2 high-profile lawmakers, including minority leader, not running again | KOB 4

2 high-profile lawmakers, including minority leader, not running again

J.R. Oppenheim
March 13, 2018 06:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The House floor minority leader and another high-profile Republican state lawmaker representing a swing district on Albuquerque's west side won't run for re-election.


A spokesperson for the Republican Party of New Mexico confirmed to KOB on Tuesday that state Rep. Nate Gentry will not seek re-election, having served in the Legislature since 2011. Meanwhile, state Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes announced won't campaign to retain her House District 15 seat.

The news comes on the same day as candidates file their paperwork pursuing districted and county posts to the secretary of state's office. Those positions include the 70 seats in state House of Representatives, three of five Public Regulations commission seats, public education commission seats, and district attorneys and judges in partisan races.

Click here to see a list of candidates who have filed with the secretary of state. The Democrats currently hold a 38-seat majority in the House. State senators are not due to run until 2020.

Gentry represents House District 30, which covers an area in northeast Albuquerque. He was the House majority leader in 2014, which was the only time in the last six decades when the Republicans held the majority in that chamber of the New Mexico Legislature.

Gentry's decision to step down is a developing story. Stay with KOB.com for updates.

In her announcement, Maestas Barnes endorsed Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter. Voters in the Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, North Valley and far Northeast Heights first elected Maestas Barnes into office in 2014. The district also includes a small area on the West Side.

"I am honored and humbled by the trust the residents of House District 15 have placed in me over the past four years," she said in the announcement. "With the support of my constituents, we have been able to make many positive changes for New Mexicans, especially to increase protections for our children and seniors."

During her time in office, Maestas Barnes fought to expand "Baby Briana's Law" and ensure a life sentence for those convicted of child abuse resulting in the death of any minor under 18 years old. Named after a Doña Ana infant who was raped and beaten to death, the current Baby Briana's Law only applies in the deaths of children under 12.

The expansion has yet to pass.

Maestas Barnes' successes as a state lawmaker include requiring wireless providers to issue Amber Alerts, increasing sentences for DWI, closing child pornography loopholes. She said she'll continue to fight to protect children, end drunken driving, and find solutions to hunger and poverty.

In other announcements, the Associated Press reports former Rep. Thomas Garcia ended his bid for the House. Lobbyist Vanessa Alarid had accused Garcia of sexual misconduct when he was in the Legislature. Garcia denied those claims.

Garcia cited business and family obligations as the reason why he's not running, according to the Associated Press.


J.R. Oppenheim

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