The Bernalillo County Commission voted last night not to put a public financing proposal on the November ballot. The vote was 3-2 with Democrat Steven Quezada and Republicans Lonnie Talbert and Jim Smith voting against the measure. Almost 28,000 Albuquerque voters signed petitions to put the measure on the ballot, to fix a city public financing statute that was hobbled by a U.S. Supreme Court decision back in 2011. Quezada told the Albuquerque Journal he had too many questions about the proposal, and asked, “…why am I making a decision that the city councilors aren’t doing?” Talbert was more blunt, according to the NM Political Report.
On Tuesday, a powerful incumbent who raised more money than any other legislator in a contested election, Rep. Carl Trujillo, was defeated by a young Norteña, Andrea Romero, amid sexual harassment charges. An investigation by a House sub-committee of those charges by Animal Protection Voters lobbyist Laura Bonar is currently underway. While Trujillo amassed a war chest of special interest money, he also raised from individuals about as much money as Romero raised in total. In other words, a lot of people in his district supported him. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the #MeToo movement, which in New Mexico led to changes early in the year of the state Legislature’s sexual harassment policy, including the creation of an explicit process for investigation of charges.
Three Democratic state House incumbents were given the boot Tuesday night: Bealquin “Bill” Gomez in southern New Mexico, and two northern New Mexico lawmakers who found themselves in heated races, Debbie Rodella and Carl Trujillo.