In NM, aside from the Ellenberg resignation, two prominent GOP House Reps Decline to Run. Rumors fly about who might succeed Ellenberg. DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee drags feet and equivocates. Details.
Ellenberg Resigns from DPNM Chair. I’ve had my disagreements with Richard Ellenberg, but I voted for him and endorsed him for State Chair of the Democratic Party. I did so because I felt (and feel) that Richard is fundamentally a decent man who is thoroughly committed to the Democratic Party.
But we live in very unforgiving times. Richard has given as his reason for leaving his regrettable mishandling of two recent sexual harassment claims. And by his own admission, he didn’t handle either well. In the face of an unequivocal letter signed by Senators Udall and Heinrich and Representatives Lujan and Lujan-Grisham seeking a change in leadership and with more accusations leveled against IATSE leader Jon Hendry, who Ellenberg had defended the day before, there was really no other path for Ellenberg.
Elllenberg’s departure results in Vice Chairwoman Neomi Martinez-Parra assuming the role of Chair until the State Central Committee Meeting April 21 in Truth or Consequences. At the SCC meeting, a vote will be held to elect a new Chair. And already rumors are flying as to who might compete for the position. One rumor has it that Martinez-Parra will not be seeking the Chair, leaving the position up for grabs. It is too early to name names, but a few of those that are said to be considering running would be much more supportive of Party reform than anyone New Mexico has seen before. This is a race worth watching closely as the implications are enormous for the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
Opportunities Abound: With Rep. Nate Gentry and Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes both declining to run in 2018, the door is wide open for the Democrats to tighten their grip on the Roundhouse. Retake Our Democracy’s Roundhouse Advocacy Team is weighing options as to which campaigns to support candidates actively. If you would like to be involved in Retake’s election effort, please write to me and plan on attending our 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, Roundhouse Advocacy Team meetings. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are exciting times, with opportunities abounding at the local level, in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces, at the state level in the Democratic Party and in the Roundhouse and on the national scene with an apparent win last night in Pennsylvania sending an unmistakable message that the wheels are coming off the GOP bus.
On the National Scene. One month ago no one would have bet on the GOP losing a House seat in suburban West Pennsylvania in a district where Trump had won by 20%, but low and behold, it appears to have happened. While a small number of absentee ballots are still being counted and the margin is razor thin, the Democratic candidate Conor Lamb has claimed victory and while holding onto hope, the GOP candidate acknowledges the steep odds. “Final” results will be announced soon, but a recount in a race this close is very possible. Such recounts rarely reverse the outcome, so it appears a major upset has been achieved, one that portends more such wins in November. But to take advantage of this opportunity, we must not just fight against the old tired ways, we must project a bold vision for what could be. This is something that the Democratic Party, til now, has simply not done at any level. It is past time to announce that “No is not enough,” or that we are “better than them.” When does the Democratic Party offer its budget, tax plan, infrastructure plan and path to citizenship? People are hungry for details. As the meme at left suggests, we must ‘build the new.’
Not All News is Good. For the past year, as Sanders’ appointees to the Unity Reform Commission, we have been working to strengthen the voice of our party’s grassroots in all levels of primaries and caucuses. When the work was finished, all members of the Unity Reform Commission, the DNC Chairman Tom Perez, and Vice Chair Keith Ellison embraced our recommendations. Yet, this weekend, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee failed to advance the recommendations and from I can find online, the only ‘action’ taken was to change wording about the superdelegates from their “influence” to their “perceived influence.” Such bold leadership! Rules and Bylaws Committee deliberations will now be pushed to summer. I am sure there will be a strong campaign to push for passage of these recommendations without revision. And if DPNM elects a reform-minded state Chair in April, that will be one more voice speaking loudly for the Unity Commission recommendations.
Students Walk Out Today. We’ll report on this tomorrow. Hoping for a huge walkout here and across the nation. Maybe, just maybe the tide is changing. It certainly feels like an awful lot of promising shifts in the past few days alone.
Paul & Roxanne