September 11, 2015

Two weeks after criminal charges, SOS still MIA

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Secretary of State Dianna Duran, courtesy photo

It’s been two weeks since New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced charges against New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran for moving campaign funds to personal accounts.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

It has also been that long since Duran was in her office.

Now many New Mexicans are asking where she’s been. As New Mexico Political Report previously reported, officials from Duran’s office confirmed she has not been in her office since she was charged. They have said that despite this, it is still business as usual in the office.

While the state House of Representatives is looking into the possibility of impeaching Duran and her lawyer said the secretary maintains her innocence, some are calling for her her to resign.

On Thursday morning, the Albuquerque Journal published an editorial criticizing Duran for not being in her office.

But New Mexico voters have elected Duran twice, and they expect her to show up to do her job, whether she has to or not.

If she can’t or won’t, then she should resign her office. Because voters are unlikely to tolerate her holing up for months while the case plays out in the judicial system.

KOB-TV even went as far as to go to her house in Tularosa to find Duran.

While poking around the state capitol for Duran last week, KOB was tipped off she had gone back home to escape the media hype surrounding her in Santa Fe.

Public records list a Tularosa home belonging to Duran and her husband, Rosaleo Barraza.

Wednesday, a neighbor confirmed it, saying Duran wasn’t home, but had been seen in the past two days.

Ramirez knocked on the door and nobody answered. But taking a peek in, there was a man in the backyard. Perhaps he knew where she was?

Ramirez: Hey sir, we’re looking for Dianna Duran. Is she around?

Man: Get out of here!

At least one radio station has lampooned Duran, asking ‘Where in the World Is The NM Secretary of State Dianna Duran?’

On Thursday, the morning show hosts of Albuquerque’s Coyote 102.5 called a listing for a D. Duran. A woman answered, but there’s no way of knowing if it was the Secretary of State.

New Mexico Political Report spoke with Viking over the phone and she said even a light-hearted morning show has to take notice when a state official is out of the office for two weeks.

“If you’ve been in New Mexico for any amount of time, you realize this is the third Secretary of State that we’ve had with some sort of scandal,” Viking said. “So, yeah, this is stuff that people are very interested in.”

UPDATE: Clarification about the phone call to D. Duran and a comment from Viking were added.