A campaign of left-leaning activists seeking to purge the N.M. Senate of moderate Democrats jeopardizes the last vestiges of bipartisanship in the Roundhouse and couldn’t have come at a worse time as we face an unprecedented fiscal crisis.
A group disingenuously calling itself No Corporate Democrats has launched a campaign to unseat five senators it sees as impediments to progressive legislation. It’s aiming high, trying to unseat the Senate’s most respected voice on budgetary matters, the president pro tem and three other experienced lawmakers – each has made the state they call home a better place.
The group’s most prominent target is fiscal pragmatist Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming. To paraphrase the vintage E.F. Hutton TV commercials, when the Senate Finance chairman talks about the state’s finances and budget, others listen.
In his 31st year in the Senate, Smith was once again a voice of fiscal reason during the 2020 legislative session, cautioning House Democrats against overspending. Ultimately, lawmakers approved a $7.6 billion budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, boosting spending by $536 million in the wake of the current budget, which boosted state spending by $663 million.