Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Salazar vs. Garcia in Approved Redistricting Plan

Rep. Nick Salazar
Veteran Rio Arriba lawmaker Nick Salazar will have to face fellow Democrat Thomas Garcia if both decide to run for re-election in the upcoming election. That's thanks to the state House redistricting plan approved yesterday by Judge Jim Hall.

Salazar, who is the chairman of the House Rules Committee, has been a legislator since 1973. Garcia first came to the House in December, 2006, replacing Hector Balderas who resigned his seat after being elected state auditor.

The Salazar/Garcia pairing is one of three in the redistricting plan. In southern New Mexico, Rep. Dennis Kintigh  would have to face Rep. Bob Wooley. Both are Roswell Republicans.

Also, the judge combined two Albuquerque districts currently represented by Republican Jimmie Hall (no relation to the judge) and Democrat Al Park. park is not seeking re-election. He's running for Public Regulation Commissioner instead.
Rep. Thomas Garcia

The consolidations were necessary to create two Albuquerque-area districts and a new one in Rio Rancho.

The plan Judge Hall chose was proposed by Gov. Susana Martinez, whose spokesman told the Associated Press, "This plan does not favor one party over the other and instead ensures competitive districts that will allow New Mexicans to determine who represents them in the House."

Democrats aren't so happy. Rep. Brian Egolf of Santa Fe, who had proposed another plan, said in an email last night:

 "I am distressed that the Judge has ignored the important issue of maintaining Hispanic voting strength while buying into the governor's crass effort to achieve a radical Republican gerrymander under the guise of alleged respect for Native American self-determination.

"The Judge had before him plans that achieve low deviations and showed true respect for Native American wishes; selecting one would have been in the interest of New Mexico's citizens."