A Commentary on outsider Influence on Alamogordo and Otero County…
The Republican Party of Otero County is hosting a presentation by Freedom Families United founders Casey and Mykel Peterson this week. They recently bounced onto the scene with a video of Dr Kenneth Moore – Republican, the Alamogordo Public School Superintendent. The video went viral days after the announcement of a lawsuit filed by the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts and Lorrie Black against the School Board and against Dr. Moore.
Alamogordo and Otero County over the past year has had a plethora of outside agitators invited in or just showing up to engage the local community into a tizzy of division.
Last year, it was David Clements and the Election denier sideshow that attempted to fleece the county of funds, with nothing proven of actual local election fraud in Otero County.
However, with the citizens of Otero County New Mexico further divided by these outsiders; they profit going from city to city, with their roadshows of chaos, creating a train wreck of damage and a divided community in their wake.
Anti-vaxxers and election fraud advocates quickly embraced Clements, with far-right Colorado podcaster Joe Oltmann creating an online fundraiser for him and calling him “a lightning rod of truth and courage.” The appeal during the peak of antivax drama brought in more than $304,000 in donations, including from donors who say they support his “election integrity” crusade.
Clements says he is not paid for his appearances but asks for donations for travel expenses at the door.
A few weeks ago, yet again, another outside group of agitators appeared and protested in front of Alamogordo Public High School preaching religious bigotry and hate and causing a huge ruckus between what the school system and the city can do to protect the students from their speech of hate and what’s constitutes free speech. After about a week of agitating the community they left.
And now, yet again, from outside the area, we have a video drop and a presentation by another set of outsiders; Casey Peterson and his wife Mykel.
Who are these individuals that just suddenly appeared on the scene locally and why are they suddenly involved in Alamogordo Public School policy debate?
According to an interview with Anthony Lucero on KALHRadio.org they claim to have been involved with exposing Critical Race Theory indoctrination and they attended the New Mexico State Equity Conference where Dr. Moore was speaking and was able to ask him questions.
A question a reader should ponder? There were many superintendents and officials with many school systems attending this event and presenting…
Why was Dr. Moore selected to highlight?
Why not highlight one of the other participants?
Were they guided to Dr. Moore?
Did someone tip them to keep an eye on Dr. Moore?
Given the Petersons live near Albuquerque and incorporated their business in Arizona how did Otero County in Southern New Mexico and the Alamogordo Public Schools jump onto their radar to investigate?
What is their motivation for investigation of APS verses all the various school systems in New Mexico?
Their organization was incorporated in Arizona and is listed in New Mexico as a foreign corporation due to out of state registration.
After leaving Sandia Labs the couple created the Freedom Families United. Its purpose is to work “to unite pro-freedom families and educate them on the forces undermining individual liberty in New Mexico and around the nation,” per statements in previous interviews.
Per their initial filing with the New Mexico Secretary of State, “ Character Of Affairs: We are working on getting our charitable solicitations licenses (or the equivalent) in all 50 states so that we can ask for donations online. Our Website is also being built at this time. Our official launch date is TBD at this time, but anticipating an early August 2022 Launch. We have not received any donations as of this time in NM or any other state. Our board members are all voluntary. We do not have any paid employees at this time.”
Apparently they have modeled their organization after the activist James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, of which it supported as a contributor of videos and financially until a post they posted on Twitter Tuesday…
They have pulled support per the Twitter post above.
It appears they modeled their organization after; Activist James O’Keefe who resigned Monday morning from his position leading Project Veritas, the conservative group he founded, after clashing for weeks with his board.
In a video to Project Veritas employees, O’Keefe promised to start a new, rival organization doing similar undercover activist work.
In a statement posted Monday night responding to O’Keefe’s video, Project Veritas’s board claimed it was legally required to call a board meeting after it discovered O’Keefe committing what it described as “financial malfeasance.”
According to the statement, the board’s list of alleged misspending incurred by the nonprofit at O’Keefe’s direction included a $14,000 charter flight to meet someone who could repair his boat. Other alleged expenses included $150,000 over 18 months on private “black cars”and thousands of dollars on “DJ and other equipment.”
The board also accused O’Keefe of wasting $60,000 on “dance events.” O’Keefe, a former high school musical theater performer, has been accused in the past of spending the nonprofit’s money on his own musical interests. Last year, Project Veritas acknowledged improperly spending more than $20,000 to help O’Keefe star in a performance of the musical Oklahoma!
“Even with all of this public fallout, the Board still wants to speak with James,” the statement read, adding it wanted to “work things out.” “We did not fire him, nor do we want him to resign.”
Back to the Petersons and their mission…
The Petersons claim their first exposure to Critical Race Theory was via Sandia Labs. In 2020, 5 years after Casey Peterson had begun working for Sandia, he discovered in his words “the cancer known as Critical Race Theory was spreading quickly throughout the organization. And this was months before anyone even knew what critical race theory was. My wife and I both immediately went to work; researching and creating a detailed video debunking this racist, sexist ideology and shining a light on what CRT was doing to our national laboratories. Months later, in August of 2020, after every other avenue had been exhausted, we blew the whistle on Sandia National Laboratories by mass emailing that video out to all 16,000 employees and contractors in their email directory. Over the next weeks, the words Critical Race Theory began to enter the political consciousness of the media and most Americans….”
Per their website biography page they claim they “suffered continued repercussions for blowing the whistle on our National Laboratories but somehow avoided being fired until February of 2022. We found ourselves fighting for our freedoms, yet again, when I refused to disclose my vaccination status to my employer, refused forced medical testing and the forced disclosure of medical test results.”
Their mission with their new work via their organization “is to revive communities and strengthen Families Nationwide, restoring the purpose, meaning, and hope of patriots. We are defenders of Life, truth and values, working together to take our Country back, and raising the next generation of lions, not sheep.”
Take Our Country, our state, our County our School System back again…
One can interpret that statement in a variety of ways. Most Americans view themselves as patriotic, and want to live a life of purpose, meaning and hope.
The Tea Party originated the statement in more recent decade of “take our country back,” as their phrase for trying to take the country back from “liberals, freeloaders on welfare, immigrants, minorities, and, President Obama.”
In 2015, Candidate Donald Trump used the phrase and continued to emphasize illegal immigration and border security, telling thousands of supporters that he would keep the United States secure and dominant in the global economy. “Don’t worry, we’ll take our country back,” he said.
Where did the country, our county, our state our school system go?
Who took it there? How do we take it back?
These questions are seldom asked. The slogan itself implies the answers.
But there is a silent understanding among those who insist the country, state, county or schools have to be rescued from an internal threat.
The “outrage industry” profits and is what runs most of this dialog rather from the Clements or the Petersons and many others of their ilk.
The outrage industry couldn’t exist and have come this far, and become this profitable, without help from mainstream politicians, who have been running against Washington, and in Southern New Mexico against, “the Governor” and Santa Fe.
Since Ronald Reagan’s successful 1980 bid for the White House, when he famously announced that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
Verbal attacks on the government came into vogue. For his entire 42 years in the Senate, Orrin Hatch ran against Washington feeding the outrage industry in its infancy.
More and more, Americans have come to see the government in a negative light.
These “outrage industry profiteers” also claim to be fighting the Deep State, identified as the evil control center of an ill-defined power structure within government that props up the Governor in Santa Fe and her power structure and most of Washington D.C. These profiteers thrive on stirring controversy and chaos wherever they can gain an audience.
Once their roadshow leaves Otero County, Alamogordo, and the Alamogordo School System drama; these showboats will move along profit, and create chaos across a number of other local small rural communities, and within certain neighborhoods in the large cities across the nation. They have no vested interest in Alamogordo, Otero County, the Alamogordo Public Schools and they could care less of the havoc they created. They came, stirred the pot and made a few bucks along the way.
After those profiteers and agitators leave it’s then up to the local community leaders, political leaders, and business leaders and concerned citizens to then, have to figure out a way to rebuild fences, reestablish the norms of civil dialog, and bring the community back together again.
Alamogordo has fallen prey to these agitators again and again in recent years.
Isn’t time we work within ourselves, without outside influence and agitators and via collaboration build a community that we can all be proud of?
