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Editorial: Duran should head back to work or throw in the towel

Holding up or hiding out?

It’s understandable that New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran would not want to show up for work while 64 counts of fraud, money laundering and embezzlement involving misuse of campaign funds are pending against her, reportedly committed to support a gambling habit.

No one would. But most other people would have to go to work – that is if their employer still allowed them – to keep bread on the table.

However, since Attorney General Hector Balderas filed indictments against Duran on Aug. 28, she hasn’t been to work and isn’t talking, at least publicly. Her attorney has only released brief statements including that Duran is “holding up.”

Her staffers at the SOS office – the agency that polices elections and campaign reporting – say she’s been in regular contact and the office is humming along without her, although scheduled hearings last week on two proposed rule changes were postponed until October.

It is true that elected officials statewide always have trusted assistants to do the heavy lifting. And Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana has been directing day-to-day operations in Duran’s absence.

But New Mexico voters have elected Duran twice, and they expect her to show up to do her job, whether she has to or not.

If she can’t or won’t, then she should resign her office. Because voters are unlikely to tolerate her holing up for months while the case plays out in the judicial system.

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.

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