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Stories about New Mexico

The latest redistricting news from New Jersey, New Mexico, and Wisconsin

In this week’s Redistricting Review, we cover news out of New Jersey, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

New Jersey: On July 20,New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner asked Democrats and Republicans to reconvene and pick a consensus candidate for the 13th member of the state’s congressional redistricting commission.

According to state law, the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of the state legislature and the chair of the state’s two major political parties appoint the first 12 members of the congressional redistricting commission. The 12 commissioners then appoint the last commission member. If they cannot agree on an appointment, the commissioners must submit two names to the New Jersey Supreme Court and the court must then appoint the final commissioner.

Last week, when the commissioners could not reach a consensus by their July 15th deadline, they submitted former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr., and former Superior Court Judge Marina Corodemus to the court. According to the New Jersey Globe, “This is the first time the two parties haven’t agreed on a 13th member for congressional redistricting. The Supreme Court option wasn’t involved in 1991, 2001 and 2011.”

Chief Justice Rabner gave the commissioners until July 30th to respond with a consensus candidate. If they do not, the New Jersey Supreme Court will pick a tiebreaker candidate by August 10th.

New Mexico: The New Mexico Redistricting Committee’s new website launched last week. The website includes information on how to participate in committee meetings and a portal for submitting public comments or maps. It can be accessed here.

Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Supreme Court temporarily halted a lower court ruling blocking Republican legislators from hiring private attorneys with taxpayer funds. On July 15, the court unanimously agreed to take up the case, and in a 4-3 decision ordered that Republican lawmakers be allowed to hire private attorneys pending their decision.

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Filing deadline to run for Albuquerque City Council was on July 5

The filing deadline to run for city council in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was on July 5, 2021. The seats in districts 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 are up for election on November 2.

As of July 2, 19 candidates have filed across the five districts. In addition to the city council seats, the mayor of Albuquerque will also be on the ballot in November. The filing deadline to run in the mayoral race passed on June 19.

Additional Reading:

Mayoral Election In Albuquerque, New Mexico (2021)

Mayoral Election In Albuquerque, New Mexico (2019)



New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil retires

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil retired on June 30. She joined the court in 2012 after winning election to an open seat on the court against Paul J. Kennedy, 55% to 45%. Vigil won a retention election for a full eight-year term in 2016, with 72% of voters retaining her. Before that, Vigil served for 12 years as a New Mexico First Judicial District Court judge.

In the event of a midterm vacancy, New Mexico Supreme Court justices are chosen by assisted gubernatorial appointment, which means that the governor will select a nominee based on recommendations from the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. To remain in office, the new appointee must stand for partisan election in November 2022 and retention election in 2024. 

All five New Mexico Supreme Court justices have been either elected as Democrats or appointed by a Democratic governor. Vigil’s replacement will be Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) fourth nominee to the five-member supreme court, and Chief Justice Michael Vigil (no relation) was elected as a Democrat.

In 2021, there have been 14 supreme court vacancies caused by retirements in 12 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected.



New Mexico Supreme Court allows recall effort against Otero County commissioner to move forward

New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Vigil on June 28 affirmed a lower court’s ruling to allow an effort to recall Couy Griffin (R) from his position as the District 2 representative on the Otero County Commission to move forward. Once the recall petitions are signed by the lower court justice who initially approved them, recall supporters will be given 90 days to collect 1,574 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 the first half of 2021, Ballotpedia tracked 164 recall efforts against 262 officials. This was the most recall efforts for this point in the year since the first half of 2016, when we tracked 189 recall efforts against 265 officials. In comparison, we tracked between 72 and 155 efforts by the midpoints of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.



Bernalillo County Commission appoints Pamelya Herndon to New Mexico House of Representatives 

The Bernalillo County Commission appointed Pamelya Herndon (D) to District 28 in the New Mexico House of Representatives on June 22. Herndon replaces Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), who was elected to New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District on June 1 of this year. 

The Bernalillo County Commission voted 4-0 to appoint Herndon, who was one of eight candidates seeking the District 28 seat. Upon her appointment, Herndon said, “I will serve this district very well. I will represent every single person. I want to thank the commissioners for their faith in me and it starts immediately.” She will serve the remainder of Stansbury’s term, which ends on Jan. 17, 2023.

