A state District Court ruling this week means a West Side candidate’s name will no longer be on the ballot for the House seat currently held by Democrat Antonio “Moe” Maestas.
Judge Alan Malott’s decision supported a claim made by Maestas that his Republican opponent Johnny Luévano wasn’t eligible to run as a candidate for House District 16 because he wasn’t living in the district by the date required to establish residency.
By law, candidates had to be living in their districts by March 6, the date the governor made the election proclamation. Luévano received his city-required permit to occupy a newly built home on Bluffside near Atrisco and Iliff on March 14.
“A fundamental tenant of a representative democracy is that elected officials live within the district that they represent,” Maestas said in an emailed statement.
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who earlier certified Luévano as a candidate, said she was prepared to remove his name from the ballot as soon as she received an order from the court.
“Although I am very disappointed in the ruling, it was good to hear that Rep. Maestas’ accusation of wrongdoing on my part was clearly outrageous,” Luévano said in an email.
At the hearing, Malott said he had seen no evidence that proved Luévano acted with criminal intent, according to a report on KOB-TV.
Malott’s ruling will leave Maestas without opposition in the primary and general election.
Luévano can appeal the decision, but said he hasn’t decided what he will do.
Meanwhile, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating allegations made by a liberal think tank that Luévano may have violated state voter registration laws and illegally voted in a city election.
The group, ProgressNow New Mexico, made the allegations after discovering that Luévano listed the Bluffside address as his home on the voter registration card he completed in April 2011, before the home was built.
— This article appeared on page 1 of the West Side Journal