The State Senate skipped a floor vote on the confirmation of Matthew Chandler to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents.According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Chandler’s nomination came because there were not enough votes to approve him and it was in deference to Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, a friend of Chandler’s father and family. Ingle sponsored Chandler’s nomination in the Senate.
Chandler, a former Distirct Attorney and the son of a former state Senator, received tough questions from Democrats on the Senate Rules Committee about his role as treasurer with the Advance New Mexico Now political action committee which targeted House Democrats.
In the committee, Chandler distanced himself from the decision-making process in Advance New Mexico Now, saying that he only provided “financial compliance” for the PAC with the state. He apologized for a mailer sent out against Stephanie Garcia Richard which accused her of making a vote she never did.
“There’s sometimes, unfortunately, a disconnect between the candidate and the treasurer,” Chandler said. “I think that rings true with a PAC.”
Thursday morning, the task may have become tougher when New Mexico In Depth reported a $100,000 to the PAC came from a man who had plead guilty to domestic violence charges.
Chandler said that he resigned from his role as treasurer of the PAC following the election, though a campaign finance report filed on December 4, 2014 has Chandler’s name listed as treasurer.
Others questioned his support of transparency considering his role with the PAC.
Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez wondered if he had ever received a call during a Board of Regents meeting from Gov. Susana Martinez, a member of her administration or political adviser Jay McCleskey on how the board should run.
Chandler’s appointment passed the Senate Rules Committee on a 6-3 vote.
Chandler said no, as did Robert Doughty III when asked the same question by Sanchez. Doughty also said he did not receive a call from Keith Gardner, Martinez’s chief of staff.
The New Mexican had more on the lack of Senate floor vote on Chandler:
Because Ingle had not realized Chandler’s nomination was in trouble, the two floor leaders postponed Chandler’s confirmation hearing. Other senators said this was as much in deference to Ingle, a 30-year member of the Senate, as to Chandler.
Ingle said he did not believe a regent nominee should be advanced to the floor and then embarrassed there with a defeat.
The Senate approved the nomination of Jamie Koch for his third term on the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. Koch had a much smoother route to confirmation than he did in 2010.
Koch’s confirmation passed on a 38-0 vote.
The committee vote on Doughty was held over until Sanchez could meet with Doughty personally.
The Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Brent Earnest as head of the state Health and Human Services Department.
The Senate unanimously voted to expunge the committee report and send Chandler back to the Senate Rules Committee for another hearing on Friday.