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Clinton pocketing NM superdelegates, support of local politicos

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State superdelegates give thumbs up to Clinton

Most area Democratic politicians say they’ll support Hillary Rodham Clinton over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic nomination for president of the United States. In most cases, it’s a no-brainer, considering New Mexico and McKinley County are predominantly Democratic.

Clinton, a former U.S. Secretary of State, has locked up public support from U.S. Reps. Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich. Each is a state superdelegate.

Made up mostly of distinguished party leaders and elected officials, a superdelegate is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that is automatically seated and able to choose who they want to vote for.

The Democratic National Convention occurs the week of July 25 and after the Republican National Convention, which is held a week prior and in Cleveland. Udall endorsed Clinton on the day she announced that she was running for president in April of last year.

Debra Haaland, chairwoman of the New Mexico Democratic Party, a superdelegate and a Pueblo of Laguna native, said she hasn’t decided just who she’ll support in the presidential race in November. Haaland unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor on the Gary King ticket in 2012.

“I don’t have a choice right now as to who that is,” Haaland said. “But I will make a decision on that soon.”

Lujan, the son of the late New Mexico Speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a recent news release that Clinton personifies New Mexico values.

“She puts people first and will roll up her sleeves to change their lives for the better,” Luján said. “Her record of advocating on behalf of women, children and families, investing in science and supporting our national labs, fighting to protect our land, water and air will make a real difference in New Mexico and across the country.”

Mary Ann Armijo, chairwoman of the McKinley County Democratic Party and a former Gallup city councilor, did not commit between Clinton and Sanders, but stressed that she’ll wholeheartedly support the ultimate nominee.

“I will support the nominee, but I haven’t chosen between (Clinton and Sanders),” Armijo said.

Locally, Armijo voiced that all eyes are on the folks that filed Tuesday for the District 3 McKinley County Board of Commissioners seat to be vacated by Tony Tanner. Tanner, a Democrat, was appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez in 2013 after Bob Rosebrough resigned the seat. Tanner announced at a recent county commission meeting that he won’t seek reelection.

Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, said he’ll support Clinton in the race for president.

“She has the experience and I agree with her platform,” he said.

State Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, D-Gallup, said she’ll also support Clinton. State Attorney General Hector Balderas, the nation’s sole Hispanic state attorney and a former state representative and auditor, is a Clinton supporter.

A Democratic pre-primary convention takes place March 12 at the Isleta Pueblo Resort. To date, Clinton has amassed 658 delegates and Sanders has 471. There are a total of nine superdelegates in New Mexico.

By Bernie Dotson
Sun Correspondent