New Mexico Politician Shows Guts, Leaves Democrats

Rare courage.

Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot

There’s a Democrat state senator in New Mexico who has done something few Democrats, or for that matter few pols of any sort, contemplate. He has left his party and politics itself over a matter of integrity. Well played Jacob Candelaria.

In politics elected officials are supposed to go along to get along. So when redistricting comes up every decade you’re supposed to turn a blind eye while your party honchos rape the map for political benefit. That gerrymandering is considered a great perk for state legislatures.

The process usually involves bending, folding, and mutilating electoral districts to freeze out another party’s candidate or incumbent or insuring a friendly candidate’s success by putting many of his voters in one district. The altered map can snake around roads, towns, bodies of water, and other obstacles until it finds the right formula for political success. Is it blatantly unethical? Totally. Does everybody do it? Totally. But Candelaria has a problem with it.

Now, it may be that his goose was getting gored, hence the Hispanic line below, or he actually is acting from sincere indignation. Either way it is bad news for the Democrats, which means good news for New Mexico.

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FNC: “New Mexico state Sen. Jacob Candelaria changed his party affiliation from Democrat to ‘declining to state,’ the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. He announced the switch Monday in the early moments of a special session of the state legislature.

The special session was called to address redistricting, which Candelaria said was the reason for his exit from the party. The lawmaker cited the Jan. 6 riots and recent actions involving Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to support his assertions. Candelaria was one of two state senators who brought Lujan Grisham to court over how she handled federal aid given under the American Rescue Plan Act, accusing her of improperly allocating funds without the consent of the legislature. A judge ruled against her, leading to the matter being on the agenda for the special session in addition to redistricting.”

“I don’t think that the decisions we make should be based on partisan ambitions, and it broke my heart to see already that the Senate maps deliberately dilute and gerrymander the west side of Albuquerque to preserve perceived partisan advantage for some members of the Democratic Party,” Candelaria said. “You would strip representation from people that I represent, many of whom are Hispanic, simply because it benefits you at the ballot box.”

Candelaria, who is not running for reelection, said he is “done playing this game” of politics. Candelaria also called politics a pursuit of “absolute loyalty with no room for debate, no room for discussion and, more importantly, no room for adherence to the law.”  His experience as a Democrat no doubt motivated his statement.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
8 months ago

Can more leave Dem Party??? nationwide

8 months ago

Good for you, now come join the Republicans!