Before her appointment, Herndon served as the president and CEO of KWH Law Center for Social Justice and Change and the CEO of The Women’s Center for Social Justice and Change. She also worked with the Southwest Women’s Law Center, Herndon Legal Services, and the State of New Mexico. She received a B.B.A. in accounting from Howard University in 1975 and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1978. 

As of June 24, there have been 57 state legislative vacancies in 32 states during 2021. Forty-one of those vacancies have been filled. Herndon is one of 21 Democrats to fill state legislative vacancies in 2021. 

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Melanie Stansbury sworn in to Congress on June 14

U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D) was sworn in to represent New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District on June 14. Stansbury defeated Mark Moores (R), 60% to 36%. to win a special election for the seat on June 1. The seat became vacant when former Rep. Debra Haaland (D) left office to become secretary of the interior. 

At the time of her election to Congress, Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives, representing District 28. She was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Jimmie Hall (R), 54% to 46%. Before running for office, Stansbury worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Office of Management and Budget. She has also worked as a science educator with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. 

When a vacancy occurs in the New Mexico House of Representatives, the governor appoints a replacement from a list provided by the board of county commissioners representing the vacant seat. The governor is not required to appoint someone of the same party as the last person who held the seat. 

With Stansbury taking office, the partisan breakdown of the U.S. House is 220 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and four vacancies. The partisan balance of the New Mexico House is 44 Democrats, 24 Republicans, one independent, and one vacancy. 

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Filing deadline for Albuquerque mayoral race is June 19

The filing deadline to run for mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is on June 19. A separate filing deadline for five of the nine Albuquerque City Council seats is on July 5.

There will be no primary elections for the mayoral race. Instead, all candidates will appear on the same general election ballot regardless of their partisan affiliations. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and the 32nd-largest city in the U.S. by population.

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Democrat Melanie Ann Stansbury wins special election in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D) defeated Mark Moores (R) and four other candidates in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election. Stansbury received 63% of the vote to Moore’s 33%.

The election took place after the U.S. Senate confirmed incumbent Debra Haaland (D) as secretary of the on March 15, 2021.

Stansbury served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She led the race in fundraising and spending. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, as of May 12 she had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) also ran.

The outcome of this race affected partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Leading up to the election, Democrats had a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. When Stansbury is sworn in, Democrats will have expanded their majority to 220-211.

As of June 1, 2021, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

To read more about New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election, click here.



New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District to hold special election June 1

The special general election for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District is on June 1. Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), and two write-in candidates are competing for the seat.

The Democratic Party nominated Stansbury at a primary convention on March 31, and the Republican Party nominated Moores at a convention on March 27. 

The special election became necessary after Debra Haaland (D) was confirmed as U.S. secretary of the interior in the Biden administration on March 15. Haaland served from 2019 to 2021.

The U.S. House of Representatives has 219 Democratic members, 211 Republican members, and five vacancies. New Mexico’s delegation to the House includes one Democrat and one Republican with one vacancy.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress as of May 25. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

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Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), four others running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1

Melanie Ann Stansbury (D), Mark Moores (R), and four other candidates are running in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District special election on June 1, 2021. The election was called following incumbent Debra Haaland’s (D) appointment as secretary of the interior in Joe Biden’s (D) presidential administration. 

Stansbury and Moores were elected to run at Democratic and Republican Party conventions, respectively. Stansbury has served in the New Mexico House of Representatives since 2019. She has received endorsements from incumbent Debra Haaland (D) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D), EMILY’s List, and the Sierra Club.

Moores has served in the New Mexico State Senate since 2013. He has been endorsed by Rep. Yvette Herrell (R), the Albuquerque Journal, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 

As of May 12, Stansbury led in fundraising and spending, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. She had $1,348,453 in receipts and $874,861 in disbursements. Moores had raised $595,423 and spent $469,868.

Christopher Manning (L), Aubrey Dunn (I), write-in Laura Olivas (I), and write-in Robert Ornelas (I) are also running.

Haaland had represented New Mexico’s 1st since after the 2018 election. She was re-elected in 2020 58.2% to 41.8%. In the 2020 presidential election, Biden defeated Donald Trump (R) in the district 60.2% to 37.4%. The district last elected a Republican to Congress in 2006 when it backed incumbent Heather Wilson.

The outcome of this race will affect partisan control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 117th Congress. Democrats have a 219 to 211 majority over Republicans. Five seats are vacant.

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