By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
Update: A public memorial service for Stephen Easley will be held on Tuesday, August 20th at 2 p.m. at the Roundhouse Capitol Rotunda.
SANTA FE — Rep. Stephen Easley, D-Santa Fe, died unexpectedly Wednesday. He was 60.
Details were sketchy about the cause of death, but a Facebook post from the Easley family said the first-year state rep “passed away from complications related to an infection,” but did not elaborate. He is survived by his wife, Sue, two daughters and two granddaughters.
Easley was a liberal Democrat in a district that included progressive strongholds such as Eldorado and southeastern Santa Fe County, as well as more moderate precincts in Torrance, Valencia and Bernalillo counties.
“I talked to him just a few days ago,” Santa Fe County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Ellenberg told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “and he was feeling strong and looking to be active after a stay in the hospital.”
The process for replacing Easley consists of county commissioners in the four counties in District 50 nominating candidates to serve the remaining year in Easley’s term. Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties have Democratic Party majorities, but the commissions in Torrance and Valencia have Republican majorities.
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez makes the final selection. If she chooses a Republican, the Democratic advantage in the House would shift from 38-32 to 37-33.
In November, Easley received nearly 56 percent of the vote against Republican opponent Charles Larry Miller.
Contact Rob Nikolewski at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski