I do not want to rip a Band-aid off of a monument that is settled. I will talk to the governor and the congressional representatives and I will talk to the county commissions …and if it is settled and people are happy with it, I find no reason to recommend any changes. – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in response to questions from Senator Tom Udall regarding the two new national monuments in New Mexico.
The Crib Sheet is a collection of stories, events, and ideas that are shaping the conversation in New Mexico and D.C. politics.
- Interior Secretary Zinke is expected to visit the state sometime in the next two weeks. Not surprisingly, all of the Dems representing New Mexico in D.C. are urging the Secretary to keep the monuments intact, while Congressman Pearce (the lone Republican) is asking Zinke “to reduce the land area of the monument on the outskirts of Las Cruces to about one-tenth of its current size.”
- Speaking of Pearce, Republicans across the state anxiously await his decision on whether or not he runs for Governor. State Senator Cliff Pirtle confirmed he is considering a run for CD-2.
- Democrat Garrett VeneKlasen is looking past Ray Powell in the Democratic primary for state Land Commissioner and is out with an attack ad against current Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn that is misleading at best and dishonest at worst.
- As expected New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver will run for reelection next year.
- Outgoing New Mexico Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera has a softball interview with the American Enterprise Institute. Her deputy and new PED chief Christopher Ruszkowski is attempting to pick up where she left off.
- New Mexico State Engineer Tom Blaine “is offering licenses to ranchers that clarify their water rights”, the latest in a fight with the federal government that limited rancher’s access to surface water on national forest land.
- The EPA’s plan to delay Bureau of Land Management rules meant to reduce methane flaring continues to receive support from New Mexico business industry groups while Democratic lawmakers continue to voice their opposition.
- After being accused of overbilling the state by $2.8 million in Medicaid payments by Governor Martinez in 2013, Southwest Counseling Center has settled with the state for $484.87. The dispute forced the mental health services provider out of business.
- Santa Fe bean counters are closely watching oil prices continuing to slide, falling for a fifth week in a row.
- So far five GOP senators have come out against the Senate GOP’s bill to repeal Obamacare, and according to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows the bill also doesn’t have enough support to pass the House. New Mexico’s Democratic senators have wasted no time denouncing the bill.
- DCCC chair Ben Ray Luján had an interview with Chuck Todd and struggled to put a positive spin on a 0-5 record in special congressional elections. Still, Republicans would be wise not to rest on their laurels given that, with the exception of South Carolina, Democrats performed better than they had since 2006 and 2008.
- A fascinating long read from The Washington Post looks at the last few months of the Obama Administration and how it “secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia” for its actions in the 2016 Presidential Election.
- Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered to discuss the death of American college student Otto Warmbier at the hands of North Korea.
[Tech & Strategy]
- A conservative data company, Deep Root Analytics, had political data of more than 198 million Americans “stored on [a] cloud server without the protection of a password and could be accessed by anyone who found the URL.” The server contained data from various conservative sources including GOP Data Trust, which is the Republican Party’s primary voter database.
- Even though Jon Ossoff’s 30 year old campaign manager lost the campaign for Georgia’s 6th District he remains “a man in high demand, with a bright future in a party that desperately needs fresh perspectives.”