Editorial: Egolf's comments indicate his one-party ambitions - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Egolf’s comments indicate his one-party ambitions

Every now and then, a politician steps into it big time by being candid. Then, there often is an attempt to walk it back, perhaps apologizing if others somehow misunderstood the true intent of the original comments.

In the case of New Mexico House Speaker Brian Egolf, it appears he was simply being honest recently about his plans to redraw the 2nd Congressional District so that Republicans have little chance of winning it again. It was an unusual window into the speaker’s political soul – a glimpse many New Mexicans found troubling.

While it’s true the U.S. Constitution requires reapportionment and the redrawing of congressional boundaries every 10 years to keep them evenly populated, the timing of Egolf’s remarks the day after Election Day couldn’t have been more politically tone deaf.

Democrats retained super-majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, the New Mexico Court of Appeals and the state Supreme Court in last week’s elections, and already occupied every statewide elected office and all five congressional seats.

Republicans hadn’t won a statewide election since 2014. So Republican Yvette Herrell’s nearly 20,000-vote victory over Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small was the one big silver lining for New Mexico Republicans on election night – and Speaker Egolf just couldn’t contain himself.

“So this is the last election for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District with a map that looks like it looks now,” Egolf told reporters in a post-election Zoom call. “So next time it’ll be a different district and we’ll have to see what that means for Republican chances to hold it.”

Political translation: “We’re going to gerrymander the heck out of it.”

Two days later, the speaker from Santa Fe who is an architect of the state’s progressive Democratic wing issued a statement asserting redistricting next year would be done in a fair, open and transparent process. “My comment on (Nov. 4) about the 2nd Congressional District was a statement of fact in response to a direct question about the future of the district and nothing more,” he said.

Political translation: “Deal with it.”

But the damage was done. Even people who say they are registered Democrats have since offered denouncements of Egolf’s naked power grab.

“This is exactly the kind of shenanigans that turn people off to politics and make it hard for differing opinions to be heard,” wrote one SpeakUp writer. “There are plenty of conservative Republicans in our state and their voices deserve to be heard and listened to. How are we going to come together if we silence every opinion that differs from our own?”

“As a registered Democrat, I was appalled to hear of Speaker Egolf’s plans to redraw CD2 to make it more difficult for Republicans to hold the district,” wrote Thomas Hess of Albuquerque. “Democrats hold as core values protecting inclusivity and guarding against voter suppression. Redrawing CD2’s boundaries could potentially disenfranchise nearly 150,000 voters in southern New Mexico.”

“I am a long-time Democrat,” wrote Elmer Jackson of Albuquerque. “I was once a ward chairman. Even more I am an American and a man of faith. I am disheartened by Rep. Brian Egolf’s intention to redraw congressional districts to the advantage of my party.”

Steve Pearce, who represented CD2 for 14 years before becoming chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico, says Democrats already outnumber Republicans in the district, although the southern New Mexico seat has only been held by a Democrat for four years since it was created in the 1980s. “I thought it was very distasteful, I thought it was very unprofessional,” Pearce said of Egolf’s Nov. 4 remarks.

The election showed again that the 2nd Congressional District is the only competitive U.S. House district in the state, and the only likely seat from which a New Mexican Republican can serve in Congress. And that apparently just burns Speaker Egolf. He made one big mistake – he let his lust for one-party domination be widely known.

Or maybe we all just misunderstood him.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

Home » Opinion » Editorials » Editorial: Egolf’s comments indicate his one-party ambitions

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

Editorial: PED’s ‘restorative’ discipline should not forget victims
The New Mexico Public Education Department's ... The New Mexico Public Education Department's heart is in the right place with a new discipline ...
Editorial: Recreational pot's greener pastures still elusive for some
"New Mexico's cannabis legalization policy must ... "New Mexico's cannabis legalization policy must ensure equity and diversity, while reinv ...
Editorial: IPRA brush-off by Corrections Department is inexcusable
When a state agency blows off ... When a state agency blows off a state senator's request for public documents, something is ter ...
Editorial: Defendant's GPS data is a real public safety ...
District Attorney Raul Torrez says that, ... District Attorney Raul Torrez says that, if he had been told he'd have to file a lawsuit against ...
Editorial: Know something? Say something to solve Muslim killings
Someone knows something. And we need ... Someone knows something. And we need them to speak up before another person is added to the recent s ...
Editorial: APS right-sizing puts district in position to succeed ...
Superintendent Scott Elder appeared downright peppy ... Superintendent Scott Elder appeared downright peppy Thursday, welcoming students back to school. The ...
Editorial: ABQ’s arroyo/ditch ban should save lives
Albuquerque city councilors found common ground ... Albuquerque city councilors found common ground on legislation that could actually save lives when t ...
Editorial: Dedicated retirees and quest for justice
The families of eight Metro-area women ... The families of eight Metro-area women missing for 16 years or more may not have much hope they̵ ...
Editorial: Los Ranchos can keep character and add development
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is at ... Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is at a crossroads.    Village leaders — in serious ...