Stefanics wants her old Senate seat back

A current Santa Fe County Commissioner wants to go back to the Roundhouse. Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics announced today that she is running as a Democrat for the seat held until March by Phil Griego, another Democrat. Griego, who had held the seat for 18 years, resigned amid an ethics issue involving his vote for a bill that benefited his real estate client. Gov. Susana Martinez subsequently appointed Republican Ted Barela to fill the seat, which he currently holds. Stefanics held the same seat for one term in the mid-1990s.

Supreme Court says no to forcing emergency meetings to replace Griego

The state Supreme Court ruled against those who wanted to speed up the process of filling the vacancy in Senate District 39. Republicans in the state had been pushing for a quick replacement, saying that time was of the essence in the final hectic days of the legislative session. Three petitioners, two Republicans and a Democrat, who live in the district said that they are disenfranchised because they have no representation in the Senate and asked the high court to speed up the process. The petition had asked that the court either compel the county commissions to hold emergency meetings or for the court to allow Gov. Susana Martinez to make a selection from the commissions that already made a choice. In districts that represent multiple counties, or at least portions of multiple counties, each county commission chooses a nominee.

Lawsuit calls for more time to decide on Griego replacement

A new lawsuit calls on a state district court to slow down the process of naming a new Senator to District 39 to allow county commissions to abide by the state law that requires 72 hours notice on meetings except in emergencies. Before Gov. Susana Martinez can pick a replacement, all six county commissions with areas within Senate District 39, which was recently represented by Phil Griego, must pick a nominee. Martinez will be able to make a selection from that list. Martinez asked county commissions to declare an emergency meeting and provide her with nominees by 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Two county commissions complied, but the others are waiting until Wednesday or Friday to send in a selection.

Two counties name nominees to replace Griego

Only the Torrance and Lincoln County commissions named nominees to replace Phil Griego in the state Senate after his resignation. The Torrance County Commission nominated former Estancia mayor Ted Barela while the Albuquerque Journal reported the Lincoln County Commission named Thomas Stewart. Both are Republicans. Critics say that making a decision without 72-hour notice is a violation of the Open Meetings Act. The six counties that make up parts of Griego’s district get to name nominees and Gov. Susana Martinez will choose one to fill the rest of Griego’s term.