The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

State official: Curry Commissioner Baca off ballot

Delayed finance report means governor will appoint new commissioner


August 31, 2018

CLOVIS— Angelina Baca, the District 1 Curry County commissioner and the winner of the July primary in her re-election bid, will not appear on the ballot for the general election on Nov. 6, a spokesman for New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver told The News on Thursday.

John Blair, communications officer for the secretary of state, said the office determined on Thursday that Baca was ineligible because she failed to meet Tuesday's deadline to pay a $1,200 fine levied due to the late filing of a campaign finance report.

When contacted by The News on Thursday, Baca said she believed that she was still on the ballot and that she had until Sept. 4 to pay the fine.

Blair said a staffer had inadvertently told Baca that she had until Sept. 4 to pay the fine, but his belief was the point was moot because Baca had indicated to the office that she would be unable to pay the fine.

Baca said extenuating circumstances related to caring for her parent's health caused her to miss the deadline and she wanted the secretary of state to review that.

Blair said that was not an option as Baca did not respond to multiple notices for 37 days and she missed the deadline to file for an arbitration hearing.

Blair said that after missing the July 5 deadline to file the financial report, Baca was sent notices on July 6 and July 23 that she was not in compliance with the law before a final notice was sent on Aug. 8.

Blair said there was no response from Baca until the secretary of state's office called her on Tuesday, at which point she filed the report while on the phone.

He said he felt for Baca and her personal issues but the wording of the Campaign Finance Act does not give the secretary of state's office any leeway in the decision.

Baca ran unopposed in the July 7 Democratic primary, tallying 175 votes. There were no Republicans on the primary ballot for the position.

Blair said because the write-in candidate deadline has already passed, nobody will appear on the ballot for the District 1 commission seat.

If Baca serves out the rest of her term, which ends Dec. 31, the incoming governor would appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the commission.

Blair said if Baca were to resign before that and Gov. Susana Martinez made an appointment to fill the seat, he was not clear on what the length of the term would be.

Blair said Baca will still be responsible for the fine and the secretary of state's could have a district court judge or district attorney enforce it.

Baca is in her first term as Curry County commissioner.


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