Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, blasted comments by Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman Sam Bregman that were critical of Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming.
Sanchez did not mention Bregman by name, but it was immediately apparent who Sanchez was referring to.
Bregman had suggested that Smith, chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, should perhaps change parties because of Smith's opposition to tapping the state permanent fund to fund early childhood education. Smith did not even bring up the legislation for a vote in 2013. The proposal is something that Sanchez has championed in the past.
Sanchez has been known to defend other Senators—
especially those in his own party—
from what he sees as unfair attacks outside of the chamber, whether it be the state House, reporters or even just observers.
"No party should ever tell us what we have to do on this floor or how we should vote on this floor," Sanchez said.
"Well ladies and gentlemen, the Democratic Party has always been a big tent and we accept everyone in the Democratic Party whether you're ultra-liberal or conservative," Sanchez said. "Whether you're black, white, brown, we open our doors to everyone."
KRQE covered Bregman's pre-session comments
Bregman said at a press conference that if Smith does that again, it might be time for him to find another party.
"At some point he would have to consider whether he wants to just join the Governor in doing nothing and whether or not he wants to become a Republican," Bregman said.
"No one in our party either that side or this side of the aisle should tell us what we have to do. I'm embarrassed that it happened"
Sanchez also criticized an unnamed blogger who has been critical of Smith—
likely Joe Monahan.
For the blogger who is going to blast me, I'm sorry. If you don't like it, come down here and join us. If you want to run for office to see what it's really like being an elected official run for office and then you might be able to understand what we go through on this floor. We are family on this floor. And I will defend anybody on this side of the aisle for doing what they believe is right and in the best interest of their constituents and the state of New Mexico.
Sanchez also referred to past primaries on the other side of the aisle, saying it should not have happened on that side either.
On 2012, Smith faced a primary in the form of Larry Martinez of Lordsburg, but Smith easily won the primary and went on to easily win reelection.