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Joe Carraro Leaves GOP, Registers Independent

By Sue Major Holmes
Associated Press
      State Sen. Joe Carraro has left the Republican Party and registered as an independent.
    "I've always been more independent and less a party person, generally speaking," Carraro said today. "I've always tried to represent people and not parties."
    Carraro switched his registration Oct. 4. He has been in the Legislature for more than 20 years and ran unsuccessfully for the 1st Congressional District seat in the Republican primary in June.
    His opponent, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, won with 82 percent of the vote after being endorsed by the national Republican Party, an unusual move in a contested primary.
    Carraro made the primary ballot by filing extra petitions after failing to get enough votes at the GOP's preprimary nominating convention. He complained bitterly about the endorsement and a fundraiser for White that featured President Bush.
    Carraro, a business consultant, contended the endorsement broke state law. Republican Party officials responded there was no violation because federal law pre-empts state law in elections for federal offices.
    "I've been a Republican all these years and now they turned against me, the leadership," Carraro said.
    "I look at it, they left me," he added.
    Carraro, who has represented an Albuquerque and Rio Rancho district in the state Senate since 1986, said he never lost a general election.
    But, he said, "instead of (saying) who's the best candidate ... they went through extraordinary measures to keep me out of the general election."
    "I thought I could make a difference back there, being someone outside of Washington, being able to take on these people ... and then to have the Republican Party say, 'We're not going to allow you to do this,'" he said.
    Carraro gave up his state Senate seat this year to run for Congress and doesn't plan to seek office again.
    "It's so nice to be out of politics," he said. "It's a relief."


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