Monday, November 8, 2010

Cervantes considers coalition overthrow of Luján
By Heath Haussamen • 11/08/10, 7:50 am

State Rep. Joseph Cervantes (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

"The talk at the Roundhouse has shifted from the election to a potential coalition overthrow of House Speaker Ben Luján that would be led by Rep. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces.

That’s because, with GOP gains in the House last week, it would only take three Democrats voting with Republicans to elect a coalition speaker. Cervantes met with House Minority Whip Keith Gardner last week to talk about the possibility of forming the first such coalition in the House since 1980.

Nothing has been decided, sources say, and Cervantes becoming speaker with the support of a coalition of Democrats and Republicans is only one possibility being discussed. A Democratic caucus overthrow of Luján is another possibility, though who would lead such an effort – and if such an effort will materialize – isn’t clear.

Luján has already said he has no intention of stepping aside.

Come January, the House will have 37 Democrats and 33 Republicans. Four Southern New Mexico Democrats who have stood up to Luján in the past – Cervantes, Mary Helen Garcia of Las Cruces, Dona Irwin of Deming and Andy Nuñez of Hatch – are being mentioned as potentially willing to partner with Republicans to make Cervantes speaker." More>>>>

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