SANTA FE — County commissioners in three New Mexico counties will soon be sending names to Gov. Susana Martinez for a vacant state House seat.
The House District 22 seat was held by Jim Smith, a Tijeras Republican, but he officially stepped down March 27 after being appointed by the governor to the five-member Bernalillo County Commission.
Now, that county commission – along with commissioners in Santa Fe and Sandoval counties – will send names to Martinez for her consideration. The governor is limited to choosing from among the recommended individuals.
However, it’s unclear whether whomever is selected will actually take part in a legislative session.
That’s because the House District 22 seat – along with the other 69 state House seats statewide – is up for election in November. Three candidates are running for the seat, Republicans Merritt Allen and Gregg Schmedes, both of Tijeras, and Democrat Jessica Velasquez of Sandia Park.
The district encompasses the East Mountains area, Placitas and Algodones, while also stretching into parts of rural Santa Fe County.