On June 7, New Mexico State Representative Christine Trujillo announced her resignation from the New Mexico House of Representatives District 25 effective July 1. It is the responsibility of the Bernalillo County Commission to appoint her replacement to complete the remainder of her term. The Bernalillo County Commission will appoint a replacement from the list of applied candidates at their Friday, August 11 meeting.
Seven candidates have applied to fill the vacancy. The 7 seven applicants are:
- Cristina Parajón (D)
- Robert Padilla (D)
- Sofia Sanchez (D)
- Brian A. Thomas (D)
- Andres P. Valdez (D)
- Derek James Villaneuva (D)
- Denis Litvinenko (R)
You can review each applicants letter of application and resume by clicking on each of the candidate names above.
The Bernalillo County Commission staff has confirmed that all 7 applicants are in fact registered voters in House District 7 and reside in the district and therefor are eligible to serve if in fact appointed.
FORUM AND STRAW VOTE
On August 2, the House District 25 Democrat Ward and Precinct leadership of Wards 25A, 25B, 25C, and 25D held a moderated, in-person candidate forum where the Democratic candidates were allowed to participate in a candidate forum. The Republican candidate was not invited in that it was a Democratic Party event. County Commissioners Adriann Barboa and Eric Olivas attended the forum and were introduced despite the fact they will be voting on August 11 to fill the vacancy.
On August 8, the Democratic Party of Bernalillo County published on its on line weekly news letter “THE BLUE REVIEW” a straw vote taken of those who attended the forum to be used as a recommendation of who the County Commission should appoint. The summary of the rank based voting is as follows:
- Cristina S. Parajón came in first with 52 votes and the clear majority
- Sofia M. Sanchez came in second with 23 votes
- Sofia M. Sanchez and Derek James Villa-nueva tied for 3rd with 20 votes each
- Brian A. Thomas came in 4th place with 17 votes
- Robert L. Padilla came in 5th placewith 18 votes
- Andres P. Valdez came in 6th with 19 votes
CANDIDATE RECRUITED BY COMMISSIONER
The current makeup of the current Bernalillo County Commission is as follows:
District 1: Progressive Democrat Barbara Baca, Commission Chair
District 2: Moderate Democrat Steven Michael Quezada
District 3: Progressive Democrat Adriann Barboa
District 4: Conservative Republican Walt Benson
District 5: Progressive Democrat Eric Olivas
The legal and constitutional process of filling vacancies in the New Mexico legislature caused by the early departure of a legislator has always rested with the County Commission where the legislators district is located. On paper, it is pretty straight forward process. There are 5 county commissioners and the applicant who secures a 3 vote majority wins, period, end of discussion.
Appointments to legislative vacancies can be very messy because of political rifts.There currently exists a politcal rift between the 3 Progressive Democrats of Barbara Baca, Adriane Barboa and Eric Olivas who have the majority over Moderate Democrat Stephen Michael Quesada and Conservative Republican Walt Benson.
The last time the Bernalillo County Commission filled a legislative vacancy was last year when Westside Albuquerque Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas was appointed by the County Commission to serve the remaining 2 years in the New Mexico Senate caused by the resignation of Senator Jacob Candelaria. The November 16 County Commission meeting making the Maestas appointment degenerated into a verbal slug fest of false accusations, innuendos and slurs with one commissioner even calling another commissioner a “bitch”.
It has been confirmed by sources that the desires of the county commissioners whose district the vacancy falls within, which in this case is both Barboa and Olivas, will be given much greater consideration and relied upon. Therefore it will be the progressive majority of Commissioners Baca, Barboa and Olivas who will decide to fill the vacancy giving very little or no consideration to what is said by the other two commissioners.
Based on the Democratic Party straw vote taken, as well as behind the scenes actions of at least two county commissioners, the clear front runner for the County Commission appointment for House District 25 is Cristina Parajón. Three confidential sources within the Democratic Party, including one Ward chair, have confirmed Progressive Democrat Adriann Barboa recruited Progressive Democrat Cristina S. Parajón to apply for the House District 25 vacancy. One confidential source also said Barboa initially wanted Parajón to run for City Council District 6.