Inclusive, prosperous, spirited, entrepreneurial and entertaining and United for a common good – that should be the goal of all of us. We don’t need outside Influencers to divide us, we within Otero County need to build bridges to unite us.
New Mexico joined the Union in January 1912. It has participated in 28 presidential elections through 2020, alternating some extended periods of support for Democratic and Republican candidates. Democrats have now won 7 of the last 8 elections, including Joe Biden’s 54% to 44% win over Donald Trump in 2020.
Locally in Alamogordo, Otero County, New Mexico
In Otero County, it appears the Republican stronghold is strong and in place and most races are a given to swing to the Republican candidate with ease.
However, there are three races of interest this mid-term election that could be seen as competitive for a variety of reasons.
The position of magistrate judge in Otero County is typically a snooze as to what to expect of an outcome. However, this midterm election for magistrate Division One and Magistrate Division Two there are interesting dynamics at play.
The position of magistrate is one that does NOT require a law degree, and candidates typically, are individuals well embedded in the local political party system.
The position of magistrate in Otero County has historically been made up of candidates that come from the “political machine” and as such, the position has been riddled with controversy, the last several years with political games alleged locally and via former Governor Martinez…
Most recently Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie agreed to resign the Division I seat April 25, 2022, ending further disciplinary proceedings related to a judicial inquiry by the New Mexico Supreme Court which began in 2021. Guthrie’s resignation became effective April 25, according to New Mexico Supreme Court documents when the court granted a petition for permanent resignation “in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings.“
In September 2021 the Judicial Standards Commission asked the court to open a disciplinary inquiry related to a slew of alleged misconducts by Guthrie. The Commission had conducted its own inquiry into the allegations beginning in January 2021. Among the allegations were improper sentences and incarceration for defendants, improper bail issuance, failure to complete required paperwork, engaging in judicial activities without proper jurisdiction, judicial misconduct and violation of a defendant’s right to due process.
Guthrie was censured prior to that incident in 2019 by the New Mexico Supreme Court for misconduct related to a spat he had with a neighbor.
Otero County Magistrate Judge Scott Newton officially resigned from the bench and withdrew his candidacy for 12th Judicial District judge. Newton said he was tired of the politics being played at the local and state level because of him taking a leave of absence due to a medical issue. Newton said he was not going to have his good name destroyed or put his family through it. “They’re attempting to use this legal absence that I took for a basis that I am unfit to do my job,” he said to the Alamogordo Daily News in 2017 “It’s a total lie. There’s nothing wrong with me. I do have my own personal health issues to deal with, but it’s not an issue in terms of being a judge. It’s just somebody wants to make it an issue. I am not going to stick my neck out there and get it chopped off. It’s just not worth it. Especially with the medical issues that I’ve been dealing with, I don’t have the energy or stamina to fight that fight or put my family through that fight.”
Newton was elected to the Magistrate Court Division I judge’s seat in 2010 after Judge Richard Stokely retired from the bench.
Otero County Magistrate Court Judge Gene C. Galassini hung his robe up in April 2016 also under a cloud of criticism.
Per the Alamogordo Daily News at the time, “Galassini, 59, decided to resign or in his case retire from the bench because of health reason but more importantly to spend time with his three grandchildren. He and his wife, Rocky, also just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary,” at the time of his resignation.
“It’s the stressful nature of the job,” Galassini said. “I’ve got three grand babies plus one on the way. It’s just time to start spending some time with them.”
He was first elected Magistrate Court judge in 2006 then took the bench in January 2007 after 23 years of being an officer with the New Mexico State Police in Las Cruces, Roswell and Alamogordo. Galassini retired as a lieutenant from State Police District 8 in Alamogordo.”
However, records with the State Supreme County show that the resignation may of had more to the story; then stress and health issues.
The New Mexico State Supreme Court granted the State Ethics Commission’s Petition to Accept Stipulation in Light of Permanent Resignation from Judicial Office concerning Otero County Magistrate Judge Gene C. Galassini, Supreme Court Case No. S-1-SC-35791, JSC Inquiry No. 2015-074. “The Supreme Court order made Judge Galassini’s retirement permanent effective 02/29/16, forever barred him from holding judicial office in New Mexico, and unsealed the Supreme Court’s file in the matter.
A link to the Supreme Court File and Mr. Galacini’s resignation letter is below:
Mr. Galassini was hired in 2021 to serve Congressional Representative Yvette Herrell as her law enforcement liaison and has been paid a salary and other compensation since appointment of $34,833.33 as a member of staff.
The 2022 Mid Term Otero County Magistrate Matchup:
Magistrate Judge Division One has turned into a very competitive race with the Reverend Warren Robison competing against John R Seacrest III, both candidates have deep roots in Otero County, both have professional, volunteer and business experience and both have campaigned with professionalism, dignity and mutual respect with no negativity in their race for office.
Reverend Warren Robinson Experience: “Reverend Robinson has 20 years of teaching, counseling and community service in Alamogordo to include 3 years’ experience with Juvenile Justice Board helping youth with reconciliation for criminal offenses, a wide range of local board experience with non-profit service organizations, Chaplain for both Alamogordo City Police and the Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, knowledge of the community business leaders and deeply involved in local history and historical preservation” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters.
John R Secrest III Experience: “What I bring to the courtroom is real life experience and vast knowledge. I am an entrepreneur/small business owner since age 18 with 21 years in Landlord/tenant rights, business contracts, and well versed in DWI/DUI laws. I have also been a plaintiff on several appearances in Mag. Court. To further prepare, I have been mentoring with previous Mag. Judges as well as studying the NM Criminal/Traffic Law manual and NM Constitution. I am a constitutionalist, from the people for the people’s court. I live with unwavering morals, integrity, and honesty. I am UNBIASED and fair.” according to his responses to the League of Womens Voters
The League of Womens Voters asked both candidate what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System? Their response was…
Reverend Warren Robinson: “Once within the system I’ll be thoughtful in listening to staff and reviewing the existing processes, then use my experience interfacing with multiple constituencies to influence process changes to end any backlog.”
John R Secrest III: “It is my understanding that Otero County Magistrate Court does NOT have much of a back log. If there is a back log it is primarily due to covid restrictions impeding the court’s ability to operate per usual and in that instance, I would say more cases will need to be handled telephonically. There is always room for improvement.”
Both candidates demonstrate a passion for community and a sense of ethics that the magistrate’s office needs to rebuild its reputation in Otero County.
Magistrate Division 2
The race is between well-known Alamogordo MainStreet and arts advocate and realtor, Claudia Powell, verses Michal Ryan Suggs, the incumbent who was appointed to the Division II Magistrate Judge’s seat Feb. 20, 2018, by Gov. Susana Martinez after Judge James Scot Newton resigned from the bench.
Claudia Powell’s Experience per her website:” Claudia Powell has been part of this community working tirelessly as a relator since 1986 serving our military with impeccable service since 1986. Mrs. Powell has received the Military Relocation Specialist designation from the National Association of Realtors, Past President Alamogordo MainStreet, Director of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society, Otero County Habitat for Humanity, Past President Otero United Way and Past Director of the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts.“
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “Juris Doctor- Master’s degree in criminal justice from New Mexico State University, a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, 21 years law enforcement experience, 6 years adjunct professor of criminal justice and 4 years incumbent as Otero County Magistrate.”
When asked what they would do about the backlog within the Magistrate System?
Claudia Powell: “My understanding is the backlog that was created during the Covid-19 crises is now cleared. However, if I were on the bench, I would work with the staff, within the legally bound confines, utilizing my years of collaboration and partnership skills to ensure we did all within our means locally to ease any backlog.”
Michal Ryan Suggs Experience per the League of Women’s Voters: “I can proudly say, there is no backlog of court cases in Otero County Magistrate Court. The court continued to operate throughout Covid. All of the Judges in the 12th Judicial District work tirelessly to serve the people. Whatever adjustments were needed to the docket to ensure timely access to justice were and continue to be made. Under my leadership as Presiding Judge, the speedy and fair resolution of cases has been and always will be a priority of the Otero County Magistrate Court. Our rights deserve this level of experience, knowledge, and continued commitment.”
