SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is asking for options — not just one candidate — as she considers who will replace Democrat Howie Morales in the state Senate.
The three counties within Morales’ old district — Grant, Catron and Socorro — each nominated the same person to fill the vacancy: Gabriel Ramos, a Democrat from Hurley.
But Lujan Grisham notified the counties in a letter over the weekend that she wants at least two more candidates, with one from each of the individual counties.
State law, she said, calls for the county commission in each county to submit one name, and the governor is to pick someone from the “list of names” submitted. That language suggests the law was aimed at generating multiple candidates, she said.
Lujan Grisham told reporters Monday that she isn’t necessarily opposed to appointing Ramos, but she wants choices.
“This is intended to make sure we meet the spirit of the law,” Lujan Grisham said.
Morales, D-Silver City, left the Senate after winning election as lieutenant governor. He and Lujan Grisham, both Democrats, took office Jan. 1.
Both Morales and Ramos are from Grant County. Senate District 28 covers a chunk of southwestern New Mexico.