Deborah Baker at the Albuquerque Journal has the latest on the hang up HB 346 had in the Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee. By a 6-6 vote along party lines, the legislation to shift the consolidated New Mexico primary from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in June to the third Tuesday in March tabled the bill for the time being pending further amendments.
Democrats voiced some support for the idea of an earlier presidential primary, but balked at all the primaries being pushed up to a point on the calendar that would have New Mexico legislators campaigning during the state legislative session:
Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, said shifting the date of the primary election from the beginning of June to mid-March would complicate many state elections, since lawmakers and other state officials are barred from raising campaign cash during legislative sessions.
“The idea of making the New Mexico presidential primary earlier is well received, but to move all of them would be problematic,” Maestas said after today’s hearing. “The culture would change to campaign mode all the time.”This is a conflict that often arises in other late [presidential] primary states. The best way to circumvent this impasse may be to separate the presidential primary and move that contest to March with the remaining primaries for other offices following in June. The benefit of moving all of the primaries up to March is to save money not funding a separate presidential primary election. But moving a consolidated primary may prove difficult moving forward.
The bill's sponsor has indicated he will tweak the bill in an effort to keep the idea alive.
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