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Politics Notebook: Secretary of state won’t fill posts

The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office is approaching this fall’s general election a bit shorthanded after two high-ranking staffers recently left the office.

But Secretary of State Brad Winter has decided not to fill the vacant positions, largely because he isn’t running for election and doesn’t think it would be fair to hire someone who might be out of a job come 2017.

“Secretary Winter has decided not to fill these two positions, as they are exempt positions that serve in an at-will capacity to the secretary of state, and has decided to let the next secretary of state fill these positions,” chief of staff Ken Ortiz said Friday.

One of the employees who recently left the office is Mary Quintana, who had been deputy secretary of state since being appointed to the job in 2011 by then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran.

Quintana, whose retirement was effective May 31, served as acting secretary of state for two months last year after Duran resigned from office and pleaded guilty to criminal charges of misusing campaign contributions to cover gambling debts. Duran and Quintana had previously worked together in the Otero County Clerk’s Office.

The other top-ranking staffer to exit the Secretary of State’s Office was Amy Bailey, who left her job as the office’s general counsel at the end of last week to return to private practice.

The two secretary of state candidates set to face off in November are Republican Nora Espinoza of Roswell and Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver of Albuquerque.

STUMPING: Gov. Susana Martinez will make a trip to Washington state today to campaign with Bill Bryant, the state’s GOP gubernatorial candidate.

Martinez, chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association, is expected to rack up the travel miles on the campaign trail in the coming months – there are 12 governors’ races around the nation this year – in support of fellow Republicans.

Already, Martinez has traveled to seven states in just the past three months to attend both political and official events.

She will appear with Bryant this afternoon at a rally in Tacoma, according to the Tacoma News Tribune, a day after President Barack Obama went to Seattle to help raise money for Gov. Jay Inslee, the Democratic incumbent who’s favored in this fall’s race.

Today’s trip will be quick, as Martinez is scheduled to return to New Mexico this evening, a spokesman said Friday. Per the state Constitution, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez will serve as acting governor while Martinez is traveling out of state.

The Washington State Republican Party is paying for the governor’s travel expenses.

Dan Boyd:


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