New Mexico state Sen. Jacob Candelaria announced that he was leaving the Democratic party and would register as decline to state on Dec. 1.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Candelaria cited redistricting as the reason for changing his party affiliation. He said, “I don’t think that the decisions we make should be based on partisan ambitions, and it broke my heart to see already that the Senate maps deliberately dilute and gerrymander the west side of Albuquerque to preserve perceived partisan advantage for some members of the Democratic Party. You would strip representation from people that I represent, many of whom are Hispanic, simply because it benefits you at the ballot box.”
Candelaria was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and was last re-elected in 2020. Of the 42 members in the New Mexico Senate, 26 are Democrats, 15 are Republicans, and one is independent.
Ballotpedia has been tracking state legislators who have switched parties since 1994. Candelaria is the fourth state legislator in New Mexico we’ve identified who has switched parties. Three legislators switched to independents, and one switched to the Democratic Party.
Across the country, Ballotpedia has identified 24 state legislators who have switched from the Democratic Party to independent since 1994.