Albuquerque state Sen. Bernadette Sanchez said Friday she has withdrawn her re-election bid, while seven incumbent legislators faced the possibility of being removed from the ballot because of voter signature forms that may have been incorrectly filled out.
The seven legislators – four Democrats and three Republicans – failed to list the district numbers of the offices they are running for on voter nominating petitions filed March 20, according to Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who is expected to act next week.
Lawmakers in question include Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, who said new requirements for candidates might have contributed to the confusion.
“This is just a deal where we changed some of the laws and nobody followed through,” said Jennings, who predicted the issue would be easily resolved.
In addition to Jennings, the other incumbent legislators are: Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park; Rep. James Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo; Sen. Pete Campos, D-Las Vegas; Rep. Dianne Hamilton, R-Silver City; Rep. Rodolpho “Rudy” Martinez, D-Bayard; and Rep. Rick Little, R-Chaparral.
The issue was first raised by Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocate, who called Duran’s office after noticing that Campos, his primary election opponent, had failed to list his district number.
Duran sent a letter to Attorney General Gary King, asking for an opinion on the petitions and whether the candidates submitting them should remain on the ballot. In response, Assistant Attorney General Tania Maestas said Friday it is unlikely state courts would require Duran’s office to reject a candidate for such a reason.
In addition to the seven incumbent legislators, five other candidates – three for legislative races, one for the Public Regulation Commission and one for the Public Education Commission – were also identified by Duran’s office as failing to list the district number of the office sought.
Duran is expected to decide on the petition cases by early next week.
Meanwhile, Sanchez announced Friday she had decided to withdraw her bid for a fourth consecutive term representing Senate District 26 on Albuquerque’s West Side.
Sanchez, a Democrat, faced a primary election contest with three fellow Democrats.
Sanchez, an Albuquerque Public Schools counselor, cited political gridlock in Santa Fe and health concerns as reasons for her decision.