The other race that has proven, interesting, is the race for Otero County Commissioner District Two, formerly occupied by the controversial Couy Griffin. The two candidates to win the primaries are Amy Barela on the Republican side, verses Stephanie Dubois, on the Democratic side. Both candidates won a contested primary.
The race was considered initially an easy win for Amy Barela given the district leans heavily Red and heavily conservative. However, politics, judicial rulings and an appointment by the Governor of Ms. Dubois into the seat of which Couy Griffin was removed by judicial order has created many interesting dynamics into the race.
Political scientist and pollsters watching the district competition believed it an easy win for Ms. Barella. Speculation was that there would be a backlash, due to the judicial removal of Couy Griffin, thus a wave of Republican voters activated and to the polls.
Ms. Barella has easily outraised, outspent and outpaced Ms. Dubois in advertising, door knocking and overall visibility.
Ms. Dubois on the other hand, received an appointment to the vacant position by the Governor with swearing in to occur on 10/28/22.
Ms. Dubois has been much more visible in the recent weeks and attended several events with the Congressional Democratic Candidate and others. Yesterday in Tularosa, a Get Out the Vote event was sponsored by Ms. Dubois, and Independent Candidate Elaine Allen seeking the position for District 56 State Representative was also present.
The campaign within Tularosa has become very competitive with some rumors of foul play, but thus far the campaign has been, overall civil.
Ms. Dubois appointment by the Governor, received a respectful response by Ms. Barella. However, the response to the appointment by the Republican Party and by the Candidate for State Representative District 51, was aggressive in tone, and filled with negatives that did not benefit candidate Barela, who has shown a level of respect and decorum during the race.
Several independents and moderate Republicans questioned, said they were leaning toward Ms. Barela but after the Republican Party response, and that of the candidate for District 51, they “opted for Ms. Dubois.” One cited, “I’ve had enough hate from that office, Couy was an embarrassment and brought nothing but trouble to Otero County, the vigor of hate that was espoused by the Party response made me decide to break the party line and vote for Ms. Dubois,” a respected and well-known Republican that asked that his name not be used said he really likes Amy but “maybe it’s time to shake things up on the commission, and end the rubber stamping of the Steve Pierce mandates, the county budget is a mess, obviously what we have in place is not working.”
Will there be a backlash from the Republican Party response to the appointment of Ms. Dubois, will Ms. Dubois be able to elicit enough moderate Republicans, motivated Democrats and Independents to the polls to carry her over to remain in the district 2 seat? Will the curse of mid-terms and the economy play into the results of the local elections? We will know in about 2 weeks.
The mid-term elections in most states are traditionally, a completely different animal and can lead to all kinds of unexpected results. The mid-term election of 2018 was the year of the woman.
2018, women candidate had broken the records for the number of candidates for governor, U.S. House and U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives elected a record number of women, with at least 90 women expected to make their way to Washington, D.C. in January.
In 2018 Deb Haaland of New Mexico broke the barrier and became one of the first Native American Women elected to congress. Democrat Deb Haaland, the former chairwoman of New Mexico’s Democratic Party, won New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in the 2018 midterms.
Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress alongside Democrat Sharice Davids, who won Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District. Two Native American men — both Republicans — served in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to 2018.
Expectations for this mid-term election…
It’s true that the polls have shifted somewhat toward Republicans in certain key races. On September 15, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gave Democrats a 71 percent chance of holding the Senate, as of midday Wednesday, that number is 61 percent. In other cases, forecasts haven’t changed much: FiveThirtyEight has the GOP’s House takeover chances still above 70 percent. And there have been some contrary indicators, with surprisingly good poll results for Democrats in redder states like Iowa and Oklahoma.
Yet what amounts to a relatively minor poll shift has been greeted with a sense of impending Democratic doom, for reasons mostly unrelated to the polls themselves. The bad economic news, the historical trend of the president’s party performing poorly in midterms, and the tendency of polls to understate Republicans in certain key cycles (especially Senate races) can all be read to suggest that the smart money is on the GOP to do well.
This underlying assumption that Republicans should be the favorites and will end up the favorites means that small poll shifts in the GOP’s favor get interpreted as devastating for Democrats. And that assumption could well be correct — there are good reasons to believe it. Alternatively, it remains possible the polls are basically on target, or that election night results could deliver a surprise in the other direction.
Democrats remain the favorites in the battle for the Senate, according to FiveThirtyEight, but their advantage has shrunk in the past month. When you look under the hood of FiveThirtyEight’s model to see why, it mostly comes down to shifts in four contests:
In Nevada, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) dropped from a 61 percent favorite to a 49 percent slight underdog.
In Pennsylvania, the chances of John Fetterman (D) winning dropped from 83 percent to 68 percent.
Meanwhile, the chances of challengers Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina winning each dropped from about 40 percent to 27 percent.
Other Democratic candidates, like Sens. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA), haven’t seen similar drops in the past month. Kelly is a 78 percent favorite to win, and Warnock is a 57 percent favorite. In Ohio, Tim Ryan remains a 28 percent underdog.
With the Senate split 50-50, the basic math is that so long as Fetterman picks up that GOP seat in Pennsylvania, Democrats can afford to lose one seat of their own. So, they could lose Cortez Masto or Warnock, but not both. And if Fetterman loses (and no other Democrats campaigning for GOP-held seats win), even losing one Democratic incumbent would flip the chamber.
Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania look like the most important states in determining Senate control. But there’s a problem. Only one of those contests — Georgia — has been frequently polled of late. And it’s unclear how useful those polls are, since if neither candidate tops 50 percent of the vote next month, Warnock and Herschel Walker will just head to a runoff in December.
Public polling in the other two key states has been sparse. In Nevada, we’ve gotten only two public polls conducted in October — one showing Cortez Masto up 2, and one showing her trailing by 2 among likely voters. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the two public polls have both shown Fetterman up just 2. One of those polls is from the Trafalgar Group, while another is a joint effort from one Republican firm and one Democratic firm.
Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sweeping four-term presidency, every president has fallen victim to the “midterm curse.”
The “curse” is considered political shorthand at this point—the opposition party to the incumbent leader will wrest control of the House of Representatives or the Senate from the leadership. In fact, the sitting presidential party has lost seats in the House in every single midterm election since FDR’s first term, save for three: FDR himself in 1934, Bill Clinton in 1998 during his second term in office, and George W. Bush in 2002 fresh off a hotly contested victory in the 2000 general election. In each of these instances, the presidents had remarkably high approval ratings—around 70%—often due to historic moments that offered an opportunity for landmark leadership, such as FDR’s New Deal, Clinton’s federal budget surplus, and Bush’s handling of the aftermath of 9/11.
There are a variety of explanations as to why parties often face defeat in the midterms after sweeping the floor in the presidential election. Voter apathy and presidential approval ratings play a large part, but voters are not the only ones who sway the outcome of elections. Midterm elections are susceptible to impacts from the re-drawing of districts and gerrymandering that may occur after a presidential election and can work to disenfranchise a party’s voting block. This is not a phenomenon isolated to the U.S., either: The parties of political leaders across the globe tend to strengthen early in a presidential term before diminishing later.
The President’s party has only gained seats in the House three times since 1934
The incumbent party lost control of either the House or the House and Senate six times since 1934. Only three presidents—FDR, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—gained seats in the House of Representatives for their parties at midterms.
In FDR’s case, this was thanks to his swift decisions steering the country out of the Great Depression, including the New Deal and various economic relief measures. Clinton’s second term in office marked the first Democratic president to gain a second term since FDR. Though his popularity was beginning to falter due to emerging personal scandals—including the Monica Lewinsky situation, which saw Clinton face impeachment for lying to Congress—it hadn’t yet hit the low that would follow. Bush’s midterms were a narrow race to win an easily swayed power balance, marked by gerrymandering and expensive campaigns that ultimately favored the incumbent party.
The Senate has faired similarly
Statewide Senate races are not impacted by redistricting but still often suffer the same outcome for the president’s party. For most of the 20th century, Senate races were often won by the opposite party than the state in question had gone for in the presidential race. In 1986, for instance, the “mismatch rate” of U.S. Senate races was around 59%, meaning over half of states voted into office senators of the opposite party than they had voted for president most recently. This has waned in intensity recently—particularly during Obama’s presidency—but still generally held. However, the 2022 election cycle may mark a departure from this tradition, with only 4% of registered voters claiming they planned to vote for a senator from a different party than they had endorsed for president.
