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Not so fast … NM Supreme Court may boot Republican state rep from ballot

By   /   April 11, 2012  /   No Comments

Rep. Dianne Hamilton (R-Silver City)

Republican state Rep. Dianne Hamilton of Silver City is in danger of getting kicked off the ballot for the 2012 election.

But didn’t the state Supreme Court rule Tuesday (April 10) that some 10 candidates for statewide races who fouled up their nominating petitions will essentially get a pass and remain on the ballot? Yes, but on Wednesday (April 11), the high court listened to an attorney for potential Democratic Party rival Terry Fortenberry argue that Hamilton not only neglected to state what district she represents in some of her nominating petitions but also left off her address and the county she’s running in.

“It’s not punishing [Rep. Hamilton],” Fortenberry’s attorney Lee Hunt told the justices, “it’s following the rules that are in place.”

Hamilton’s attorney, Darrell Allen, admitted that a number of the petitions were faulty but countered that the statute concering petitions “is ambiguous as a whole,” that Hamilton “substantially complied” with the law and there was “no showing of fraud or bad faith on the part of Rep. Hamilton.”

Hamilton is a 7-term legislator who represents District 38 and needed to collect 70 valid signatures to get placed on the statewide ballot.

She collected 154 signatures on 12 nominating petitions. Fortenberry’s attorney argued that five of the petitions should be tossed, leaving Hamilton with 85 signatures. Of those, Fortenberry’s lawyer says 22 are not registered as Republicans or reside in the district, leaving Hamilton with 63 valid signatures — seven short.

But Hamilton’s attorney pointed out that District Court Judge Henry Quintero ruled just last week that Hamilton should remain on the ballot and urged the high court to uphold that ruling.

The justices asked Hamilton’s attorney some pointed questions. “So we should just allow petitions that don’t have the basic information,” asked Chief Justice Petra Maes while Justice Edward Chavez told Allen, “there have to be consequences when the legislature has made laws.”

After going to recess, the justices sent a message to those in the court that they “will take the case under advisement” and directed counsel to file any stipulations of record by noon Friday.

Afterwards we talked to Fortenberry, who served as mayor Silver City from 2000-2006, and to Merritt Allen, Hamilton’s daughter and spokesperson:

Earlier in Wednesday afternoon, the high court placed Jennifer Romero, a candidate for Bernalillo County District Attorney, back on the ballot. Last week, district court Judge Alan Malott agreed with a complaint filed by current DA Kari Brandenburg and booted Romero off the ballot after a number of questions were raised about nominating petitions and signatures submitted by Romero that left her one valid signature short. But the justices reversed the decision Wednesday and allowed Romero to face Brandenburg in the Democratic primary.

So if the justices knock Hamilton off the ballot, the Republican from Silver City will be the only candidate who will have been rejected this week by the state high court.

Getting Hamilton off the ballot will be a big victory for Democrats, who hold a slim 36-33 lead in the state House of Representatives. There is no other Republican running in District 38 and Hamilton would then have to resort to winning election as a write-in candidate — a pretty high hurdle to clear.

Fortenberry is facing fellow Democrat Guadalupe Cano in the June 5 primary.

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.

  • debrarae

    One set of rules for GOP & another set for DNC does not fly. #CORRUPT_MUCH?@NM_SCOTUS

  • Jane

    DID I NOT PREDICT OUR CORRUPT SUPREME COURT JUSTICES WOULD FIND A WAY TO TREAT REPUBS DIFFERENTLY FROM DEMS????? LOOK BACK AT MY REMARKS FOR THE PREVIOUS STORY. !!! GET OFF THE BENCH ALL OF YOU!!!

  • Jane

    By the way, Theresa Aguilar, Commissioner of the PRC does not live at the official residence she gave in her District to run for Commissioner. But then she is a democrat, and above scrutiny.

    David King, former Commissioner did not fill out his financial disclosures every year. He also is above the law.

    So we see that there are indeed two classes of New Mexicans. Those who are above the law elite and the rest of us who have laws used against us when the elite need to shut us up and get rid of us.

  • R Raider

    What did you expect from DUMBOCRAT judges ?? SAME ol corruption exists ,They knew what they were doing when they bought their judgeships , Just like being back in Mexico LOL.. OH wait maybe they expect an under the table payoff from Hamilton , You know a bribe like they are used to getting from Dumbocrats …for favors ..

  • Simon

    go to the website lawlessamerica.com among the articles you will find one discussing the yale law review article on judicial corruption. if you read that article you will find a link How Judges Commit Crimes. our NM state, federal, court of appeals and supreme court judges all maneuver cases in the different ways listed in the article. these include but may not be limited to: 1. ignore the law, 2. cite invalid law, 3. ignore the facts, 4. ignore issues, 5. conceal evidence, ignore evidence or refuse to allow it to be filed in the record, 6. say nothing in orders or enter the favored lawyer’s order as written, 7. block filing of motions and evidence, limit discovery, 8. tamper with evidence or allow favored lawyers to tamper with evidence, 9. deny constitutional rights, 10. violate and ignore the rules of procedure but only as to the favored lawyers, 11. automatically rule against certain people or certain classes of people, 12. order monetary sanctions and fines against disfavored people/lawyers they want to damage or the favored lawyers want to damage, 13. violate their oath of office or demand that disfavored lawyers violate their oath of office, 14. conspire with other judges, judicial employees and lawyers, 15. allow perjury, ignore perjury, 16. deny hearings or order hearings at the whim of the favored lawyers, 17. engage in simulated litigation for certain lawyers, 18. dismiss cases and grant summary judgment using non existant legal standards or by ignoring legal standards, 19. deny jury trials at all cost, 20. don’t publish improper orders (court of appeals sound familiar?). For that matter, does this sound familiar, second judicial district court judges, thirteen judicial district court judges, third judicial district court judges, seventh judicial court judges, court of appeals, Justices Charlie Daniels, et al??????? YOU BET IT IS FAMILIAR BECAUSE YOU ALL PARTICIPATE.

  • Simon

    The federal NM District judges also engage in these corrupt practices.

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