FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2021
Contact: Joaquin Romero
Senate Committee Advances Bill Creating Special Primary Election for U.S. Representative
SANTA FE – The Senate Rules Committee today advanced Senate Bill 254 (SB 254), sponsored by Republican Senator Mark Moores (District 21-Bernalillo) and Democratic Representative Damon Ely (District 23-Bernalillo and Sandoval), with bipartisan support. If enacted, SB 254 would create a special primary election when there is a special general election to fill a vacancy for the office of U.S. representative.
“In any election, the voters – not the political parties – should determine who advances,” said Senator Moores. “This bill gives power to the electorate to choose their candidates and requires candidates to demonstrate voter support versus mere party support.”
As the law is currently written, candidates for a special election to fill a vacancy for U.S. Representative are selected by the central committees of the major political parties. SB 254 would replace that process with a special primary election in which voters would select the candidates who would advance to the special general election.
“Though this bill may cost more money and take more time, I fundamentally disagree with the alternative in which hundreds of thousands of New Mexico voters are disenfranchised from the process,” added Senator Moores. “This bill is about strengthening the democratic process and I thank the committee and my co-sponsor, Representative Ely, for the bipartisan support.”
Under the Rules Committee amended provisions of SB 254, candidates for the special primary election, including minor party, independent, and write-in candidates, may qualify by collecting a required number of nominating signatures or paying a filing fee of $1,000.
SB 254 will now advance to the Senate Judiciary Committee.