Commission Eric Olivas, despite assurances to the contrary that he has not made up his mind who he will vote for, has disclosed to confidential sources he intends to vote for whoever Commissioner Barboa wants which at this point Cristine S. Parajón who Barboa recruited to run.
PARAJÓN VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS REVEAL MOVE INTO DISTRICT MADE DAY AFTER TRUJILLO VACANCY
It was on June 7 that New Mexico State Representative Christine Trujillo announced her resignation from the New Mexico House of Representatives, District 25 effective July 1. Review of Cristine S. Parajón’s voter registration cards reveals that she had lived in the district a mere 22 days before applications were being accepted on June 30, 2023 by the Bernalillo County Commission to fill the vacancy.
There are 3 voter registration cards on file with the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office. All 3 merit review to clear up confusion.
The first voter registration card is dated and signed by Parajón on November 4, 2022. The registration card gives a Broadmoor street address that is not within the House District 25.
The second Parajón voter registration card was signed on June 8, 2023 the next day after the Trujillo resignation, making the change in her address for voting purposes and determining the House District where she resides. The new registration card provides a home address on Chinlee Street which is in House District 25. The registration card gives the Broadmoor Avenue Street address where she gets mail.
The Parajón’s Broadmoor address did cause confusion with the Democratic Party and the Bernalillo County Commission staff who reviewed the DNC VOTEBUIDER data base and county voter registration records respectively that initially determine that Cristine S. Parajón was registered at the Broadmoor home address not within District 25.
The second voter registration card also contains information worth noting. It indicates she lived and was registered to vote in another state before she moved back to Albuquerque. The second voter registration card provides that she gave authorization to cancel her previous voter registration in the city of Cambridge, the County of Middlesex in the State of Massachusetts. Parajón is a graduate of Harvard University, which is located in Cambridge, Mass., and ostensibly she registered to vote in Massachusetts while she attended college preferring not to vote absentee in New Mexico.
The third Parajón voter registration card is dated July 1, 2023. It gives a Chinlee Street address where she lives and the same Chinlee Street address where she gets mail.
During the August 2 forum, Cristine S. Parajón proudly proclaimed she was raised in the House District 25 by her parents in the Altura neighborhood area. But that is far from full disclosure. What she failed to disclose is that she left for a considerable amount of time to go to college at Harvard University and then went to work in New York City to then return to work for the City of Albuquerque. Upon her return to Albuquerque, she did not live in District 25, that is until she was recruited apply for and run for House District 25.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
On August 11 the Bernalillo County Commission will make the final decision as to who they will select to replace State Representative Christine Trujillo. The problem is that the fix is already in despite all the the efforts of the other applications and efforts by others.
What has happened with the application process by the Bernalillo County Commission in filling this most recent legislative vacancy is so very wrong on a number of levels.
First, you have 3 County Commissions who could not careless what two of their peers think or have to say and essentially collude behind the scenes.
Second, you have a County Commissioner go out of her way to recruit her own candidate and act like a king maker giving no consideration to what residents in the District want and need.
Third, you have a number of even more qualified people who have actually lived in the district much longer and who know its problems and who jumped through the hoops, apply and even participate in good faith in a forum, not realizing that the fix is in thanks to 3 county commissioners.
Fourth, you have an opportunistic politician and applicant go out of her way to move into a district she has not lived in for years and who likely does not really understand the real issues facing the district.
This is the type of “politcal movidas” that destroy the credibility of politicians. It discourages qualified applicants from even applying. This is the very type of politics that gives the County Commission the bad name it has with the filling of legislative vacancies. It also encourages County Commissioners and their appointees to being “primaried” as the seek their own elections in 2024 with Adriann Barboa in particular seeking a second term.