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Longtime state rep will not seek reelection


From left, Reps. Joseph Sanchez, D-Alcalde, Paul Bandy, R-Aztec, and Abbas Akhil, D-Albuquerque, inform Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe, and the rest of the Senate that the House of Representatives has finished its work on Feb. 20, the final day of the 30-day legislative session. Bandy, Sanchez and Akhil are among a handful of lawmakers not running for re-election this year. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified state Rep. Tomas Salazar, D-Las Vegas. His name has been fixed for this version.

SANTA FE – State Rep. Paul Bandy, an Aztec Republican, recently announced he will not seek reelection this year to an eighth term in the House of Representatives.

Bandy, who has served in the House since 2007, was elected to the Aztec school board in November and said the time is right to step aside and let someone else represent the House District 3 seat.

Regarded as an affable legislator with a keen knowledge of the state Constitution, Bandy is the ranking member of a key budget-writing panel, the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

In an interview, he said there’s been ample turnover in the House in recent years – more than half the chamber’s members were elected in 2014 or later.

But he also cited the friendships that are forged among lawmakers, including between Democrats and Republicans, despite the House’s frequent partisan rancor. Several Democrats praised Bandy when he was honored on the House floor during the just completed 30-day legislative session.

“There’s politics, and then there’s personal relationships, and that makes all the difference,” Bandy told the Journal.

Specifically, he cited several bills with bipartisan backing as being among his top legislative accomplishments: the 2018 Local Election Act that consolidated municipal elections, a 2019 bill that provided funding for forest restoration efforts, and a measure that barred cities from acquiring water rights by eminent domain.

The House District 3 seat is a GOP-leaning seat in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by a more than 3-1 ratio in the 2016 presidential election. It encompasses Aztec, Bloomfield and other parts of San Juan County.

Bandy defeated his Democratic general election opponent in 2018 with more than 77% of the votes cast in his race.

Meanwhile, the 112 legislative seats are up for election this year, and Bandy is one of seven lawmakers not planning to seek reelection.

The others are Reps. Abbas Akhil, D-Albuquerque; Tomás Salazar, D-Las Vegas; Joseph Sanchez, D-Alcalde; Jim Trujillo, D-Santa Fe; and Sens. John Sapien, D-Corrales and Bill Payne, R-Albuquerque.

The official filing day for legislative seats is March 10.

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