Copyright © 2015 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – When Gov. Susana Martinez took an overnight trip to Mexico last weekend to attend the inauguration of the new governor of the state of Sonora, embattled New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran was just one step – or misstep – away from serving as acting governor.
A long-standing provision in the state constitution calls on the lieutenant governor to serve as acting governor whenever the governor leaves the state or is unable to serve. If the lieutenant governor is also out of state or unable to act as governor, that designation next falls to the secretary of state.
Lt. Gov. John Sanchez was, in fact, in New Mexico last weekend while Martinez was traveling out of state, his chief of staff Mark Van Dyke told the Journal.
But the situation has prompted discussion about how to avoid a potentially awkward scenario of Duran being acting governor while facing charges that she misused campaign contributions to cover personal spending at casinos.