First-term Sen. Tim Eichenberg, an Albuquerque Democrat, plans to retire from the state Senate at the end of this year, bringing to at least 27 the number of lawmakers who won’t be returning to their seats.
Eichenberg said he will withdraw from the general election ballot, leaving it to the Bernalillo County Democratic Central Committee to replace him.
He was the only Democrat on the ballot in Senate District 15 in Tuesday’s primary election. The Democratic nominee runs in November against Republican H. Diane Snyder, whom Eichenberg defeated in 2008 in her bid for a third term.
Eichenberg told the Journal he is leaving for family reasons. He said two of his older brothers – who with their wives have been providing most of the care for their 87-year-old mother – have health problems, and he wants to help out more with all three relatives.
“I need to step up. … I’m 60 years old, and at my age right now family is most important,” Eichenberg said.
He is running for re-election to the board of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority and said he wouldn’t rule out holding another local office with less out-of-town travel than the Legislature requires.
The senator said his departure is not related to the recent assertion by a former employee that the FBI has been asking questions about Bernalillo County Assessor Karen Montoya and about Eichenberg’s involvement with her office. Eichenberg is a property tax consultant who helps people protest their assessments.
He said that “in the 40 years I’ve been in business and public life, nothing I have done has warranted an investigation by any law enforcement agency, ever.”
Montoya, the Democratic nominee for a Public Regulation Commission seat, has said Eichenberg does not get preferential treatment from her office.
Eichenberg is a former Bernalillo County treasurer and deputy assessor, and a former director of the Taxation and Revenue Department’s Property Tax Division.
— This article appeared on page C01 of the Albuquerque Journal