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Thursday, February 11, 2021

GOP Congress Hopeful Preps Lawsuit To Force Primary Elections For Haaland Vacancy; Closed Door Method Called "Insanely Un Democratic", Plus: Some Reader Mailbag 

Eddy Aragon
There's not much public support for the closed door method that will be used to pick the major party nominees when the ABQ congressional seat becomes vacant upon the Senate confirmation of Dem Rep. Deb Haaland as Sec. of Interior. And now there's a lawsuit to force open those doors. 

GOP congressional hopeful Eddy Aragon is going to court to force the major parties--Dem, R and Libertarian--to have primary elections to choose their congressional candidates, instead of the small group of party central committee members that are responsible under current law with doing the task.

Aragon, an ABQ radio station owner, and a proud Trump Republican, says:

It is insanely un-democratic for a group of 134 people to determine a nominee for a federal election – or any election. Given our state’s long history of corruption, you’d hope that back-room deals between elite power brokers would be in our past. But it’s happening again, right now.

The fiery Aragon, who recently made an unsuccessful challenge to unseat NM GOP Chairman Steve Pearce, added:

The Republican Party is becoming more and more irrelevant. They act as elites, but grassroots Republicans are now strongly anti-elitist. . . My campaign ushers in a new political and social era. We common people, we working people, are not going to take any more abuse from the political ruling class.

Aragon is suing the the Secretary of State in federal court to make the change to a primary system. Details have not yet been released for what will be a long shot lawsuit. 

The court action comes with the special election looming. Haaland is expected to be confirmed in March. The election will be called by the SOS for no later than 91 days after the vacancy. Aragon would like a primary during the first month and two months for the general election.

In addition to Aragon, Michaela Chavez, Ron Lucero, Peggy Muller Aragon and Jared Vander Dussen are seeking the GOP nomination. 

The bad news for that group is that the ABQ seat is decidedly blue and the GOP nomination is worth about the same as a current season ticket for Lobo basketball. Not much. 

PRIMARY SLOW ROLL

Meanwhile at the Roundhouse, a bill from Rep. Daymon Ely that would implement a primary system for congressional vacancies is getting the slow roll treatment from ABQ senator and election law powerhouse Daniel Ivey-Soto. He was the major author of a reform bill that did away with primaries for congressional vacancies. 

Ivey-Soto's quip that he would "give the bill a hearing" in Senate Rules Committee, which he chairs, was seen by wall-leaners as the kiss of death for the measure this year.

GOP INFIGHTING

Aragon's lawsuit comes on the heels of Roswell area State Rep. Phelps Anderson switching his party registration from Republican to independent after getting intense heat for a pro-choice vote he cast in a House committee. The state GOP is now calling on Anderson to resign:

He has betrayed the people of his district. He ran as a Republican, and he’s chosen to leave those who had trusted him to represent them in Santa Fe. . .The principled action would have been to re-register before the election. Instead, voters got a bait and switch from someone they trusted with their vote.

While the GOP squabbling intensifies, their plight has not hit bottom. Later this year it's expected that legislative Democrats will redistrict the southern congressional seat to make it more difficult for GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell to win re-election.

MAILBAG

Santa Fe reader Chris Brown, a political junkie as well as an astronomy/photography buff, writes of our Wednesday blog on broadband:

Congratulations on highlighting space-based internet as the realistic rural broadband solution. Wondered how many in the legislature knew about it?

What would it cost the state to make up the difference for rural folk between $100 per month for a satellite service vs. the average cost of $65 (PC Mag) the rest of us pay? If multiple companies begin providing service, the state could request competing bids to get the best price. Elon Musk has orbited thousands of Starlinks. 

Here are some Starlinks in the Big Dipper last year before SpaceX dimmed them at the request of astronomers. 

Thanks, Chris. A very cool snapshot. 

Reader Thom Cole takes issue with our description of Columbus, Ohio as "unheralded":

I don't know what you mean by unheralded. It is the capital of Ohio and home to Battelle Memorial Institute, Fortune 500 companies and The Ohio State University, one of the nation's great land-grant schools.

All hail Columbus!

THE BOTTOM LINES

The Guv announced Wednesday more counties will be able to operate under fewer restrictions as the COVID pandemic eases. For those of us who haven't been inside a restaurant in a long while, that gets us wondering about where to make our first stops. No challenge here. We've been unable to collect on a friendly wager from the November election. But that all changes now. There's a table at the Santa Fe Compound with our name on it so get busy Chef Kiffin. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

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