Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eichenberg Joins List of Departing State Senators

Some incumbent lawmakers might not be coming back after today's primary vote. But one incumbent, Sen. Tim Eichenberg, D-Albuquerque, who was facing no primary opposition, took himself out of the running before any ballots were cast today.

Eichenberg just confirmed to me that he's withdrawing from the race and let the Bernalillo County Democratic Party Central Committee decide upon a replacement candidate. (Joe Monahan broke this news early this morning.)

He's not seeking re-election because of his three older brothers are ailing. One has cancer and one recently suffered a heart attack, Eichenberg said. Also, he said, his 87-year-old mother requires care.

Eichenberg says he knows of four who are interested in the job -- lawyer Daniel Ivey Soto, a past state elections director and lobbyist for the state county clerks association; lobbyist and former Democratic Party executive director Vanessa Alarid; and two political newcomers, Kevin Hooper and Scott Lefevre.

Whoever gets the nomination will face Republican Diane Snyder in the general election. Snyder is a former senator who Eichenberg defeated in 2008.

Eichenberg said that his major accomplishments in the Senate include passing the Government Conduct Act. He also chaired a legislative task force that recommended many proposals to consolidate government agencies -- though he said one of his biggest disappointments was the fact that none of those proposals ever got traction in the Legislature.

Eichenberg joins a long line of incumbent senators who decided not to seek re-election this year. Others are Democrats Dede Feldman, Eric Griego, and Bernadette Sanchez, all of Albuquerque plus  Cynthia Nava and Steve Fischmann, both of Las Cruces. Departing Senate Republicans are Clint Harden of Clovis, Vern Asbill of Carlsbad, Mark Boitano of Albuquerque and Rod Adair of Roswell. That's a total of 10 out of 42 senators.