GOP division hurts Cervantes’ chances


Rep. Joseph Cervantes (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

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 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.

9 thoughts on “GOP division hurts Cervantes’ chances

  1. Looks like Ben has won easily. The Tea Party can now congratulate themselves, along with Cervantes not offering the Repubs anything to vote for him, I guess. Same old, same old, let’s just hope the bills passed are different and reflect change.

  2. Here is what Therese Cooper with the East Mountain Tea Party just said: “We want the legislators to know we’re serious, We want them to be responsible. We want them to be fiscally responsible. We want them to pass responsible bills. We want them to be on the side of the people. That’s why we’re here.” Then the Tea party is against any compromise. They act irresponsible. So they allow Ben Lujan to be reelected – what a joke.

  3. Ben is a master of counting votes, again I would be very surprised if he hasn’t offered an “R” or two something. Since the Constitution allows for a plurality of votes to elect the Speaker, it is possible we could see a 3 or 4 person race and no majority for any of them. That would at least be interesting and exciting. To think all of this is not settled behind closed doors with back-room deals is encouraging, but of course maybe I am dreaming and not remembering I am in NM.

  4. And this is a fine example of the reason “The Tea Party” will be a thing of the past by the next election: they are a coalition of unserious, self-serving pouters who would rather play politics with the people of the state of NM than do what they were elected to do: govern.

    Clearly they think that sitting on their hands and keeping Lujan in power is some kind of ingenious plan–keep the status quo in the leadership position so you can continue to to nothing in actuality and point finger of blame.

    If you’re an elected leader in this state, the expectation we all have is that you go to Santa Fe to take care of business, what ever it takes–even if it means accepting reality that you are in the minority party, rolling up your sleeves and working with the folks from the other party who represent the future, not the past.

  5. No Lujan did not offer the Rs anything either and he knows he does not have too. There will be bold change you see in the minor committees the split between Rs and Ds will be equal. Given that each piece of legislation must at least receive one minor and one major committee assignment a lot of legislation is going to die in committee and never see the House floor. Also, it is likely that more conservative legislation will make its way through as the Rs have a better discipline record for staying in committee and on the House floor for votes.

  6. Ogler, the R’s should vote for Cervantes because he is the better candidate, not because they will get more goodies under his leadership than under Lujan. But it seems it still all comes down to “ME FIRST!” doesn’t it. No bold change going on here, no sir.

  7. Ogler, if Cervantes didn’t offer anything to the Repubs, then he is not very smart. I find it hard to believe he thinks he could get all their votes for nothing but his winning smile. I would be willing to bet that Ben has offered something to the Repubs, he knows how to hedge his bets and play the game, obviously, if you are correct, Cervantes does not.

  8. Dr. J I have to disagree with you. Rep Cervantes did not offer anything to the Rs so there is no upside to voting for him. If New Mexico again slips back into a banana republic mode it will be the Ds doing, after all they are the majority party. They and they alone have the power to change who the speaker will be. But I will predict one thing, this 60 day session is going to be long and bloody with only a 37-33 split and what now looks like a rift in the D Caucus.

  9. Anyone who votes for Lujan, “D” or “R”, are voting against the will of the people of New Mexico. And if Lujan survives and thrives due to the Tea Party stupidity, it is on their heads and they are responsible when New Mexico slips back into the banana republic mode, Patron system it has been in for many decades. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory is what the Tea Party is courting.