Lining up for the Job

Gov. Susana Martinez expected to appoint interim secretary of state, accepting résumés and recommendations

Gov. Susana Martinez says she expects to fill the interim position soon; last week, Martinez said she'll be accepting résumés and recommendations from  the public to replace former Secretary of State Dianna Duran.

Duran, the first Republican to hold the office in New Mexico since 1928, resigned suddenly last week and then pleaded guilty to four misdemeanors and two felonies in connection with using $13,000 in campaign contributions to pay off gambling debts. She also admitted illegally transferring the money into her private account.

The appointee will have the choice to run in the general election next November for a four-year term. But if he or she decides not to run, then the seat will "be wide open on both sides of aisle," notes Viki Harrison, an executive director for Common Cause, a nonprofit that dedicates itself to campaign finance reform and making sure that state government is transparent during elections.

"I expect campaigning to start immediately after the appointment," Harrison says.

Heather Ferguson, campaign elections manager for Common Cause, says Duran's departure from office last week led to the cancellation of a very important public hearing to talk about loopholes in the state's campaign finance law, which currently allows, she says, for too much anonymity in PAC advertisements.

"You could drive a Winnebago through this hole, it's so big," Ferguson tells SFR. "It's important that the people know who is paying for political advertising and what sorts of special interests they have."

Until Martinez fills the job, Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana leads the office.

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