Senators throw support to embattled Ivey-Soto

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto is running for a fourth term despite the state Democratic Party’s decision to censure and sever ties with him over sexual harassment and assault allegations, many of which were made by advocates of liberal causes. 

A spokesperson for the party confirmed last week the party has continued to bar Ivey-Soto from participating in its internal activities, a position first made public last August. But the party has stopped short of calling for him to resign. 

However, senior Democratic senators – including some of the most liberal – have thrown Ivey-Soto a lifeline in his contest with Heather Berghmans with big campaign contributions even as changing mores of the #MeToo era test the gender dynamics in the Roundhouse. 

Some of those senators say they support Ivey-Soto in the June 4 primary election because of his open mind and attention to detail in lawmaking and parliamentary procedure. The accusations, made public in February 2022 when progressive advocate and lobbyist Marianna Anaya issued an open letter saying Ivey-Soto groped her at a teachers union reception at a downtown Santa Fe hotel in 2015,  humbled the Albuquerque attorney who is known to toss invective in legislative debates, they say. 

Ivey-Soto has denied Anaya’s allegation — as well as another that he held up a voting rights bill Anaya lobbied for in January 2022 after she refused his advances over drinks at a downtown Santa Fe restaurant. 

But Anaya’s accusations set off cascading events that have Ivey-Soto scrambling to retain his Senate District 15 seat to represent Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights. 

An attorney retained by a Senate ethics subcommittee to investigate a formal complaint by Anaya concluded in 2022 that probable cause existed in two of the three allegations to trigger a public hearing by the full Senate ethics committee. But the subcommittee — composed of four of his fellow senators — instead closed the case. It’s unclear what other information they considered.