NM Democrats voting today for state party chair - Albuquerque Journal

NM Democrats voting today for state party chair

SANTA FE – A graduate student, an educator and a retired lawyer are campaigning to succeed Debra Haaland as head of the state Democratic Party.

Juan Sanchez III
Juan Sanchez III

The winner – to be chosen today in Albuquerque at a meeting of the party’s central committee – will take over as Democrats are energized in opposition to President Donald Trump and looking for a win in next year’s gubernatorial race.

The candidates include:

• Juan Sanchez III, a 25-year-old Belen resident pursuing a master’s degree in water resources at the University of New Mexico;

Rusty Pearce
Rusty Pearce

• Rusty Pearce, a 31-year-old who works as an instructional technologist for Las Cruces Public Schools;

• Richard Ellenberg, a retired lawyer and former chairman of Santa Fe County’s Democratic Party.

The winner will serve a two-year term as chairman of the state party. It’s a volunteer position, though the party has a few paid staff members.

Haaland took over in 2015 but didn’t seek re-election this year.

Richard Ellenberg
Richard Ellenberg

Sanchez is now vice chairman of the party. He would bring stability, he said, and use national contacts to recruit high-profile speakers to New Mexico.

The party, he said, must be willing to reach out to allies who aren’t necessarily Democrats to accomplish its goals.

Sanchez said his own identity as a Latino with a disability – he has an autoimmune disease – provides him a unique perspective on the importance of political debates, such as the potential repeal of Obamacare.

“These issues aren’t that abstract to me,” Sanchez said. ” Every morning when I wake up, I’m reminded of it.”

Ellenberg said he has a track record of success, having served six years as Democratic chairman in Santa Fe. He said he wants to help build a staff loyal to the party itself, not whomever happens to be serving as chair at the time.

That, in turn, would help boost long-term strategic planning, record-keeping and fundraising, he said.

And one-on-one contacts can help reach less-engaged voters and get them to the polls, Ellenberg said.

“We have a huge amount of energy coming into the party,” he said. “Donald Trump has reminded folks that elections matter.”

Pearce, for his part, said he is skilled with technology and works with young people every day – strengths he says would help build the Democratic Party beyond the status quo.

“We’re going to have to stop politics as usual,” he said. “I don’t think the establishment members of the party understand what it’s going to take in order to get the youth involved.”

Pearce said he would bring persistence to the job – a quality demonstrated by his experience as a gay man who worked on Democratic causes in conservative Texas, he said.

Pearce was a delegate last year for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention.

The state central committee is made up of hundreds of Democratic Party leaders from throughout New Mexico. Its members will pick a chairman and other party officers as part of a daylong meeting today at Atrisco Heritage Academy on the West Side.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » NM Democrats voting today for state party chair

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

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

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
It's here: Tesla opens second New Mexico location
ABQnews Seeker
The Tesla facility, which sits just ... The Tesla facility, which sits just northwest of the Santa Ana Star Casino, is the second in New Mexico. In 2021, the electric vehicle ...
Vanessa Patricks to host events featuring drag stars Kerry ...
ABQnews Seeker
At 9 p.m. Friday, June 2, ... At 9 p.m. Friday, June 2, Vanessa Patricks will host the Lobo Theater Pride Kickoff with Kerri Colby from "RuPaul's Drag Race."
A program that gives cash to working families transitioning ...
ABQnews Seeker
The program, called the Cash Assistance ... The program, called the Cash Assistance Transition Bonus Program, or TBP, contributes $200 a month - for up to 18 months - to families ...
Hirings, promotions: Albuquerque Business Briefcase
ABQnews Seeker
Hirings, promotions: Albuquerque Business Briefcase Hirings, promotions: Albuquerque Business Briefcase
Dumpling Cafe in Santa Fe knows a thing or ...
ABQnews Seeker
Whether you need a quick to-go ... Whether you need a quick to-go meal, want to enjoy dining in or gather with friends for a festive Chinese feast, make the Dumpling ...
From Los Ranchos to Santa Fe, New Mexico's got ...
ABQnews Seeker
For 11 years, PJ Sedillo has ... For 11 years, PJ Sedillo has been at the helm of Los Ranchos Pride. He wanted to start a free family event after being ...
NM breweries feted at World Beer Cup, Craft Beer ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico breweries keep crushing it ... New Mexico breweries keep crushing it at national and international competitions with their craft beer creations and branding concepts.
Basketball impasse: New Mexico State reaches out to UNM ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico State spoke with University ... New Mexico State spoke with University of New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez Wednesday about concerns Nuñez has voiced about security in the Pan ...
Isotopes lose in Salt Lake City; skid reaches four ...
Featured Sports
'TOPES THURSDAY: At Salt Lake 6:35 ... 'TOPES THURSDAY: At Salt Lake 6:35 p.m., 610 AM/95.9 FM PROBABLES: Isotopes RHP Luis Cessa (0-0, 13.50) at Bees RHP Mason Erla (0-1, 7.59) ...