New Mexico Twelfth District Judge Manuel Arrieta ruled in favor of an effort to recall Couy Griffin (R) from his position as the District 2 representative on the Otero County Commission on April 8. If Griffin does not appeal the decision to a higher court, recall supporters will be given 90 days to collect approximately 1,661 signatures to get the recall on the ballot.
New Mexico allows recalls at the county level for “malfeasance or misfeasance in office or violation of the oath of office by the official concerned.” Those actions must have occurred during the official’s current term of office in order for a recall effort to be approved to circulate petitions.
Recall supporters said Griffin had used the office for personal gain. Griffin said the allegations against him were baseless and politically motivated.
Griffin, who founded the organization Cowboys for Trump, was arrested in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17, for his alleged role in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He was charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,” according to the Alamogordo Daily News. Griffin was released from federal prison on Feb. 5.
After Griffin was arrested, District 1 Commissioner Gerald Matherly (R) and District 3 Commissioner Vickie Marquardt (R) called for his resignation as did New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas (D). Griffin said he would not resign. He said he was accused of crimes but not convicted. “I just want those that have already come to the conclusion that I’m guilty, I just again ask you to put the brakes on a little bit and let the legal process take place,” Griffin said.
Griffin was elected to the three-member commission in 2018, defeating Democratic candidate Christopher S. Jones with 65% of the vote.
In 2020, Ballotpedia covered a total of 226 recall efforts against 272 elected officials. Of the 49 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 29 were recalled for a rate of 59%. That was higher than the 52% rate for 2019 recalls but lower than the 63% rate for 2018 recalls.