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GOP decries Dems’ choice of chairman

The election of Richard Ellenberg gives the state Democratic Party at least three prominent leaders based in Santa Fe – a fact Republicans immediately seized on as a line of attack.

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Dan McKay

Ellenberg, a retired lawyer, was elected chairman of the state Democratic Party on Saturday, and two of the state’s top legislative leaders are also Democrats from Santa Fe – House Speaker Brian Egolf and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth.

A spokesman for the state Republican Party, Tucker Keene, described Ellenberg’s election as a sign that Democrats are out of touch with New Mexicans outside the capital city.

“The Democrats have once again looked toward Santa Fe liberals for their party leadership,” Keene said, “evidently unaware that there are 32 other counties from which they could draw support.”

The state GOP chairman, Ryan Cangiolosi, is from Albuquerque.

There are, of course, prominent Democrats from outside Santa Fe, including Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, who’s from Las Cruces, and House Majority Leader Sheryl Williams Stapleton, from Albuquerque.

State Auditor Tim Keller, State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver were all elected as Democrats from Albuquerque.

CAMPAIGN: Debra Haaland, former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, plans to run for the U.S. House district that includes Albuquerque.

She would be the nation’s first Native American woman in Congress. She is an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo.

“I’ve spent my life advocating for the underrepresented, advancing progressive values, and working tirelessly to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot,” Haaland said in a written statement.

Incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham is running for governor rather than seek re-election next year in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

Two other Democrats have announced campaigns – City Councilor Pat Davis and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, an anti-domestic violence advocate.

‘shaming’: A bill prohibiting schools from shaming students with unpaid lunch bills is continuing to capture national attention.

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, appeared on the MSNBC program “For the Record” on Monday to discuss the measure, which has also been covered by the “Today” show.

Padilla, who grew up in foster homes, speaks passionately about the issue from personal experience.

The New York Times also mentioned the New Mexico bill in a front-page article Monday examining lunch shaming across the country.

Dan McKay: dmckay@abqjournal.com

 

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