SANTA FE — Six-term state Rep. Alonzo Baldonado announced his abrupt resignation from the New Mexico state House on Friday, saying it was time to step aside for new blood.
Baldonado, a Los Lunas Republican, said he had been thinking about stepping down and almost didn’t run for re-election in 2020. He ultimately ran and won, and the two-year term he was elected to runs through 2022.
“When I first ran in 2011, I knew I kind of had a self-imposed term limit,” Baldonado told the Journal.
Baldonado was the House GOP whip while Republicans held a majority in the 70-member chamber from 2015 through 2016.
But Democrats retook control of the House in the 2016 general election and Baldonado cited frustration with the current party breakdown — Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 45-24 margin, with one independent — and Republicans’ inability to halt or help shape Democratic-backed bills.
“New Mexico’s better when it’s balanced and I hope we get back to better numbers soon,” Baldonado said.
For now, Baldonado said he plans to focus on his work as a real estate broker. He did not rule out a future run for elected office, but no such campaign is currently in the works.
Like some other legislators who have stepped down in recent years, Baldonado also cited the financial burden of serving in the nation’s only unsalaried Legislature.
New Mexico lawmakers do get per diem payments intended to cover food and lodging expenses.
“Serving in the Legislature, you don’t get paid — I don’t know if a lot of people know that,” he said.
During his 11 years in the House, Baldonado pushed unsuccessfully for legislation requiring parental notification before a minor could get an abortion. He also sponsored bills dealing with real estate issues, and hunting and fishing rules.
Baldonado was also a supporter of Donald Trump even when some Republicans were still publicly wary of his presidential campaign, and helped introduce Trump at a campaign rally in Albuquerque in October 2016.
Per the state Constitution, the Valencia County Commission will pick a replacement to serve out the year remaining on Baldonado’s term representing House District 8.
The district stretches from Los Lunas to Belen, primarily along the west side of the Rio Grande. Its boundaries will shift farther east into Peralta under a new House map approved during a special session on redistricting in December.
At least three incumbent state House members have also said they do not plan to seek reelection in 2022 — Reps. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque; Daymon Ely, D-Corrales; and Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences.