ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As state lawmakers get ready for another legislative session and political candidates prepare for a busy primary season, some Republicans in Bernalillo County see a divide inside their own party.
A few party members are now taking aim at the Bernalillo County GOP Chairwoman, claiming she isn’t doing enough to support the president, a claim the chairwoman denies.
“Everybody here is on the same page, we all want to get Republicans elected, that’s our job,” said Julie Wright, Chairwoman of the Republican Party of Bernalillo County.
While Wright and fellow party member Judy Young both say they want to see the party succeed in and around Albuquerque, how they feel the party should do that may differ.
“Our only purpose is to number one, unify the party,” said Young.
Young and former party secretary and second vice chair Winnie Schmidt both recently signed on to a letter calling out Wright for alleged “adversarial actions” toward the county Republican party.
“It’s not a personal issue, it’s about following the rules,” said Young.
The letter, in part, claims the chairwoman stopped a “Trump Victory Team” member from speaking at an upcoming county convention. The letter states that Wright instead hand-picked former New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez to speak at the county convention. Martinez didn’t initially endorse President Trump during the 2016 campaign.
“It appears as if, you know, the party right now, and specifically at that (chair) level is not really being supportive of our president,” said Young.
Wright denies the accusations.
“There’s no validity at all,” Wright said.
She believes the local party chapter is unified with full-voiced support of President Trump.
“I absolutely, wholeheartedly want President Trump to be elected and we are working well together, with Leslie White, she runs the Trump Victory Team,” Wright said.
UNM Political Science Professor and KRQE Political Analyst Gabe Sanchez says the perceived in-fighting might be a sign of what more is to come.
“I think what it speaks to is I think the president is so polarizing, even among Republicans, some folks wonder, ‘Is it a good or bad thing for our other candidates if we’re too attached to him and his brand?’ and I think that’s really what this is going to be about as we move forward,” Sanchez said.
Bernalillo County Republicans are now preparing for the county party’s pre-primary convention to determine which candidates party delegates support before the primary in May.