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Updated: NM Supreme Court keeps Rep. Sandra Jeff off primary election ballot

Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, talks with reporters in the state Capitol after today's Supreme Court hearing.
Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, talks with reporters in the state Capitol after today's Supreme Court hearing.
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Rep. Sandra Jeff will not appear on the June 3 primary election ballot, after the New Mexico Supreme Court today rejected her appeal of a lower court decision.

The Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously that Jeff, a three-term lawmaker, did not meet the “clear and unambiguous” requirements for candidates to qualify for the ballot.

Specifically, a Gallup district judge had found that 23 of the 91 voter signatures submitted by Jeff were invalid, either because they were duplicates or belonged to voters who were not eligible to vote in the House District 5 primary election. She had been required to turn in at least 78 valid signatures.

Jeff told reporters she was disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision, saying voters should have been allowed to elect their candidate of choice.

“I will be back,” she vowed, adding she will file to run for

re-election as a write-in candidate.

Demis Foster, the executive director of Conservation Voters New Mexico, an environmental group that financed the court challenge against Jeff, lauded the ruling of the state’s highest court.

“Representative Jeff has no one to blame but herself,” Foster said. “She’s not above the law.”

Today’s ruling leaves two Democratic candidates in the House District 5 race — Doreen Johnson of Church Rock and Charles Long of Crownpoint. No Republicans filed to run in the district.

The ruling could also have political repercussions, as Jeff is known as a maverick Democrat and has often crossed party lines on key votes. Democrats enter this year’s election cycle with a narrow 37-33 majority over Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Check tomorrow’s Journal for a full story.

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