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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. MDT

  • Republican lawsuit alleges problems with absentee balloting

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Republican Party is alleging in a lawsuit that its election poll challengers in New Mexico are unfairly being denied oversight of the initial verification process for absentee ballots. In the suit filed Monday to the state Supreme Court, Republican officials accuse the secretary of state of interfering with independent oversight as county clerks verify signatures and partial social security numbers on the outer envelop of any absentee ballots. State election officials say they are complying with a robust oversight process and criticized the lawsuit as a worrisome tactic. The Supreme Court is asking for a response from election regulators.

  • New Mexico blasted by snow, wind and freezing temperatures

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Blowing snow and slick roads are creating hazardous travel conditions for northern and central New Mexico. The National Weather Service in Albuquerque says travelers should be cautious as road conditions were expected to deteriorate Monday evening and overnight. Forecasters say the storm system is expected to reach peak intensity Tuesday with widespread effects, especially in the high terrain and across eastern New Mexico. The moisture offered a much needed break for many parts of the state that have gone weeks without rain. According to the latest drought map, the entire state is suffering from moderate drought or worse.

  • New Mexico officials issue warning about hospital capacity

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials with three of the largest health care systems in New Mexico say that if COVID-19 continues to spread like it has in recent weeks, hospitals and health care workers in the state will not be able to keep up. They issued the warning Monday, as New Mexico deals with a surge of infections. Despite having some of the most restrictive public health requirements since the start of the pandemic, New Mexico has seen three record-setting days for daily case totals in just over a week. Hospitalizations also have skyrocketed with nearly 290 people being treated around the state. That marks a four-fold increase over the past month.

  • New Mexico legislator flees home after receiving threats

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state senator says fled his home after receiving anonymous telephone message threats following his criticism of demonstration where many did not wear masks outside the state Capitol in Santa Fe. State Sen. Jacob Candelaria said Sunday he fears for his safety after receiving the series of profanity-laced telephone voice messages. He says one caller said, "We're going to get you out one way or another." Candelaria expressed frustration with the response by law enforcement after he was visited by state police. He is an openly gay legislator and attorney and says another message included homophobic slurs. 

  • Navajo Nation: No new COVID-19 deaths for 7th day in a row

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — Navajo Nation health officials are reporting 63 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, but no additional deaths for the seventh consecutive day. The latest figures released Monday bring the total number of cases to nearly 11,362 with the known death toll remaining at 574. Tribal health officials say 121,827 people on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic started. In that same time, nearly 7,500 have recovered. A shelter-in-place order, mask mandate, daily curfews and weekend lockdowns remain in effect on the Navajo Nation.

  • Fear and anxiety spike in virus hot spots across US

About half of U.S. states have seen their highest daily coronavirus infection numbers so far at some point in October, and the country as a whole came very close to back-to-back record daily infection rates on Friday and Saturday. Some Northeastern states hit hard in the spring are seeing numbers bounce back and COVID-19 is surging in Idaho and Utah. A hospital in Twin Falls, Idaho, brought in nurses from Boise, scaled back elective surgery and has stopped admitting pediatric patients. More than 350 doctors, nurses and other health workers in New Mexico signed a letter imploring residents to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and limit large gatherings.

  • Lawyer: Allegations against former police spokesman 'false'

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A lawyer for a now-former Albuquerque police officer denies allegations that his client wrongly collected thousands of dollars of overtime pay while serving as the department's spokesman. Attorney Sam Bregman told the Albuquerque Journal that allegations in a police department news release regarding former Officer Simon Drobik are "absolutely false." The department's statement Friday said an internal investigation concluded that Drobik violated policies on overtime pay and would have been fired if he hadn't retired during the investigation. According to the department, Drobik got paid for work he didn't perform while multiple supervisors looked the other way. 

  • Minority pushes Trump agenda largely unpopular among tribes

WILLIAMS, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation vice president is part of a vocal minority pushing Donald Trump's agenda in areas long considered Democratic territory. Myron Lizer argues that Native American values of hard work, family and ranching align more with the GOP than with Democrats. It's difficult to say how most tribal members vote because the majority do not live on reservations and county lines don't align with tribal voters. Historically, Native Americans have been considered the Democratic Party's constituency. Lizer says he wants to shake up that belief. He and other Native Americans well-known in Republican circles recently helped launch a Native Americans for Trump coalition.