Democrat New Mexico state senator leaving party as Dems’ power slips

Democrat New Mexico state Sen. Jacob Candelaria has officially left his party over what he describes as “unconstitutional acts” by the state’s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham (D).

“I announce today that I’ve submitted to the Secretary of State a reregistration, changing my registration,” Candelaria said, according to the New Mexico Political Report. The move comes as Democrats’ power in Washington continues to slip, with even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) not having enough swing in her caucus to rally them behind President Joe Biden’s agenda.

“It’s been a beautiful chapter — it’s been incredibly rewarding — but it’s also incredibly demanding,” Candelaria said this week, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican.

“At this point, I’m happy to say that my husband and my future children require my full measure of attention,” the lawmaker and attorney added. “They need to come first, and I just can no longer give what it requires to do the job, honestly, and it’s time for someone else to step in and do that.”

“Partisan ambitions”

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that Candelaria also cited gerrymandering and partisanship as reasons for his departure from the party.

“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,” he 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 added.

A growing trend?

According to Ballotpedia, Candelaria is only the fourth legislator in New Mexico to have switched parties since the early 1990s. “Three legislators switched to independents, and one switched to the Democratic Party,” the outlet reports.

The report added: “Across the country, Ballotpedia has identified 24 state legislators who have switched from the Democratic Party to independent since 1994.”

Most recently, many on the left have called for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, to leave his party as he continues to spar with the Biden White House over its progressive — and pricey — agenda.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other GOP senators have even suggested Manchin would be welcomed with open arms. “Obviously we would love to have him on our team,” McConnell said in a recent interview, according to The Hill. “I think he’d be more comfortable.”

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