At its central committee meeting this weekend, the Democratic Party of New Mexico will vote whether to keep sitting Party Chairman Javier Gonzales or replace him with a challenger.
Discussions about Gonzales' successor have focused largely on 2010, when many Democratic state representatives lost their seats, nearly transforming the Democratically-controlled Legislature, and voters elected Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
Albuquerque defense lawyer Sam Bregman says those results motivated him to run for state party chair.
"After watching that last election, I said, 'Enough is enough,'" Bregman tells SFR. "I'm damned proud to be a Democrat and, unfortunately, I think the Democrats here in the state didn't do a good job of getting our message out."
When it comes to what that message is, Gonzales and his challengers list the same key points: social welfare, defense of poor and middle-class workers and jobs.
"The Democratic Party has always stood for, and continues to stand for, the middle class, the working poor and the poor," Bregman says. "We've defended them throughout history."
Letitia Montoya, a former candidate for New Mexico Secretary of State, echoes Bregman's concerns.
"You saw what happened in 2010," Montoya tells SFR. "We need to have a true message, which means we need to have a message within [each] county, but also know what the state and federal issues are."
For Gonzales, the criticism that he wasn't effective in 2010 rankles.
"2010 showed us that there was this huge, historic wave across the country against Democrats in office," Gonzales says. "The criticism that someone else, sitting in this seat, could have prevented us from losing the governor's seat or some of the [state] House seats we lost is either naive or misleading."
Gonzales says that, if elected, he plans a "grassroots" campaign to reengage Democratic voters at every level. It's essentially the same plan put forth by Bregman and Montoya--to motivate precincts, districts and counties around the "message."
The Democratic Party will elect a state chair this weekend during its central committee meeting in Albuquerque.