Staff and Wire Reports
SANTA FE — State Senate Republicans have re-elected their leaders, leaving Minority Leader Stuart Ingle of Portales and Minority Whip Leonard Lee Rawson in those posts.
“It’s nice to know folks have confidence in you,” said Ingle, who ran unopposed for the post. “I’ve had the job for the last four years and it’s nice that they thought enough to put me back (in the position).”
They also retained GOP caucus chairwoman Dianna Duran of Tularosa during their caucus in Santa Fe on Sunday.
Ingle and Rawson have been in the jobs since 2001. Duran has been caucus head since last year.
Ingle, a farmer, has served in the Senate since 1985. Some of his duties as minority leader include overseeing the caucuses and negotiating with both Democratic senators and House members.
“The challenges are always making sure we don’t overspend the taxpayers’ dollars,” Ingle said, “and make the most efficient use of the dollars we have.”
Rawson, a business owner, has been a senator since 1993. Duran, deputy Otero County clerk, also has been in the Senate since 1993.
Rawson was unopposed, while Duran ran against Sen. Steve Komadina of Corrales.
The Senate Republicans also unanimously chose Sen. Joe Carraro of Albuquerque as their nominee for Senate president pro tem. The full Senate — Republicans and Democrats — will elect the president pro tem when the Legislature convenes on Jan. 18.
Democrats outnumber Republicans 24-18 in the Senate, so Carraro would have to gain the support of some Democrats to be elected to the top leadership job.
Senate Democrats, in their caucus Saturday, nominated Sen. Ben Altamirano of Silver City as president pro tem. Altamirano has been in the Senate since 1971 and is its longest-serving member.
Richard Romero, who had been the Senate president pro tem since 2001, will not be back next year. The Democrat chose to run for Congress instead of seeking re-election to the state Senate.
The whip tracks the whereabouts of the party’s members during floor sessions and makes sure they understand caucus positions.
The head of the caucus schedules and runs caucus meetings.