Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a news conference in August. The governor on Thursday signed a contentious state Senate redistricting bill.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed a contentious state Senate redistricting bill, ending speculation about whether she would approve the measure.

“I am grateful to the community leaders from across the state that held their ground for a representative map respectful of New Mexico communities large and small alike, ensuring that New Mexicans are fairly represented in the state Senate,” Lujan Grisham said in a news release Thursday morning after she signed Senate Bill 2, which lawmakers approved during a special two-week session in December.

The governor previously signed legislation updating election district maps for New Mexico’s congressional seats, the state House of Representatives and the Public Education Commission. But she held off on the Senate map until the last day to take action.

The Senate redistricting map was perhaps the most hotly contested in the session, with accusations of betrayal and gerrymandering during a Senate floor debate. Republicans in the chamber accused Democrats, who maintain a 26-15 advantage, of marginalizing Hispanic voters and favoring Democratic incumbents.

Sen. Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, said the effort was aimed at silencing conservative Hispanics: “If you’re not the right kind of Hispanic, we’re gonna smite you,” he said.

States must draw new election district boundaries every 10 years, based on updated U.S. census data to accommodate population shifts.

New Mexico lawmakers voted last year to create a Citizens Redistricting Committee to collect, review and vet dozens of redistricting map proposals before creating and submitting several options to the Legislature for consideration.

But lawmakers were able to reject or amend the committee’s proposals and could create and approve entirely new maps.

The Senate map signed by Lujan Grisham places Republican Sens. Greg Baca of Belen and Joshua Sanchez of Bosque in the same district, which means they will have run against each other in the 2024 election — or one of them will have to step down or move out of the district and run in a different one.

Baca accused Senate Democrats of “purposefully” pitting the two Hispanic Republicans against each other to edge one of them out of the Senate.

Baca, an attorney, said on the last day of the special session he was considering a lawsuit to prevent the map from becoming law. Baca did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Mike Curtis, a spokesman for the Republican Party of New Mexico, said after the bill signing Thursday, “The party has state and national legal experts looking into options and is seeking the possibility of launching a lawsuit against the maps.”

General Assignment Reporter

Robert Nott has covered education and youth issues for the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is assigned to The New Mexican's city desk where he covers a general assignment beat.

(4) comments

jarratt applewhite

Fair Districts for NM, a League of Women Voter's initiative funded by the Thornburg Foundation's, scathing indictment of the process that led to the adoption of this map is below. I believe they are now considering the viability off a Constitutional Amendment -- a heavy lift, but our only real option. The sole way to eliminate gerrymandering is to take the elected officials out of the loop and turn over the boundary setting to people who's entire aim is fairness.

"In the Senate we witnessed a repudiation of the CRC recommended maps, intentional non-transparency, and procedural noncompliance. FDNM disapproves of the lack of transparency in the Senate’s creation of the Congressional and Senate maps as well as the affronts to a fair process; e.g. Senate Judiciary’s preclusion of virtual public comment at its hearing on the substitute for SB2, as well as Senate Rules preclusion of the same at the hearing for HB8."

Mike Johnson

NMFOG had similar comments, but these politicians do not care what the people think, only their special interests.

Mike Johnson

So again, we are left to speculate what she accomplished by this charade and publicity ploy. But have no doubt, she got something for all this politically or financially. That is the kind of person she is.

John Cook

Senator Baca should file his lawsuit. Maybe he can get Aubrey Dunn's boy to file it for him. The Courts can always use a laugh.

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.