Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ellenberg Wins SF Dem Chair Contest

After a campaign in which both sides said contained behind-the-scenes racial undertones, Santa Fe County Democrats on Tuesday elected retired lawyer Richard Ellenberg as its county chairman.

Ellenberg, who practiced law in Georgia before moving to Santa Fe, defeated native Santa Fe resident Jose Morfin by a vote of 240 to 214. Morfin has been active in local politics since the early 1980s when he ran for a seat on the County Commission.

Ellenberg replaces Minnie Gallegos, who has held the post since 2001.

Both Ellenberg and Morfin — as well as a string of state and local Democratic leaders who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting — stressed the importance of Democrats uniting and working as a team no matter who won the chairmanship.

By their comments after the vote was announced, Ellenberg supporters indicated they believe the election marked a shift in the local party.

“It’s a revolution!” one woman said.

“You kick ass and straighten the Democrats out,” one woman told Ellenberg.

The contest, according to supporters of both candidates, was marked by racial innuendoes and whisper campaigns on both sides.

More in Wednesday's New Mexican. (CLICK HERE)