Tagnew mexico

Stories about New Mexico

New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Nakamura to retire in August

New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith Nakamura is retiring on August 1, 2020. Nakamura joined the court in 2015 after being nominated by Gov. Susana Martinez (R). Before that, Nakamura was a judge on the New Mexico Second Judicial District Court and the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court. She also worked in private practice and for the State Land Office. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of New Mexico and her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

In the event of a midterm vacancy, New Mexico Supreme Court justices are chosen by assisted gubernatorial appointment. The governor selects a nominee based on recommendations from the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. Nakamura’s replacement will be Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) third nominee to the five-member supreme court. The new appointee must stand for partisan election in November 2020. Justices wishing to serve additional terms must participate in uncontested retention elections; the justice must receive 57% of the vote to retain his or her seat.

The New Mexico Supreme Court is the state’s court of last resort. It currently includes the following justices:

  • Barbara Vigil – Elected in 2012
  • Michael Vigil – Elected in 2018
  • Judith Nakamura – Appointed by Gov. Martinez (R) in 2015
  • Shannon Bacon – Appointed by Gov. Lujan Grisham (D) in 2019
  • David Thomson – Appointed by Gov. Lujan Grisham in 2019

In 2020, there have been 15 supreme court vacancies in 12 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. The vacancies were caused by retirements. Ten vacancies are in states where a Democratic governor appoints the replacement. Four are in states where a Republican governor appoints the replacement. One vacancy is in a state where the state supreme court votes to appoint the replacement.

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Teresa Leger Fernandez wins Democratic primary in New Mexico’s 3rd District

Teresa Leger Fernandez (D) defeated Valerie Plame (D), state Rep. Joseph Sanchez (D-40), and four other candidates to win the Democratic nomination for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District.

Fernandez received 41.8% of the vote to Plame’s 22.9% and Sanchez’s 12.8% with 70% of precincts reporting. No other candidate received over 10% of the vote.

Fernandez received endorsements from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and groups like the Working Families Party and EMILY’s List.

She will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election. Outgoing Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-03) was first elected in 2008 and never received less than 55% of the vote in any of his re-elections.


Yvette Herrell wins Republican nomination in New Mexico’s 2nd District, sets up rematch with Xochitl Torres Small

Yvette Herrell defeated Claire Chase and Chris Mathys to win the Republican nomination in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. As of 11:05 p.m. Mountain Time, Herrell had received 45.6% of the vote with 83% of precincts reporting. Chase followed with 32.1%, while Mathys had 22.4%. Herrell, who had been the GOP’s 2018 nominee, will again face Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D) in the general election. In 2018, Torres Small defeated Herrell 50.9% to 49.1%.


New Mexico governor to extend stay-at-home order, with exceptions

On April 30, 2020, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced during a press conference that the state’s stay-at-home order was extended through May 15.  Prior to the announcement, the stay-at-home order was in effect through April 30.

Lujan Grisham also announced during the same press conference a few changes to her directives, effective May 1. Starting that day:
  • Nonessential retailers can operate via curbside pickup and delivery service where permitted.
  • State parks can reopen on a modified basis, but camping is still prohibited.
  • Pet services, such as grooming, veterinary care, and boarding, can resume
  • Golf courses can reopen for golf only.  Food and retail services are prohibited
  • Gun stores can reopen for background checks only

Under the order, in-restaurant dining, fitness centers, salons, theaters, and casinos are still closed. The stay-at-home remains in effect through May 15, mass gatherings are still prohibited, and a 14-day quarantine remains in effect for out-of-state travelers.

Ballotpedia is tracking how state government plans to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.