January 26, 2016

Rep. Espinoza collecting signatures for Sec. of State position

In order to qualify as a candidate, the Roswell Republican must collect 2,000 signatures from registered Republicans in New Mexico and submit them by Feb. 1.

Espinoza told Christian media website FGGAM.org earlier this week that she was not announcing her candidacy because she was still gathering signatures. She directed listeners who wanted to help gather signatures to her page on the the New Mexico Legislative website.

“They can look at my legislative website and it’s on there,” Espinoza told host Dewey Moede, referring to her email.

The email Espinoza has listed on her legislative page is a personal one, a common practice by many lawmakers, but one generally admonished by government transparency advocates.

NM Political Report left email and phone messages for Espinoza throughout the week and left a message with her legislative staff. We will add Espinoza’s comments when we receive them.

While legislators are not allowed to solicit campaign donations during the legislative session, there are no rules that prohibit legislators from collecting signatures or doing other campaigning during the session.

According to the Secretary of State’s website:

It is unlawful during the prohibited period for a state legislator or a candidate for state legislator, or any agent on behalf of either, to knowingly solicit a contribution for a political purpose.

It’s still unclear how many signatures she has collected to this point, but the Grant County Republican Party posted a link to blank petition forms on their Facebook page, encouraging members of the public to gather signatures from registered Republicans.

The position is usually not up for election during a presidential election year. However, because of Dianna Duran’s resignation, the election will be held this November. Brad Winter, who was appointed to replace Duran, has said that he will not run to stay in the position.

Espinoza is the only Republican who has publicly announced her intention to run for Secretary of State. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver announced her candidacy as a Democrat and former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil is also gathering signatures to get on the ballot.

If Espinoza officially announces her candidacy, she would not be able to run for re-election for her House seat. Her House seat is in a solidly conservative district.