Presidential approval rating is often the clearest predictor of seat changes
Midterm elections tend to be considered referenda on the party in power. As a result, the electability of Congressional members is increasingly tied to the public’s attitude toward the president. Swing seats have consistently gone to the nonincumbent party when public approval of the current president is low, and the inverse when the public believes their administration is doing well.
Since FDR’s presidency, presidents with a low public approval rating have lost an average of 37 congressional seats during midterms. Only two presidents—Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—have had a public approval rating above 60% during midterm elections; consequently, they have been the only two presidents in recent history to avoid the “midterm curse.”
Voters may be motivated more to turnout when their party is not in power
Voters generally turn out in lower numbers for midterms than for presidential elections. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, respectively, only 4 in 10 eligible voters turned up to the polls, whereas 6 in 10 voted in the 2016 general election. However, the drive to overturn the actions of an unfavorable president can be a powerful antidote to voting apathy. A good example of this was the 2018 midterms, in which, according to an analysis by Catalist, “young voters and voters of color, particularly Latinx voters, were a substantially larger share of the electorate than in past midterms.” These voters were majority Democrats, voting in opposition to the Republican incumbent, Donald Trump. That year, midterm surge voting leaped up, and it was “clear that both mobilization and persuasion were critically important in producing this scale of victory for Democrats.”
What does this mean for 2022?
In sum, the 2022 midterms will likely follow the patterns laid out here. All seats in the House of Representatives are up for the taking and a third of those in the Senate. President Joe Biden’s approval rating—40% as of Oct. 20—is on the lower end of historical midterm rates for an incumbent president, suggesting that, if historic precedent holds, Republicans will gain seats on Nov. 8. However, some factors may exert outside influence on the midterm results.
The Democratic Party has been experiencing the same mobilization that spurred a midterm surge during Trump’s presidency, this time regarding issues such as abortion rights and inflation. Voters in Kansas recently turned up in record numbers to vote down measures that would restrict abortion access; elsewhere in the country, local and state legislatures have taken up steps and earmarked funds protecting the right to choose in repudiation of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Couy Griffin, ousted Otero County Commissioner is by far the most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention. He raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced for a period of time. Now they appear to be tiring of the rhetoric and the negative press.
His base however continues to rally around his fight against “Santa Fe” and the “left” as witnessed by his most recent fundraising appeal which has raised $16,541 of a goal of $50,000.
From his pulpit of the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate, from participation in the alleged insurrection, to being an election results denier.
Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His brand has been used by higher profile personalities around the nation who have profited off of his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Yet he is forced to defend himself in the judicial process.
Couy Griffin on Tuesday notified the high court of his intent to appeal. The ruling against Griffin this month from a Santa Fe-based District Court was the first to remove or bar an elected official from office in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol building that disrupted Congress as it was trying to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Griffin was previously convicted in federal court of a misdemeanor for entering the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, without going inside the building. He was sentenced to 14 days and given credit for time served.
Griffin has invoked free speech guarantees in his defense and says his banishment from public office disenfranchises his political constituents in Otero County.
He was barred from office under provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which holds that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution can be barred from office for engaging in insurrection or rebellion. The provisions were put in place shortly after the Civil War.
A flurry of similar lawsuits around the country are seeking to use the provision to punish politicians who took part in Jan. 6.
Griffin says he continues to act as his own legal counsel in the case.
“Honestly I have felt very abandoned by many,” Griffin said.
Conservative activists aligned with Griffin have urged supporters to file disciplinary complaints against the judge who barred Griffin from office.
Other cases of removal have been filed around the US for individuals that supported the events of January 6th, 2022. Mr. Griffin is the only one thus far that had a conviction related directly to activities of that day.
The case may eventually carry forward to the US Supreme Court. Mr. Griffin’s name is nothing new to a case that may eventually come to the Supreme Court as he U.S. Supreme Court was asked to consider, via a writ of certiorari, whether a New Mexico Court of Appeals judge erred when he overturned a decision denying Couy Griffin qualified immunity in a first amendment case.
Griffin, as the Otero County Commissioner for District 2 at the time, in 2019 blocked Jeff Swanson, the Democratic Party of Otero County chairman, from his Facebook page after Swanson posted comments critical of Griffin’s performance as a commissioner.
Swanson sued Griffin and Otero County Records Custodian Sylvia Tillbrook alleging that since Griffin’s Facebook page was a public forum, that Griffin had violated the First Amendment by engaging in viewpoint discrimination. Viewpoint discrimination is when a government or a governmental entity restricts speech on a given subject matter.
The case was filed in the New Mexico 12th Judicial District Court. When the case was removed to federal court, Griffin’s motion to dismiss the case citing qualified immunity was denied.
He appealed the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals where the decision was reversed. The Court of Appeals’ opinion stated the lower court relied on “on out-of-circuit authority” in its decision.
“We reverse. The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed lower courts not to define rights at a high level of generality when considering a qualified immunity defense,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision states.
Swanson petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari which is “issued in order that the court issuing the writ may inspect the proceedings and determine whether there have been any irregularities,” according to Barron’s Law Dictionary.
The question Swanson and his attorney A. Blair Dunn are putting to the U.S. Supreme Court is “Did the 10th Circuit err in reversing the decision of the District Court that Commissioner Couy Griffin was not entitled to qualified immunity after the Circuit recognized that Commissioner Griffin had engaged in viewpoint discrimination to exclude Mr. Swanson from his open to the public Facebook page where he openly discussed the public’s business that he was elected to attend to?”
Per coverage from the Alamogordo News in a story by Nicole Maxwell…
“The criminal case against former Otero County commissioner Couy Griffin, 47, of Tularosa, for allegedly failing to file Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee was scheduled to begin September 19 and was pushed back to December.
In a motion filed by Griffin’s attorney, Jonathan C. Miller, Miller noted a family emergency which would preclude him from being available for the preset date. According to court records, Miller’s mother is terminally ill.
Per 12th Judicial Judge Douglas Driggers, the case is to be reset no sooner than December 2022.
The criminal complaint filed by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on March 18 states that between Jan. 15, 2020 and March 18, 2022, Griffin “willfully and knowingly” violated provisions of the Campaign Reporting Act by disregarding orders to register as a political action committee with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, file finance reports and pay $7,800 in accumulated fines by the March 18, 2022 deadline.
Griffin pleaded not guilty to the charges during an April 1 arraignment. This case will more than likely be go to jury trial in December.”
Thus, the impact of Mr. Griffin’s term of office will continue to be under review in the judiciary at a variety of levels, for quite some time it would appear.
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Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin and Otero County made history today with a ruling in the lawsuit that was filed to remove Commissioner Griffin from office.
According to today’s ruling, Griffin qualifies for removal as per Section 3 of the 14th amendment and participation in a rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States and the peaceful transition of power of the presidency.
Text of the amendment:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
Interpretation is that no person can be a Senator, Representative, Elector or officer of the United States — or United States military officer, or member of a State Legislature, or a Governor, or a judge of any State — if they took an oath to support the Constitution and then took part in a rebellion against the United States or gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But Congress can change this with two thirds vote.
A History Lesson of how Republicans enacted the 14th Amendment Section 3:
This is a section of the constitution that dealt directly with the aftermath of the Civil War, section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits those who had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [United States] or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from serving in the government. It was designed to keep the governments free of those who had broken the country apart. However, its effect wound up being relatively minor, that is until this trial.
Due to the obscure cases around the use of this amendment this may make an interesting case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court as a precedent setting case. Even more interesting is the precedent this case could indeed set for future generation. The application of this portion or amendment to the constitution has not been reference or used in a case in more than 150 years.
“If this ruling stands up on appeal, it sets a significant precedent for the next election cycle,” said Gerard Magliocca, a constitutional scholar at Indiana University who has studied Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. “After all, if Couy Griffin is disqualified from holding office for his role in Jan. 6, then shouldn’t Donald Trump be disqualified for his even greater role in Jan. 6th?” Of course the difference is Couy had a conviction tied for his acts while on the “Capitol Grounds” while his conviction was a misdemeanor it was a conviction no less around the issues of rebellion or insurrection.
