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Washington Notebook: Gov. Martinez scores low on popularity scale

Michael ColemanWASHINGTON, D.C. – Lame-duck governors often see their poll numbers tank, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is no exception, according to a national Morning Consult poll that tallied the popularity of all 50 governors in the United States.

Susana Martinez

Martinez, a Republican in the final year of her second term, ranked as the fifth-least popular governor in the nation in 2017, with a 57 percent disapproval rating, according to the poll, which had a margin of error in New Mexico of plus or minus 3 percent. The state-by-

Martin Heinrich

Tom Udall

state polls were conducted from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

Thirty-three percent of New Mexicans approved of the governor’s job performance, while 10 percent didn’t have an opinion or weren’t sure, according to the online poll of registered voters. In October 2016, Martinez had an approval rating of 42 percent and a disapproval rating of 44 percent, according to a Journal poll.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who left office this month after two terms, was the least popular governor in the nation, with a 76 percent disapproval rating, the poll found.

Chris Christie

First-term Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts had the highest approval rating of any governor, with 69 percent.

Martinez’s office declined to comment.

OPIOIDS: President Trump said during a State of the Union speech Tuesday night that combatting the deadly opioid crisis is a priority of his administration, and New Mexico’s senators are pressing the issue.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, both New Mexico Democrats, wrote to Trump this week asking him to request more money from Congress to battle an epidemic that “is ravaging communities and claiming 142 lives per day nationwide.”

In the letter, the senators also asked that Trump work to help ensure smaller states like New Mexico receive adequate funding. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 500 New Mexicans died of opioid overdoses last year. New Mexico ranks 12th in the U.S. for rate of overdoses.

PEARCE SEAT: Democrat David Baake has withdrawn from the race to replace Representative Steve Pearce in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District and thrown his support behind fellow Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, a water attorney from Las Cruces.

Baake said he was “incredibly excited to support Xochitl,” adding that “she is brilliant, compassionate and amply qualified for the job.” Torres Small previously worked as a field representative in the office of Sen. Tom Udall, where she focused on infrastructure and education in southern New Mexico.

Michael Coleman: