Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Papen Is Considering Challenge to Campos

This just in: Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces just told me she's considering keeping in the race for Senate president pro-tem.

The Democratic Caucus on Sunday nominated Sen. Pete Campos of Las Vegas for that top position. Papen, as well as Sens. Howie Morales of Silver City and Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, also tried for the nomination.

The exact vote count was not made public. But to win the nomination, Campos needed at least 13 votes from the 25 Democratic senators and senators-elect. That means in order for Papen to win, she would need support from Senate Republicans.

Asked whether she would form a coalition with Republicans to do this, Papen said, "I don't call it a `coalition' because the pro-tem position belongs to the whole Senate." ("Coalition" has become something of a dirty word in New Mexico legislative politics since the 1980s when a "cowboy coalition" of Republicans and conservative Democrats ruled the state House of Representatives.)

But Papen -- like Campos did Sunday night -- said she'll be talking with Republicans and Democrats seeking support for the job.

The vote will take place when the Legislature convenes in mid January.

My story about the pro-tem battle in today's New Mexican is HERE.

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