Magliocca said the issue could arise in a number of ways moving forward and is ripe for the Supreme Court to litigate before Trump might run for and potentially win the presidency in 2024.
Section 3 of the 14th amendment has been called “the most forgotten provision of the forgotten Fourteenth Amendment.” Congress last used Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1919 to refuse to seat a socialist Congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during the First World War, irrespective of the Amnesty Act.
Interesting fact is the amendment was drafted by Republican members of the Thirty-Ninth Congress.
Republicans when setting out the conditions for restoring former confederate states to the Union demanded, in rough order of priority, a constitutional change in the basis of apportionment (Section 2), constitutional provisions respecting the state and federal debt (Section 4), constitutional or statutory provisions limiting confederate participation in politics (Section 3), constitutional or statutory provisions protecting the rights of former slaves and white Unionists (Section 1), and a constitutional ban on secession that did not become part of the final Fourteenth Amendment.
Couy Griffin was indeed removed from office today. He claimed in a radio interview with Anthony Lucero on KALH this afternoon that he received a call from the Otero Couty Manager telling him he was “officially removed from office, that his office security code had been changed, his computer access stopped and that his no longer was a serving commissioner.”
Mr. Griffin apparently was pretty upset with Sherrif Black according to statements he made to KALH saying, “Probably the thing that gives me the most heartburn is that Sherrif David Black said yes totally enforce everything and that he stands behind this order…”
Griffin continued, “it’s a shame, it’s totally just a shame they can do this through the civil courts and a liberal judge in Santa Fe can take away the will of the people of Otero County and now the Governor is going to hand select whoever is going to replace me, for the next 3 and a half months, and Pamela told me on the phone, when I said what about this next commission meeting? She said we will do it with 2 commissioners… “
Couy still believes that the judge is outside of his jurisdiction.
Joshua Beasley the chairman of the Republican Party of Otero County, never contacted AlamogordoTownNews.com back with a statement but gave one to Anthony Lucero in which he said, “ I was hoping for otherwise, you know, January 6th was far from insurrection, there was bad behavior for sure on both sides but it was far from an insurrection but when the courts are overrun with people who are working against the will of the people it is not surprising.”
Amy Barela, the frontrunner in the campaign to replace Couy Griffin in the election planned for November of this year responded, “I don’t know what to say, my heart is broken for Couy.”
KALH also reached out to the Democratic Candidate to replace Couy Stephanie Dubois, her response was, “It is always a sad thing regardless of if we agreed with him or disagreed with him, it’s a sad thing to see an elected official to have to leave not under his own steam.”
The Oter County Democratic Chairman, Jeff Swansons response was, “those who intimidate voters, engage in in insurrections and conspiracy behaviors will be held accountable.”
There are 3.5 months left in the term of Couy Griffin and at present District 2 is now unrepresented and without a commissioner. State law says that the Governor could pick a person to fill the position. If that were to occur that would be the first time that has occurred since the days of a territorial governor based on the research, we have found to date.
Given its a Democratic Governor one would think the odds-on favorite would be Ms. Dubois to complete Mr. Griffins term.
However, the Governor has taken a hands-off approach to Otero County when it comes to other vacancies. There is a vacancy for magistrate in Otero County that could have been temporarily filled by the governor.
A recommendation letter was sent to the Governor to fill that role with Reverend Warren L Robinson, until the November election by appointment, however the Governor has eft the position vacant to date. Will she continue that path with a hands-off approach to Otero County or will she act?
Couy Griffin is likely to appeal this court ruling. He entered this case with no representation and attempted to defend himself. Given the ruling and the precedent it could set on the national stage, odds are, representation will step up, as this case could end up eventually going before the US Supreme Court do it its very unique nature.
How odd that a case in New Mexico of a former Rodeo Cowboy Actor, Couy Griffin, would gain such notoriety and possibly be precedent setting. Politics locally gives new meaning to the slogans “Exclusively Alamogordo” or “Exclusively Otero County.”
Petition for a Referendum to vote for or against a resolution declaring Alamogordo, NM a sanctuary for the unborn.
On August 2, 2022 the Alamogordo City Commissioners voted to pass resolution 2022-38 that declared Alamogordo a sanctuary city for the unborn. The majority of the people at the special meeting called by the Alamogordo City Commissioners objected to the passage of this resolution. Regardless of the majority objection the City Commissioners passed it.
Karl Melton the City Commissioner that proposed the resolution is quoted to saying:
“Last night, most of my fellow commissioners joined me in supporting Resolution 2022-38,” Melton said. “The five of us affirmed life from conception to natural death and made Alamogordo a sanctuary city for the unborn. Alamogordo now stands in unity with Otero County, which passed a similar resolution of its own.
“While there is more work to be done, I am proud of our efforts that made it clear Alamogordo does not want or need any abortion facilities here.”
Several groups in Alamogordo, NM are now collaborating to get a refendum on the ballot for the Citizens of Alamogordo to vote for or against this resolution and let the voices of the people dictate policies and resolutions and not allow elected officials to dictate to the citizenry their personal goals.
On August 26, 2022 the push to gather signatures began. As of this writing they have 270 of the required 500 signatures required. They will be gathering signatures starting at 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM from August 28, 2022 thru September 1, 2022.
Richard Welch is the source of this story and may be contacted at 720-278-1525 or by email email@example.com
To a packed County Commission Chamber the Otero County Commission tackled the issue of abortion with a non-binding resolution with much public dialog and a packed commission meeting. Couy Griffin sponsored the resolution and dialog after a constituent brought it to him for discussion. The County Attorney on multiple occasions reinstated that the resolution has “no enforcement mechanism” and that it is just a “statement of opinion.”
Couy Griffin specifically said that “abortions should not happen in any place except a hospital but not in clinics.” Debate shifted often with public comment. Couy welcomed other counties to declare themselves a “Sanctuary County for Life.”
The commission unanimously passed the resolution declaring the community a Sanctuary County for Life. Throughout the debate Commissioner Mattingley commented that he ensured that there were medical provisions made into the resolution to balance the resolution out of respect for health professionals and if a woman’s life was at risk.
The commission meeting can be viewed at:
Abortion clinics are primarily located in the northern counties of the state. A large abortion provider from out of state, has announced their planned relocation to Las Cruces. There has been dialog of an additional relocation of another abortion provider from out of state to Southern, New Mexico to serve those from Texas and surrounding states with more conservative state abortion laws.
This is an evolving story within the state of New Mexico and how local governments will respond to the recent supreme court ruling pushing the decisions back to the state governments.
This idea of a Sanctuary County was not an original though of Commissioner Griffin nor the Otero County Commission the movement dates back to 2019…
On August 19, 2019, the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners in Yadkinville, North Carolina, passed a resolution to become the nation’s first sanctuary county to protect pre-born children from abortion. The resolution was the first step in a larger, three-pronged strategy put forth by the Personhood Alliance that is calling the pro-life movement back its roots and replicating the approach of early Christians in shifting the culture.
“The passage of this pro-life resolution is a historic event,” says Pastor Keith Pavlansky, president of Personhood North Carolina, who leads the Sanctuary for Life effort in the state. He and several other pastors and community leaders came together to build the momentum that led to the passage of Yadkin County’s resolution. “We have returned to constitutional law,” says Pavlansky. “We have rejected the ideologies of politicians and judges who permit the killing of pre-born and newly born children, and we look forward to drawing together as a community and helping expectant mothers and fathers as we work to create and defend a culture of life.”
To learn more about the origin of this initiative and the groundwork in working with counties such as Otero County in laying groundwork for further dialog visit:
The county commission has NO authority over the legislation of abortion within the state of New Mexico laws. However, it opted to debate a resolution today that reads…
A Resolution Declaring Otero County as a Sanctuary for Life
WHEREAS, the BOCC of Otero County stands in agreement with the Supreme
Court of the United States’ recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and appreciate the
Court’s decision to provide respect to state and local governments by allowing them to
decide if the lives of our unborn will be protected. The functioning of the American
Republic is truly respected and restored by the Court’s decision; and
WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence affirms that all men are created
equal and have been endowed by the Creator with unalienable rights, chief among them
the right to life, and that the protection of these rights is an affirmative duty of federal,
state, and local governments; and
WHEREAS, the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution provide for the protection of all human life and liberty; and
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of the United States in Poelker v. Doe, 432 U.S.
