concluded. Now, we can turn our attention to places in our world where dark ages thinking gets innocent people killed. We can rejoin the one world we are a part of and often ignore. America must help by sending teams of educational facilitators to assist them in the task of restarting their educational system.
First, though, we have to heal the wounds from this last election where members of families are not speaking and on the social media, people are not being very social. Harvey, somewhere in America and François, in France, may someday benefit from these people's actions across the globe. That’s assuming these people get an education. Read full column

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NMSU Provost resigns

Wendy Wilkins

Wendy K. Wilkins, provost and executive vice president at New Mexico State University, has submitted her resignation from her current administrative position and announced her intention to retire on Jan. 1, 2013. 
 Wilkins will be departing her administrative position at the end of this week and will be on leave for the remaining weeks of the fall 2012 semester. Wilkins has served as provost of NMSU since July 2010. 
To fill the position on a temporary basis, former longtime NMSU administrator Jay Jordan has agreed to serve as interim provost and executive vice president. 
Discussions regarding a permanent provost and executive vice president will be held after a new NMSU president has been named.


Newsbreak New Mexico 12pm Webcast 11/7/12

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New Mexicans decide on several constitutional amendments

Aside from the national presidential and congressional races and the state legislature , New Mexicans voted on several key issues Tuesday that will change regulation and funding in the state.

 New Mexico voters approved three general obligation bond proposals that provide more than $140 million for senior citizen centers, libraries and colleges and universities around the state.

Officials at the University of New Mexico say the bonds include $19 million for renovations on the main campus and another $5.5 million is set to go to branch campuses in Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos and Valencia County.

Senior centers will share $10.3 million in bonds for improvements, new construction and other equipment. $9.8 million in bonds would go to state agencies for purchasing books, electronic resources and other materials as well as library construction projects.

Meanwhile, New Mexico voters also approved one of the proposed constitutional amendments aimed at revamping the Public Regulation Commission.  The amendment allows the state Legislature to establish minimum qualifications for PRC candidates. Currently, a candidate needs only to be 18, a New Mexico resident for at least one year and have no felony convictions.
On the two other PRC reform amendments the voting was much closer. The measures, which would transfer registration duties of the Corporations Bureau to the Secretary of State’s Office and remove insurance regulation to a new superintendent of insurance, had 51 percent voter approval.

Lastly, state voters approved a constitutional amendment that establishes the Public Defender Department as an independent state agency. The department provides lawyers to represent people charged with crimes who can't afford a private attorney. The amendment calls for forming an independent commission that would appoint the state's chief public defender, who would then oversee the department. Currently, the governor appoints the chief public defender.

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Who will pull the wagon when everybody wants to ride?


ABQ passes minimum wage increase

Albuquerque has passed a one dollar increase in the minimum wage, which will rise to $8.50 in the city.  It will also include cost of living adjustments. 
An Albuquerque Journal poll last week of likely voters showed 62 percent were in support of the raise while 30 percent opposed it.  Eight percent of those polled were still undecided. 
Tuesday night it passed with more than 60% of the vote.  
Even though the measure passed, it could be awhile before workers see the increase, opponents have threatened to sue and there is a chance the republican controlled city council could overrule the vote.


Newsbreak New Mexico 8am Webcast 11/7/12

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NM General Election results

For all of New Mexico's General Election results visit the Secretary of State website


Shake up in New Mexico leadership

Mary Jane Garcia
A top Democrat Senate leader lost his re-election bid Tuesday after being targeted by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in one of the most costly legislative races in this year's general election. 

Roswell farmer Cliff Pirtle defeated Senate President Tim Jennings, a Roswell Democrat, according to unofficial returns. Jennings is the second longest-serving senator. 
Meanwhile, Questions about how Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia handled her campaign finances seemed to have an affect on voters Tuesday as she failed to defeat challenger Lee Cotter in the state Senate District 36 race. 


Steve Pearce and Ben Ray Lujan win re-election bids

Steve Pearce
For the fifth time, Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., has won New Mexico's southernmost seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 Pearce won his District 2 race against Evelyn Madrid Erhard, and will head back to WashingtonPearce has served four non-consecutive terms in Congress. 
Ben Ray Lujan
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., has won a third straight term in Congress. Lujan handily beat challenger Jefferson Byrd for the state's District 3 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
 Lujan was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, filling the seat left by Tom Udall who ran successfully for the U.S. Senate. 


Martin Heinrich wins open U.S Senate seat

Martin Heinrich
Democrat Martin Heinrich won New Mexico's open U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, defeating Republican Heather Wilson with strong support from Hispanic and female voters. 

Heinrich carried the vote-rich Albuquerque area, which is home to a third of the state's electorate, and he picked up solid margins in heavily Democratic and Hispanic areas in northern New Mexico.
 Heinrich's victory ensures Democrats will hang on to the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Bingaman, who is retiring after 30 years.


Exit polls show Obama scored well with younger voters

Highlights of results of exit polls conducted in New Mexico show President Barack Obama scored well among first-time voters and younger voters, and he nearly split votes with Republican challenger Mitt Romney among voters over 30. 
The newly re-elected president had a commanding lead among Hispanic men and women, but white voters favored Romney. Both candidates maintained votes within their political bases. 
The former New Mexico governor drew little support from the state in his third-party bid for the White House. Gary Johnson’s strongest shows were in groups that included people 30 to 44 years old.