Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nunez Out, Egolf Gets Energy Committee Chairmanship

The rumors were true. Or at least some of them.

Santa Fe Democrat  Rep. Brian Egolf will chair the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He replaces Rep. Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo, who will chair the House Agriculture and Water Resources committee.

That committee formerly was chaired by Rep. Andy Nunez, D-Hatch, the most vocal supporter of Rep. Joseph Cervantes' aborted challenge to House Speaker Ben Lujan, Nunez was the only House Democrat to not vote for Lujan as speaker. 

Most observers thought Nunez said sealed his fate when he voted  "Present" instead of voting  for Lujan. I did too, but I knew it was sealed after Nunez told Heath Haussemen  that if his vote would have made a difference, he would have voted for Republican Leader Tom Taylor over Lujan.

So here's another victory for the Tea Party. Because of their stance against the Cervantes challenge, perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the House has lost his seat and in the shuffle, one of the most progressive Democrats now chairs the Energy Committee.

But nobody can accuse Lujan of punishing everybody who backed Cervantes. He appointed Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Las Cruces, who also was outspoken in her support of  Cervantes' in the Speaker race to be Chairwoman of the House Voters and Elections committee.

Garcia, who is Cervantes' aunt, was previously vice chairman of that committee, which was chaired by former Rep. Jose Campos. Campos, who ran for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor last year, did not seek re-election.

Campos ran for the Democratic lieutenant governor's nomination, but lost. He is the mayor of Santa Rosa.