519 (1977), concluded that the Constitution does not forbid a state or county or city,
pursuant to democratic processes, from expressing a preference for normal childbirth
instead of abortion; and
WHEREAS, state police power derives from the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gives states the power not delegated to the United States; and
WHEREAS, the power to establish and enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public is a core function of the state’s Tenth Amendment police power, which includes the local government; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, consider life to begin at conception. This is proven by the multiplication of cells which is proven evidence that life is forming and a living human being is beginning to develop; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, desires to express its deep concern that all human life, beginning from life inside the womb, through every stage of development, up and until a natural death, in Otero County should be afforded protection by their government, including local government, from acts of cruelty, and should be treated humanely and with dignity; and
WHEREAS, there are instances where medical intervention is necessary and difficult decisions are required. The Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, believe the following: 1) emergency medical interventions performed to protect the life of the mother and/or unborn are decisions only to be made and decided on by the doctor and mother without government intervention. Otero County takes a neutral position out of respect for those involved, and 2) instances of rape/incest are criminal matters and those decisions are to be decided on by doctor/victim without government intervention. In such cases a full criminal investigation shall be conducted by the Otero County Sheriffs Dept. Otero County takes a neutral position out of respect for those involved; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, stands firmly against the presence in the County of Planned Parenthood clinics or any other clinics where abortion is practiced at will and on demand. Any procedures that need to be performed in regards to protecting the health of a mother will take place in a local hospital under the care of a physician; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, stands firmly against any medications which cause a miscarriage. We do so, not only to protect the developing child but also to protect the mother of any adverse reactions that these drugs may cause; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, condemns voluntary abortion practices used for any reason and believe that the intentional killing of an innocent human life is never acceptable.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF OTERO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO AS FOLLOWS:
1. That the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, hereby recognizes and declares the full humanity of the preborn child through all states of life up and until a natural death and declares Otero County, New Mexico, to be a sanctuary for life where the dignity of every human being will be defended and promoted from life inside the womb through all stages of development in life up and until a natural death.
2. That the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, hereby resolves to enforce this resolution by all means within its power and authority, in accordance with its responsibility as the people’s elected local representatives
3. That the Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico, hereby stand on this resolution to not only protect life, but also to honor God, who gives life. We believe that life is God ordained and God is the author and finisher of every life. No matter if at the beginning or at the end. We stand in full agreement that, as a body of commissioners, we will protect and sustain life at every stage. As we ask God to bless America, we first have to honor and respect God.
By protecting life and passing this resolution we feel that we do both. PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 14th day of July, 2022.
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF OTERO COUNTY, NEW MEXICO
Vickie Marquardt, Chairman
Chairman Gerald R. Matherly, Vice-chairman
Couy D. Griffin, Commissioner
The resolution has no authority tied to it except as a statement of opinion, but many legal scholars debate if these resolutions of opinion are the foundation for groundwork to further erode abortion protections at the local levels of government. Time and certainly more lawsuits in the future will define that opinion. New Mexico state law protects a woman’s right to an abortion.
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The Otero County Commission met in special session for 31 minutes Friday morning July 1st to discuss a motion presented by Couy Griffin for the county to pay his legal expenses in a lawsuit filed against him for his removal from office.
The decision was made after 30 minutes of Mr. Griffin pleading his case and comments from the public. Some public comments were a bit aggressive as was Mr. Griffin in defense of his action.
After 13 minutes of dialog, the motion to vote was attempted to be called for by the commission chairwoman Vickie Marquardt at the special meeting July 1. She then allowed Mr. Griffin to continue to defend himself in dialog and allowed a few public comments.
Mrs. Vickie Marquardt then made the formal motion for a vote after 30 minutes of dialog and seconded by Commissioner Matherly. The meeting adjourned after 31 minutes.
The proposal to fund Mr. Griffin defense failed based on concerns of violating New Mexico’s and the County’s own anti-donation clause. The New Mexico Anti-Donation Clause states that “neither the state nor any county, school district or municipality… shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation.”
A quo warranto lawsuit was filed by Marco White, Mark Mitchell and Leslie Lakind naming Griffin’s participation in the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C. as grounds for his removal from office.
A record of the motions of the lawsuit is found at
On Jan. 17, 2021, Griffin was arrested on a federal trespassing charge for entering and remaining in a restricted building. He was found guilty and was sentenced June 17 to 14 days’ time served, $500 restitution, a $3,000 fine, community service and one year of supervised release.
In a statement to fellow Commissioners, he denied any connection to the riot.
“This lawsuit is to remove me from my capacity as county commissioner and prevent me from running for county commissioner, too on the basis that I was part of an insurrection in Washington, D.C. in which I haven’t been charged or convicted of anything of the sort,” Griffin said.
Commission Couy Griffin said he called the meeting after Otero County Attorney R.B. Nichols declined to give Griffin a public statement as to why Otero County could not provide Griffin with legal representation in the matter.
Nichols said that “only the Otero County Commission can issue official County statements.”
“I can provide advice to the Commission on how they should do something, but an official County position comes from the county commission,” Nichols said.
Both the law firm of Mynatt Martínez Springer and the New Mexico Association on Counties advised against Otero County providing legal representation to Griffin, Nichols said.
Griffin’s legal issues are mounting as he is also in an ongoing legal battle over orders to register Cowboys for Trump, an organization he founded, as a political action committee.
A jury trial in the criminal case against Griffin for his alleged failure to register Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee is scheduled to begin Sept. 19. In July 2020 an arbitrator chosen by Cowboys for Trump agreed with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver that Cowboys for Trump fell under the jurisdiction of the Campaign Reporting Act and should be registered as such. Griffin and the organization were ordered to file delinquent expenditure and contribution reports beginning in 2019 and to pay $7,800 in accrued fines.
Couy Griffin as a part of his statements today mentioned, “he too was disappointed in President Trump that he was not getting support from the president but would rather have support from the county.” He claimed he had been, “fed to the wolves, referred to several members of the public as tyrannical Marxist and condemned mass media for failure of support.” He said, “he respects the decisions of the County Commission and the courts and believes God is on his side.”
The commission adjourned without funding his lawsuit.
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As thousands of travelers trapse the byways to come enjoy the beauty of Otero County and Alamogordo this weekend, and the spectacle of the Thunderbirds and other awesome displays of military pride at Holloman Airforce Base’s Air Show, the murmurs of spectacle also are running amuck around Couy Griffin and a planned Monday May 9th “Special Meeting” of the Otero County Commission.
In a news article released by The Paper, Tierna Unruh-Enos is the publisher at The Paper.
In an article Published May 5th, 2022, at 2:27 pm it suggests that “EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county and finds NO Election Fraud.”
“The “audit” of the 2020 general election in Otero County is facing a setback. According to the Otero County Attorney RB Nichols, the software company EchoMail has canceled the contract with the county. EchoMail was given the contract by Otero County at the urging of a volunteer group of citizens called the New Mexico Audit Force. The group is led by former NMSU professor David Clements and his wife Erin Clements.
EchoMail received its first payment of $24,875 from Otero County in February per the terms of the contract. On March 17, the House Congressional Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Otero County audit and the EchoMail contract. That same day, EchoMail demanded that the balance of the contract be paid in full after turning in a 13-page document of charts and graphs with no actual analysis. The County disputed the claim, saying that they didn’t receive the services they paid for. On April 15, EchoMail returned $15,125 to the county and canceled the remainder of the contract.
Legal documents show that EchoMail contended that it had completed its contract and found no election fraud as a result of its services.
County Commissioner Couy Griffin has scheduled a special commission meeting on Monday, May 9 to discuss the audit — and to propose getting rid of voting machines in the county.”
Since the cancellation of the contract, New Mexico Audit Force has been left to its own devices to complete the audit and analysis on its own. They are not contracted by the county, nor are they a registered business in the state of New Mexico.
Couy Griffin has already gone on the defensive with a tweet to discredit the story and promising a spectacle at Monday’s Commission meeting.
In the meantime, the commission needs to tread lightly to prevent the county from having to expend taxpayer funds to defend its actions in hearings before the courts and or before Congress.
