Republicans shake up state Senate leadership in New Mexico

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A new leader has emerged atop the Republican minority contingent in the New Mexico state Senate. In a caucus meeting Tuesday, Sen. Gregory Baca of Belen was chosen as Republican minority leader. The leadership slot previously was held by Sen. Stuart Ingle of Portales.

An attorney and U.S. Navy veteran, Baca represents a district that spans most of Valencia County, the Native American community of Isleta Pueblo, and portions of Bernalillo County. Democrats successfully defended Senate and House majorities in the general election.

Political jockeying is underway to succeed Democrat Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces as Senate president pro tempore. That leadership position wields influence over committee assignments and is determined by the entire Senate.

Five Democrats are vying for the slot. Papen was ousted in the Democratic primary by Carrie Hamblen, who went on to win the general election.

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