Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. MDT
GOP taps seasoned broadcaster for New Mexico governor race
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republicans have picked a seasoned TV broadcaster to take on New Mexico's incumbent Democratic governor. Mark Ronchetti won the Republican primary for governor on Tuesday in a five-way race to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Ronchetti's campaign has emphasized concerns about crime, security along the U.S. border with Mexico, high rates of unemployment and underperforming schools. The November election for New Mexico governor will be a test of Democratic resolve in an oil-producing region with enduring currents of Catholicism and a strong culture of gun ownership. Albuquerque-based District Attorney Raúl Torrez won the Democratic nomination for attorney general. He'll compete against Republican Jeremy Michael Gay.
Raúl Torrez wins Democratic primary for attorney general
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Raúl Torrez has won the Democratic primary for attorney general in New Mexico to challenge Republican attorney and U.S. Marine veteran Jeremy Michael Gay of Gallup. The Albuquerque-based district attorney defeated State Auditor Brian Colón to vie for the state's top law enforcement post as Attorney General Hector Balderas terms out of office. Torrez has portrayed himself as a seasoned courtroom attorney and prosecutor of crime and corruption. He has pledged to expand the state's capacity and expertise to handle consumer-rights litigation and prevail in a prolonged legal battle with Texas over management of Rio Grande waters amid a decadeslong drought.
'We Build The Wall' trial ends in mistrial; jury deadlocked
NEW YORK (AP) — The trial of a Colorado businessman on charges that he ripped off thousands of donors who contributed to a campaign to build a wall along the southern United States border has ended in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked. The mistrial in the prosecution of Timothy Shea was granted Tuesday by a federal judge in New York after the jury reported it could not reach a verdict on three counts. After two previous notes indicating a deadlock, the judge urged them to try again. Shea was left to stand trial alone after Steve Bannon was pardoned. Bannon was an adviser to Donald Trump, who was president at the time. Two other defendants pleaded guilty.
Damage estimates climb from massive New Mexico wildfire
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's governor says the destruction caused by the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. has been devastating for thousands of residents and their lives have been forever disrupted and altered. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham surveyed damage in Mora County on Tuesday and met with homeowners and local officials. The first-term Democrat is preparing for a visit with President Joe Biden on Saturday. He will be stopping in the state to get a briefing on the fires and recovery efforts. The largest blaze has charred close to 500 square miles over the past two months. Much criticism has been levied against the federal government for the planned burns that caused the fire.
New Mexico man gets 2 life in prison terms for 2009 murders
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man convicted in a 2009 double homicide case has been sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms. Prosecutors say 49-year-old Robert Chavez's sentences will run consecutive with previous sentences, including a 26-year prison term for drug trafficking and life in prison plus 21 years for another murder. Chavez was convicted last month of the 2009 double homicide of Max Griego Jr. and Mary Hudson Gutierrez and sentenced last Thursday. Prosecutors say Chavez was the leader of the "AZ Boys" organization allegedly connected to drug trafficking. Court records show Griego and Hudson Gutierrez were found fatally shot at her Alamogordo home in July 2009 and two men plus a driver were seen fleeing the scene.
'Viewpoint discrimination' case may head to Supreme Court
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A lawsuit claiming that New Mexico county commissioner and Cowboys for Trump cofounder Couy Griffin engaged in "viewpoint" discrimination could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in a test-case for free speech rights on social media platforms. Chaplain and local Democratic Party leader Jeff Swanson lost a federal appeals court ruling in February in a lawsuit claiming he was blocked by Griffin from social media discussions about public county business on Griffin's Facebook page. Swanson says he was silenced in a discriminatory fashion after criticizing Griffin about the upkeep of a courthouse. Swanson's attorney confirmed the petition to the Supreme Court.
2022 midterms: What to watch in primaries in 7 states
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Primary elections in seven states Tuesday will set the stage for U.S. House and Senate battles this fall that will play into control of Congress. Many contests are being shaped by political divisions in both major parties — and the lingering shadow of former President Donald Trump. A string of Republican House incumbents are contending with challenges from the political right. Some challengers are embracing Trump's baseless claims of election fraud in his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden. No incumbent governors or senators appear to be in imminent danger. The primaries are in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.
Water drop on fire crew in New Mexico prompts investigation
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Federal authorities say three firefighters battling the largest blaze burning in the U.S. were injured — one of them seriously — when a helicopter dropped part of a load of water on them. It happened last weekend in northern New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness. One member of the hotshot crew underwent several surgeries at an Albuquerque hospital to repair skull fractures and a broken kneecap. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed Friday that an investigation was ongoing. The blaze was the result of two government planned burns aimed at clearing the forest of overgrown and dead vegetation.