As the Santa Fe New Mexican has reported, “Complaints of harassment and intimidation by volunteers going door to door in Otero County as part of a group that says it’s auditing the county’s 2020 presidential election results prompted Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Attorney General Hector Balderas to issue a voter risk advisory”
Otero County is under investigation after spending $50,000 on election audit by various legal entities and may have to defend its actions in court or via fines.
In the US Congress the House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into a partisan ballot review in Otero County, New Mexico, where an “audit force” is going door to door and questioning voters.
“The Committee is investigating whether the company’s audit and canvass in New Mexico illegally interferes with Americans’ right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, N.Y., and Jamie Raskin, Md., the chairman of the subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties, wrote in a letter addressed to V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the founder of EchoMail.
According to an article released today by Daily Beast; “The audit came under state and federal scrutiny after EchoMail’s CEO and allies were found to have promoted wild election conspiracy theories. But after a financial dispute with the county, EchoMail packed its bags up early.
“EchoMail fulfilled their obligations under the Contract and found No Election Fraud as a result of their services,” EchoMail’s attorney told The Daily Beast via email.”
All the rhetoric aside; the facts are that a Settlement Agreement has been executed between the County of Otero, New Mexico and EchoMail signed by the CEO of EchoMail and the County Chairperson of Otero County.
A Settlement Agreement has been executed by EchoMail and Otero County ending the relationship and with a demand for a refund for failing to deliver services agreed upon.
A copy of the signed and executed settlement agreement is contained below…
Let’s hope Monday’s Special Commission Meeting does not become the national news spectacle that it potentially could.
Let’s hope rhetoric is kept at bay and the real spectacle reported is the results of a successful Air Show this weekend with 1000’s of happy shoppers spending many dollars in Otero County and contributing positively to growth and prosperity of this beautiful community.
Let’s put our best foot forward daily, for a county that works together for mutual prosperity, and happiness, where positivity prevails, so too comes integrity in governance and in its people.
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As Otero County voters are aware Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin has prevailed against efforts to recall him from office as a county commissioner in southern New Mexico.
Recall committee spokesman Scott Fredrick confirmed the end of September that a petition drive collected 1,229 signatures from registered voters and that it wasn’t enough to trigger a recall election by state law.
Amid the recall effort having survived, Griffin has been burnishing his image as a God-fearing “peaceful patriot” who stands in solidarity with about 70 jailed defendants and 100’s of indicted defendants linked to the Capitol siege.
Under the direction and guidance of former president Trumps former lawyer Sidney Powell, and funded by a fundraising campaign that shows a fundraising total to date of $41,567 created by the controversial alleged Proud Boys affiliate Ben Bergquam; Couy Griffin has been traveling around the country.
On his tour he is lecturing on his vision of America and continuing the message of a stolen election. Recently on tour in Dillon Montana, Couy Griffin mined his preaching background when he proclaimed to the pro-Trump crowd that he believes the former president is anointed by God.
Griffin founded Cowboys for Trump and faces misdemeanor charges for his alleged presence in a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol building during the riot of Jan. 6 in Washington D.C.
A former pastor, Griffin acknowledged that Trump is a flawed man. But he reminded the crowd that King David of the Old Testament was a sinner. Those sins included adultery and soliciting murder, according to the Bible.
About 90 people in the Frontier Event Center heard the onetime preacher emphasize that God is sovereign.
“If God wanted Donald J. Trump to be in that office right now you can bet your boots he would be,” he said. However in a confusing contradiction to the belief that if God had wanted Trump in office he would be there then Griffin went on to say that, “I believe with all my heart that the election was stolen.” (If God wanted Trump in office how could it be stolen? This writer has yet to comprehend how one can trump God’s will so to say, but we digress.)
“[Trump] was fighting the good fight for those of us who have been left behind by the government,” Griffin said, noting that he has met Trump and had conversations with him. “I know his heart. His heart is for the people.”
Specific to the insurrection Griffin has said he believes the federal government has been reluctant to move forward with trials of defendants charged with alleged crimes tied to the Jan. 6 riot. He said authorities are pushing instead for guilty pleas or plea bargains. Griffin himself was offered a sealed plea bargain agreement but as of yet there is no word of an agreement between Griffin and the Feds on agreement to the plea bargain that was proposed.
Griffin has said he believes trials would compel the government to disclose to defense lawyers video evidence that would be both exculpatory and revelatory.
While in Montana he was accompanied by two other Montana residents facing conviction from the capital related activities. One, Henry “Hank” Muntzer told the Montana Standard that, “Trump will be back before the end of the year after the fraud is exposed.”
That myth continues to be perpetuated on obscure websites sites and via QANON with constant date changes, when this alleged reset of the US government with Trump reasserting his rightful role in the White House will take place.
Couy Griffin continued his conservative tour this weekend with a trip to Las Vegas to a QANON conference however his speech concerning President Trump was not as rosy and upbeat in support of the former president as his speech in Montana a few weeks prior.
At the conference this weekend, C owboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin, who continues facing charges in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot, turned his rhetoric on the former president in a conference speech for abandoning January 6 rioters and failing to deliver on a campaign promise.
“We supported President Trump because of his fight for justice as well. And for four years we cried, ‘Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.’ We know she’s a criminal. What did the president tell us? ‘If I was in charge of the law, you’d be in jail,'” Griffin said Sunday at a QAnon conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Mr. President, you’ve been in charge of the law for four years,” he added. “At the end of your four year time, the only ones locked up were men like me, and others like me, that have stood by the president the strongest.”
The AlamogordoTownNews.com reached out to Couy Griffin via text to his private number for a comment for this article or context of the statements but as of publication time of this article has had no comment or response. If we get a response or comment we will amend the article with comments from Mr. Griffin or context to his statement.
In the ongoing saga of the capitol riots to date 670 individuals have now been charged by the Department of Justice with crimes against the United States of America.
A detailed movie produced by the BBC is being released for television called; Four Hours at the Capitol: a meticulous, chronological account of how 6 January unfolded, executive produced by Dan Reed and directed by Jamie Roberts. If the violence that day seemed sudden and explosive even to those of us following it from afar, the film shows the agonizing push-and-pull between protesters and police on the threshold, the tension building and finally boiling over.
The abundance of material of nearly every minute allowed them to stitch together the sequence of events, while witnesses tell the story. There’s the Capitol police caught on the back foot, the Washington DC police brought in to do battle, the politicians and staff readying themselves for fight or flight and the reporters struggling to keep pace.
The most striking testimony is from the protestors themselves: a broad church ranging from rubberneckers to those clearly intent on doing harm. Many belong to the Proud Boys, the far-right group (now synonymous with alt-right extremism) which led the attack on the Capitol. Some subscribe to conspiracies associated with QAnon.
It can be unsettling to hear some of the participants describe that day in their own words, and to see the pleasure some evidently derive from them.
In the film, often the footage speaks for itself, such as when our Otero County Commissioner and Cowboys for Trump founder; Couy Griffin describes “thousands of peaceful patriots standing around” while the viewer is shown a bloody, baying mob – and Griffin is actually seen on video stirring them up further. “It was very violent: this was an out-and-out physical attack on the Capitol and the people defending it,” says movie producer Reed. “We don’t hold back on that, and that’s got to tell you a lot … The fact that members of the Proud Boys are allowed to speak is entirely as it should be, because that’s how we’re going to understand.”
America teetered on the brink of martial law, Reed says. When an officer is dragged into the mob, “you can see that there are different impulses within the crowd: one is to smash his face in and kill him – and the other is to save him.”
Had the House of Commons been in comparable jeopardy, he says, “ there would have been massive bloodshed – with that level of threat, I think police would have definitely opened fire. It’s just astonishing that the Capitol police didn’t.”
Instead, as an officer says in the film– and as the footage shows to be miraculous – huge loss of life was averted on both sides. The squall passes when, after four hours, Trump finally tells his adoring, warring supporters to go home.
There’s a certain amount of despair in America that you can see in the high suicide rate among the post-industrial white working class, in the rates of opiate addiction and family breakdowns. There’s a large constituency of people who feel that they are not at the center of the American story any more.
