Richard Ellenberg Resigns, Penn. House Seat Flips, Opportunities Abound

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

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.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



Categories: Election, Political Reform & National Politics, Local-State Government & Legislation

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9 replies

  1. I am concerned that once again the DNC is not being responsive to disaffected Progressives who could not bring themselves to support Hillary Clinton and see the party as not addressing their needs & concerns. Continuing down this path will lose young people entirely and likely bring about a schism that will prevent the ‘liberals’ from recovering the majority. This would be tragic. Where’s evidence of a wake-up call at the national level after the last election? I don’t see it. We need to get Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other like-minded progressives to take the lead and be massively empowered if Dems are to bring so many disenfranchised & disillusioned voters into the tent. Time is running out.

    • I see your points and they are very good. Within the party I do see change. Maybe at the national level it is slow. But then there is also a media problem of there being no oxygen in the room with Trump around. Democratic Congressmen make statements everyday and they are not carried because of Trumps six Tweets that day and anything else he does outrageous that day. It will be almost impossible to get our message out to young voters under these circumstances. Maybe only through social media. There is a new DNC IT guy that outlined some great ways forward.

  2. Remember John Lennon’s free concert to 100 sites for the 1972 election if you were over 18 and going to register to vote for the first time? It was predicted to win the election for McCarthy. Then Nixon pulled his Green Card for smoking MJ and he did only one concert. Maybe this would win over the young and would be a better expenditure of money than TV ads.

  3. Socrates suggests that we focus on a new social contract for the/our future. Here are three suggestions. A short reading. Go ahead and click on it.

    I would like to add that the new social contract should also be built on three ethical pillars/principles.
    1-Care of the Earth.
    2-Care of People.
    3-Return of surplus to Earth and people (also called “Fair Share”)

  4. Are we supposed to assume that the quote in the box above is from that ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates? Anyone who has ever read his writings, would know that he never would have written this. Can’t we leave these deceptive posts to the Russians and the Trumpites? Can we be better than them?

    • There were dozens of memes just like this all attributable to Socrates. I read Socrates 45 years ago, so it isn’t fresh and I just didn’t give it a thought. It wasn’t as if I was validating my position because the philosopher had this quote, I was simply using it to amplify what I had been asserting. So your note caught me off guard in two ways, first challenging the accuracy of the quote and second suggesting that in some fashion the misquote created a “deceptive post” and comparing it to the Russians and Trumpites. So in the end, the quote is from Socrates, hence the attribution at the bottom. But it is a different Socrates, a character in a novel named Socrates. I stand corrected, but really don’t see how this is a major deception. But thanks for pointing it out! Paul

      • Mea culpa, I was too harsh. Many years ago, I was director of the James Madison Institute at James Madison University. That was before the general availability of fact-checking sites on the internet. I received many inquiries — hard copy and email — about supposed James Madison quotes. Every last one was bogus. I answered them all fully and patiently, so I am not always so harsh. Since then bogus quotes have spread like weeds on social media.

        Could I suggest, however, that you have a special obligation — as the author of a credible, widely-read site — to check quotes before you publish them?

  5. Thanks for the reminder that men always cover for each other. So “regrettable” Ellenberg tried to silence a victim, just one of those little lapses that couldn’t possibly take away from his fundamental “decency” as part of the universal brotherhood.

    These times are “unforgiving,” are they? When did men even ask for forgiveness? Women are just expected to be the long-suffering victims within our own movements so you can all get on with the important business of running everything.

  6. There is alot more back story behind the Ellenberg resignation. Particularly the Eddy County Petition for his resignation, the illegal proxy voting and Ellenberg’s attempt to coerce Governor Candidate Peter Debenedittis into not backing Apodaca, then attempting to cut his mic when this occurred. Its surprising you did not address any of this.

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