Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST

Nov 5, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's Democratic governor is staying out of the political fray as her party decides on a presidential candidate ahead of the 2020 election.Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham declined Tuesday to name a favored presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination. She pledged to "robustly" support the party's eventual nominee.On issues of taxation and health-care finance roiling the presidential primary race, Lujan Grisham says that she supports greater tax parity between the ultra-wealthy and middle class.The first-year governor and former congresswoman says she is more interested in prescription drug reform to lower consumer costs that a comprehensive health care overhaul. She says single-payer, universal health care is worthy of consideration.New Mexico holds its presidential primary on June 2. Hillary Clinton won New Mexico's Democratic primary in 2018.


MEXICO CITY (AP) — The nine women and children killed by cartel gunmen in northern Mexico lived in a farming community known as La Mora, where experts say residents identify as Mormons but consider themselves independent and separate from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The community's roots lie in the church's banning of polygamy in the late 19th century, when families established colonies in remote northern Mexico to continue the practice.Cristina Rosetti is an expert in Mormon fundamentalist groups and said Tuesday that today some La Mora residents still practice polygamy while others do not. Residents believe in the main Mormonism tenants, but there is little organized religious practice.Gunmen killed three women and six children traveling in three vehicles from La Mora on Monday.The victims were U.S. citizens.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Attorneys in New Mexico have argued whether defendants could face first-degree felony murder charges after causing fatal crashes while fleeing authorities.The Albuquerque Journal reports that felony murder is a count used when a person is killed during certain felony crimes.Authorities say the issue Monday was whether aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer is one of the crimes the state can use as a predicate for felony murder.The state Supreme Court held in 2016 that the predicate felony must have a felonious purpose independent of the homicide.District court officials argued avoiding apprehension is not wanting to cause harm.Other officials argue it is the public endangerment in aggravated fleeing that separates it from its misdemeanor charge.It's unclear when the Supreme Court would come to a decision. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Experts in rural economic development are discussing ways to bolster employment and combat poverty in remote areas of New Mexico.Workshops organized by the Western Governors' Association on Tuesday delved into strategies for helping people including disabled residents work remotely from home for far-away businesses.A separate panel is exploring strategies for ensuring access to nutritious food in impoverished communities or people living far from population centers.About one and three children in New Mexico come from homes where parents struggle to find secure employment. The workshops have brought together experts from academia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the energy industry, a homebuilders' association and anti-hunger groups.Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was scheduled to speak at the conference Tuesday.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Republican Party of New Mexico appears set to join Nebraska Republicans and endorse President Donald Trump for re-election.State GOP chairman Steve Pearce told The Associated Press on Monday that an endorsement "would be a mere formality" since everyone on the party's central committee is supporting the president.Pearce says he knew of nobody in New Mexico GOP circles who wasn't supporting Trump. He also didn't know if any of Trump's Republican challengers, like former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh or former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, would even get on the New Mexico ballot.The Nebraska GOP announced in August the party had unanimously endorsed Trump for re-election.Four states have discussed plans to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A George Orwell exhibit in New Mexico is tackling the themes of the novelist's work from "1984" to "Animal Farm.""George Orwell: His Enduring Legacy," which runs to April at the University of New Mexico, features posters and material related to work challenging totalitarianism.The exhibition was sparked after a longtime advocate and employee of the University of New Mexico University Libraries donated his collection of rare Orwell books.Artifacts and posters from the Spanish Civil War are shown to illustrate how the conflict played a role in Orwell's intellectually formation. The exhibit also features artistic portrayals of Napoleon, the authoritarian pig in "Animal Farm."The British-born Orwell was also known for "1984," which has become a best-seller in the U.S. again during the Trump administration.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say a man was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire with officers from the Las Cruces Police Department and the U.S. Marshal's Service who were attempting to arrest him.The Police Department said in a statement that no officers were injured in the incident late Monday and that it is being investigated by the department and a multi-agency task force.Department spokesman Dan Trujillo said the man was sought on a "violent felony arrest warrant" and fired at officers who shot back.No identities were released.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján says his Senate election bid in 2020 has the support of New Mexico's two current senators.In a statement Monday, Luján announced endorsements of his campaign by retiring Sen. Tom Udall and second-term Sen. Martin Heinrich.Leading Democrats are falling in line behind Luján as the only Democratic contender to replace Udall after Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver dropped out of the race last week.Republican contractor Mick Rich and college professor Gavin Clarkson are pursuing the GOP nomination for Senate. They both lost statewide elections in 2018.Luján represents northern New Mexico and currently holds the No. 4 leadership position among House Democrats. A crowded field of candidates are vying for his seat in Congress.