Sen. Jacob Candelaria, who recently changed his party affiliation, may be on his way out of the Senate Finance Committee.

President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said Tuesday night lawmakers on the Senate Committee voted to remove Candelaria, an Albuquerque-based attorney, from the committee as of Jan. 1.

The move still requires a full vote of the Senate, which will happen Wednesday, she said.

“Senator Candelaria has quit the Democratic Party; he’s not been in our caucus since April of this year,” Stewart said. “Finance is a very important committee and we need to have team players on it.”

Reached by phone, Candelaria — who said he will not be returning to a special session of the Legislature in Santa Fe because he is trying a court case — said he was not surprised by the move.

He has been critical of Stewart’s leadership and took part in a bipartisan court action against Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, over the issue of whether the governor or the Legislature has the right to allocate federal dollars.

In November, the state Supreme Court ruled against the governor in that case.

“It’s clear retaliation from a Senate Democratic leadership that I have no respect for,” said Candelaria, who announced he was switching his party alliance from Democrat to decline-to-state earlier this month.

Stewart said if the Senate agrees to remove Candelaria, who has served in the Legislature since 2013, he will serve on the Senate Education and Public Affairs committees.

If the Senate approves of the move, Sen. Michael Padilla, D-Albuquerque, will take Candelaria’s on the Finance Committee.

Candelaria said Senate leaders know he is not able to take part in the last few days of the special session and thus are “cowardly” to place the question on the floor when “I am not there to debate the issue.”

But he added: “I’m not losing any sleep over it.”

(9) comments

Mike Johnson

Typical MLG/Mimi political retribution and retaliation, disgusting what they do to good legislators who disagree with them. This is dirty politics NM left wig politicians practice regularly, remember Carl Trujillo.

Tim Herrera

That's the way things work in New Mexico. The late Speaker of the House was notorious for this type of behavior. If you were a legislator and went against him you would be lucky to be dog catcher when he was done with you. He and his family played Mr. Trujillo and his family dirty too. But, they will look you in the eye and smile as if they have done no wrong.

John Cook

It's about time. The good senator has been acting out of nothing but personal pique since his bill didn't get passed in the last session. Leadership wouldn't be doing its job if Cadelaria wern't replaced on finance by someone who will show up and work.

Richard Reinders

What does being a Democrat have to do with his position on the committee, are only Democrats allowed on committees? They felt he was the right person to do the job when he was picked for the committee, political affiliation should have nothing to do with the job. The progressive Democrats are showing their colors Candelaria is not the only Person or Democrat they are going after. These progressive Democrats want a one party system.

Cynthia Paxton

Perfectly stated.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] MLG, Mimi, and the Santa Fe Ring play dirty politics all the time.

Alisha Catanach

Not surprised that one of the only Senators questioning the corruption within MLG administration, including challenging her illegal use of Fed pandemic funds, gets kicked off the State Finance Committee from Mimi Steward, who obviously doing it for retaliation. Thank you for fighting the good fight Senator Candelaria. You know what's really going on with the corrupt politicians in this state and I commend you for your due diligence, integrity, and public service.

Laurie Buffer


Mike Johnson


Welcome to the discussion.

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