New Mexico State Senator left the Democratic Party, frustrated by the actions of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
State Senator Jacob Candelaria made the announcement Monday as the special session of the legislature began.
He said he viewed the US political system as imperfect because it has created only two parties that demand loyalty and leave “no room for debate, no room for debate, and more importantly, no adherence to the rule of law.”
He later shot at Grisham, a Democrat, telling colleagues: “I don’t think anyone can look at the events of January 6, or at the many unconstitutional actions of this governor, and not conclude that this guerrilla virus is beginning to affect who we are as a country.” …
Unlike many lawmakers who are leaving their party, Candelaria does not change its affiliation with another major party. He is now the second independent member of the New Mexico State Legislature; State Representative Phelps Anderson left the GOP earlier this year due to his supporters of the choice.
Candelaria has for months expressed opposition to the Grisham administration, which has allocated more than $ 600 million in COVID-19 relief funding that lawmakers said should have been allocated to them.
The New Mexico Supreme Court agreed last month.
The judges prohibited the governor, state treasurer, and all other state officials from transferring or using appropriated funds without the approval of the legislature.
“The court recognizes the plaintiffs as having legal capacity on the basis of their great public importance,” Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil said from the dock.
Senator Candelaria and State Gregory Baca, a Republican who joined the lawsuit against the governor, said the ordinance “retained the appropriating powers of the legislature and affirmed the separation and balance of powers enshrined in our Constitution.”
“The attempts of the governor to take unilateral control over our state, undermining the authority of his office and the state constitution, is a blatant seizure of power, and we are grateful that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the people,” they added.
Last week, the couple notified the court that the state had apparently violated the ruling by spending some of the funds.
A spokesman for Grisham told news outlets that the broadcast was scheduled prior to the ruling.
Grisham’s office did not respond to requests for comment on Candelaria’s withdrawal from the Democratic Party.
Will Reinert, a spokesman for the Republican Association of Governors, said Candelaria “saw the same thing that the people of New Mexico are beginning to realize – Michelle Lujan Grisham always thinks she is above the law.”
“The senator’s wise decision is just the beginning of Governor Luhan Grisham’s long campaign, as voters begin to scrutinize her failed reputation,” he added.