Membership to right-wing militia groups was recently found to have surged since 6 January. That unprecedented violence, was spearheaded by just few dozen determined individuals – and then that opened the way to events that changed the world in ways we have yet to understand and may not even know or realize for decades.
Four Hours at the Capitol can be seen on HBO. A trailer of the movie can be seen via the link below..
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As we reported on June 28th, 2021 the New Mexico Supreme Court cleared the way to allow the political action committee that is leading the effort to recall Commissioner Couy Griffin could go forward.
In follow-up, about two weeks since the ruling, the committee has begun circulating a petition and gathering signatures within his district to recall Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin from public office as a commissioner in Otero County.
The non-partisan Committee to Recall Couy Griffin consists of an equal number of representatives of both parties with a charter to collaborate for the removal of Griffin for the greater good of the overall county. Partisan politics has been put aside to work together for what the group deems is the common good of Otero County, the district, and Southern New Mexico.
The group is not focused on his removal due to rhetoric and outlandish statements, which are in themselves unappealing and lack dignity. Though the statements are unappealing and show a level of ignorance that does not shine well upon the county for business recruitment, they are not the basis of the recall.
The committee and the Supreme Court ruling affirmed that the focus of the recall effort of Griffin was for using his elected county position for personal gain and a variety of other charges.
The committee assert in their brief before the New Mexico Supreme Court that, Griffin used his office space to solicit contributions to Cowboys for Trump that covered his personal expenses. They also are criticizing Griffin’s pursuit of travel reimbursements from taxpayers for a cross-country trip that culminated in a visit with Trump at the White House. Additional causes for recall argued were Griffin’s attendance of Otero County Commission meetings by phone rather than in person, his banishment from the Mescalero Apache Reservation along with alleged use of Otero County Commissioner offices for personal business.
Griffin has called those allegations” frivolous, baseless and politically motivated” per his many public rebuttals. Griffin says that the Cowboys for Trump is a for-profit endeavor and as such that is not subject to financial disclosure requirements for political organizations. The state of New Mexico ruled against this assertion affirming that Secretary of State may go after him and the organization for failure to comply with New Mexico political reporting laws.
Since the positive ruling signature gathering has moved forward to get the question of recall on the ballot. AlamogordoTownNews.com reached out to the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin to get their assessment of how the effort is going. We presented committee spokesperson Scott Fredrick with questions for an update…
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you have any updates on the recall effort?
Scott Fredrickson – “We had good traffic this weekend at the La Luz and Tularosa locations. Only 2 people came to the locations that did not support our efforts, but they were nice and with discussed our case with them.
AlamogordoTownNews.com – When and where are the next signature drives?
Scott Fredrickson – We have a meeting Monday night to discuss the next weeks efforts. The committee will be at Veterans Park in Tularosa again next Sunday, July 18th from 1 to 4 at a minimum.
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Do you anticipate meeting the deadline to get the question on the November general election ballot?
Scott Fredrickson – “We have been told that we need to have the signatures to the clerk by August 5th to have them validated in time for the recall to be in the November general election. We are going to do all we can to prevent having a special election at an additional cost to the taxpayers.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – What is the deadline to qualify for a special election of the August deadline is missed?
Scott Fredrickson – “We have 90 days from July 1st (September 28th) petition initiation date to get them to the clerk.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Has Couy Griffin been in touch with your group in the last week?
Scott Fredrickson – “We have not had any contact with Couy other than one of our committee members briefly spoke with him during a break at the county commission meeting last week.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – Has the group encountered any recent hostility?
Scott Fredrickson – “No.”
AlamogordoTownNews.com – You are now the acting spokesperson for the Committee to Recall Couy Griffin, for what reasons are you involved in this effort and what is your community and political background?
Scott Fredrickson – “I am involved in the effort because I voted for Couy and do not like how he has represented me as a commissioner. I feel he spent too much time in his Cowboys for Trump role to effectively tend to the needs of Otero County. I live in District 2 and I am active in local politics because I want what is best for the local area. I am a registered Republican and ran for the city commission in the last Alamogordo District 2 election. I retired from the US Air Force 5 years ago and stayed here because we like the area and I work for Holloman.
Mr. Fredrickson concluded,“Our committee has 5 Republicans and 5 Democrats, and we are a non-partisan organization. Our goal is to get a commissioner who will work for Otero County and not bring negative press to the local area.”
The recall initiative is moving forward. The committee is in the parks and around County Commission District 2 gathering signatures. Couy Griffin is at present attending Commission meetings but is also embroiled in multiple lawsuits that are a distraction from serving his constituents.
Today, Couy Griffin is divorced, disparaged by family, and confronts a political recall drive, a state corruption investigation, and federal charges. He is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, according to a United States District Court criminal complaint. In Washington, prosecutors unveiled photographs of Griffin climbing a toppled fence and another barrier to access the Capitol steps.
Griffin has been rebuked by many Republicans over his racial invective. He’s also been suspended from Facebook and banished from Native American lands in his district as he contests charges of breaking into the Capitol grounds and disrupting Congress that could carry a one-year sentence. A recall effort is underway, amid a plethora of lawsuits.
The New Mexico Secretary of State says that Cowboys for Trump operated by Couy Griffin qualifies as a political committee, amid its parades on horseback and merchandise sales in support of Trump. The secretary of state’s office prevailed in a June arbitration and appeal to court decision that ordered Cowboys for Trump to register, file expenditure and contribution reports and pay a fine of $7,800.
According tp the Santa Fe New Mexican Jan 18, 2021 “New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said he intends to see Griffin removed from his elected office. Balderas said his office is aiding the federal investigation into Griffin, 47 — who is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority — while also gathering evidence for a criminal probe into Griffin’s time on the Otero County Commission.”
“We’re hopeful the federal prosecution will move rather quickly and the evidence presented there will help make the case for his removal clearer,” Balderas said Monday. “The general public should be outraged about what he’s been able to do while in office.”
The two other County Commissioners; Gerald Matherly and Vickie Marquardt — both Republicans have asked Couy Griffin to please, just resign, so they can focus on the county’s business without distractions and drama.
At a commission meeting in April the drama and debate around Griffin intensified with both Republicans making statements that he needs to leave.
Matherly was clear about his position, “We have gone through many days of drama, with our staff and my office. I’ve received threats myself because of your actions. This is office supposed to be taking care of county business, and I don’t think you should be using county property for Cowboys for Trump business and filming personal videos. Every time we have county meetings, it turns into a meeting about Couy Griffin’s personal life and has nothing to do with county business.”
Marquardt didn’t hold back either, “How many hours do you think you actually spend on county business each week? You generate hate that rains down on this county, and we have to deal with it,” she said.
Griffin said that everything he did under the auspice of Cowboys for Trump was for the good of the county. “It was to represent the conservative values of Otero County.”
Griffin continues in defiance against all odds but now it is up to the voters of District 2 to decide.
The question each voter should ask themselves…
Is the District better off since Couy Griffin was elected to his position?
What value has he brought to the district?
Has Mr. Griffin enhanced employment opportunities, recruited new businesses personally or via commission directives? What has he done to lower the poverty rates in his district?
Is he a good spokesperson for Otero county to recruit good paying jobs, tourism and new development?
Is he devoting a majority of his time to local constituent concerns?
If not allowed on the reservation, how does he represent their interests within the county and participate in collaborative dialog?
What has he done to improve the lives for our children since being elected?
What has his done that improves the lives of seniors and the middle class in his district since being elected?
The poverty rate for Otero County is 21.2% with the high number of individuals living in poverty, located in District 2, what has he done to help solve the issue of poverty since being elected, and how much time and how many speeches has he given specific to this topic since being elected?
Are you better off now then before he was elected?
If the responses to most of the questions above are positive, then he is your commissioner. If the answers to most of the questions above, are he has not impacted the issue, has not addressed the issue or has not proposed solutions and work towards them in district and on behalf of his constituents then the citizen should sign the petition for his recall.
Those who participate make the decisions. Be informed, participate, make a difference for yourself, family, and friends and for future generations. What we do today impacts tomorrow. The future of your district and of business growth and wealth creation for you, your family and future generation may indeed be impacted by this very recall effort.
Is Couy Griffin worth the gamble for the future of District 2 and Otero County? District 2 registered voters of all parties, that is up to you to decided.