Faced with pressure from tea party groups, a number of Republican House members have decided they aren’t willing to support a coalition to make Rep. Joseph Cervantes the speaker of the House.
Sources say a number of House Republicans have decided they’re not willing to vote for Cervantes or any other Democrat for speaker. They instead plan to vote for a Republican – even, potentially, if the Republican they nominate refuses the nomination.
There are also a number of Republicans who want to support Cervantes, the sources confirmed.
That GOP division hurts Cervantes’ chances of securing the votes to overthrow Speaker Ben Luján later today. Cervantes needs the support of most House Republicans to win the race.
But some say things are still up in the air. Though he wouldn’t go into detail about the division in his caucus or even confirm that it exists, Minority Leader Tom Taylor said there are “a few things still in the works.”
“There isn’t any news at this point,” he said. “There are still some discussions.”
Starting in Las Cruces, tea party groups from around the state have passed resolutions in recent days opposing Republican involvement in a bipartisan coalition to overthrow Luján. Here’s the language they’re using:
“We, the citizen members of the following TEA Parties, strongly recommend that the New Mexico Republican Legislators nominate from within their own caucus, a candidate for Speaker of the House and vote in unison for that candidate. We do not support any coalition with progressives nor with those with a voting record which contradicts our conservative values.”
The sources said that has had an effect, and a coalition that some thought was fairly solid days ago is now on shaky ground. Republicans held a caucus meeting Monday evening, and it became clear that there was no unity.
‘It will happen shortly’
Though most Republicans contacted by NMPolitics.net declined to comment, Rep. Mary Helen Garcia, D-Las Cruces and Cervantes’ aunt, said it’s her understanding that a number of freshman Republicans are refusing to support a coalition. She said many fear the tea party will go after them in the 2012 election if they support Cervantes.
“If they don’t want to do it, then I don’t think we have a chance,” Garcia said. “We might have Luján in again.”
Rep. Andy Nuñez, D-Hatch and, like Garcia, a supporter of a coalition, said things are still up in the air.
“We’re still waiting to see what some of them Rs are going to do, so we’re still in limbo,” he said.
The sources said there may also be two or three Republicans planning to support Luján. Rep. Jeanette Wallace, R-Los Alamos, is one who was considering that possibility because her district is adjacent to Luján’s. But she was tight-lipped this morning in an interview.
“I don’t think any of us want to talk about it. It will happen shortly, so then everyone will know,” Wallace said.