November 23, 2016

State GOP, Dem leaders won’t lead parties for a second term



The state Democratic and Republican parties will have new leadership next year.

Democratic Party of New Mexico Chair Debra Haaland and Republican Party of New Mexico Chair Debbie Maestas both announced they would not run for a second term in their positions. Republicans will pick a new chair in mid-December, while Democrats will pick a new chair next April.

This year’s elections saw Democrats retake control of the state House of Representatives, expand their margin in the state Senate and won the race for Secretary of State. But Republicans had some good news when their candidate won a seat on the state Supreme Court.

The parties themselves don’t wield as much power in the post-Citizens United age.

Haaland told Democratic State Central Committee members in an email and later on Facebook that she would not be seeking another term.

“My team and I have worked very hard to build an infrastructure that will give us a strong footing for our 2018 election,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Albuquerque Journal reported Maestas told Republicans in an email she would not seek another term.

Both Haaland and Maestas were elected in 2015, after Republicans took control of the House for the first time, and after Gov. Susana Martinez easily won a second term.

Some who supported U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Democratic primary criticized Haaland for what they saw as her support of Hillary Clinton during the primary. They said Haaland canceled a straw poll at the Democratic pre-primary convention, which they say Sanders would have won.

Democratic Party of New Mexico vice chairman Juan Sanchez already announced he will run to lead the Democratic Party in the state.