July 24, 2017

Senate Majority Whip running for Lt. Gov.

Laura Paskus

Sen. Michael Padilla in his office, standing with memorabilia of Sister Bladina Segale, who founded schools and hospitals in New Mexico in the 19th century.

A member of Democratic state senate leadership announced he is running for Lieutenant Governor.

Michael Padilla, the Majority Whip in the state Senate, made the announcement early Monday morning. He says his focus while running for Lt. Gov. will be similar to his focus during his four years in the state senate.

“Helping New Mexico end poverty will be the focus of my campaign for Lieutenant Governor,” Padilla said in a statement.

Padilla mentioned early childhood development in his announcement. The Albuquerque Democrat has been one of the driving forces in the Legislature to tap the state land grant permanent fund for early childhood education money. That effort, which would require voters to approve a constitutional amendment, has largely failed to pass the senate due to opposition from fiscally conservative Democrats.

Padilla also mentioned legislation for which New Mexico received national attention, a bill to end “lunch-shaming.”

“Our first in the nation Hunger Free Students Bill of Rights will take the focus off of our children’s stomachs and place it on their studies, a bold action that will dramatically help improve our graduation rates and our work force,” Padilla said.

Padilla is the fourth Democrat to announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor. Former House Majority Leader Rick Miera, juvenile probation officer David McTeigue and educator Jeff Carr already announced their intention to run for the statewide position.

The winner of the primary for lieutenant governor will appear on the general election ballot as the running mate of the candidate who wins the gubernatorial primary. Unlike in presidential elections, the position is not chosen by the candidate, which could lead to a running mate with different views than the top of the ticket.