Monday, January 29, 2018

NM Land Commissioner switches to Libertarians

Dunn switches to Libertarian Party | Legislature | New Mexico Legislative Session | - Andrew Oxford, Santa Fe New Mexican:

January 27, 2018 - "State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, one of New Mexico’s top elected Republicans, has switched parties and registered to vote as a Libertarian.

"Dunn said Saturday he is considering his next political move as his term comes to an end later this year. Some Libertarians have launched a campaign to draft him as their candidate for the U.S. Senate.

"Regardless of his next steps, Dunn’s departure from the GOP means Republicans now hold one less statewide elected office. And it comes as the party grapples with factional battles as well as its very identity in a purple state during the age of President Donald Trump.

"Dunn’s move, though unusual, is hardly a surprise. A rancher and banker from Southern New Mexico, he has long been at odds with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.... But he also has been one of the few Republicans to win a statewide election in recent years. Dunn won elected office for the first time in 2014, ousting Democrat Ray Powell as land commissioner in a race so narrow it prompted a recount.

"Under Dunn, the office has avoided scandal. He has rankled some oil companies, however, by imposing restrictions on pumping fresh water from the Ogallala Aquifer. And he has scrapped with Martinez over management of the State Investment Council....

"Dunn’s son, A. Blair Dunn, is running for attorney general as a Libertarian and has undertaken a campaign of sorts to get his father into the race for U.S. Senate.... It would be an unprecedented win for Libertarians. But the party has access to the ballot this year.

"Former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson ran for president as a Libertarian in 2016 and received about 9 percent of the vote in New Mexico ... to win Libertarians a designation as a major party in the state.... Libertarians still only constitute around 1 percent of New Mexico’s registered voters — about 7,260 people as of November 2017, according to the Secretary of State’s Office."

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