While Rep. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces scrambles to pick up votes to oust current NM House Speaker Rep. Ben Luján, D-Nambe, at the start of tomorrow’s 2011 Legislative Session, Lujan’s son, U.S. Rep. Ben R. Lujan says he’s optimistic that his father will retain the leadership post.
Following Albuquerque’s Martin Luther King Rally on Civic Plaza on Saturday, Luján Jr. told us he’ll be in the Roundhouse on Tuesday supporting his father.
“He’s been a tireless advocate for our kids, he’s been a tireless advocate for New Mexicans and education,” Luján Jr. said.
While the congressman would not make any predictions he urged legislators to come together especially from a “caucus perspective to do what is right for New Mexico.” He said he has not been rallying votes for his father.
“We’ll see what happens. I certainly hope that the Democrats can stick together. We’ll see ultimately what their decision is.” Luján Jr. said. “ In the end, this is a discussion about the future of the state.”
He hopes “we can have that debate without being disagreeable,” hoping the party comes together before what is expected to be a busy session in Santa Fe.
Luján Jr. says there they Democrats have fundamental disagreements with the Martinez’ administration during “difficult economic times.”
Political journalist Heath Haussamen has been reporting extensively on the two-man contest since November. He reported Andy Nuñez, D-Hatch, has already said he plans to nominate Cervantes, who has been seeking votes from members of both parties.
Luján has also been asking Republicans and Democrats alike for support. Sources say the race remains up in the air and within a couple of votes. There will be heavy, behind-the-scenes politicking between now and Tuesday at noon.