Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New Santa Fe County Chair Elected

At 7 pm on Tuesday April 7, 2009 about 280 Santa Fe County Democrats crowded into a conference room at the Santa Fe Community College to elect a new Chair. I was one of the voting delegates who attended to cast their vote. A total of 453 votes were cast (votes by proxy were allowed) and the newly elected chair was Richard Ellenberg a retired attorney who moved here from Georgia and has been active in the Santa Fe Democratic party for the last 4 years. He garnered 240 votes to Jose Morfin's 214. It was a close contest which divided the Santa Fe Democrats. I certainly hope that the party can be pulled back together as important local and statewide races are upcoming. I took some photos with my cell phone but for some reason they came out really blurry I need to check the settings on the camera and see if I can figure out what happened. I will post a few here anyway.

I ran into Steve Terrell our political reporter with the Santa Fe New Mexican (sorry Steve the picture I took of you was too blurry to post). Lt. Governor Diane Denish joined the group and gave a campaign speech for her race for Governor. Many local and statewide elected officials gave welcoming speeches including myself. The candidates for chair welcomed delegates with tables of refreshments, buttons, bumper stickers and copies of their platforms.

Jose Morfin gave out water, buttons, and bumper stickers that proclaimed
GANAMOS! (we win).

Richard Ellenberg handed out donuts, granola bars, coffee, and did I mention DONUTS!

Richard Spoke first and raised a few eyebrows when he spoke of the Gringo Vote. He did promise to open communication using the web and other means.

Next to speak was Jose Morfin who spoke of preparing to re-elect democrats across the board and also opening lines of communication and bringing new comers to Santa Fe into active membership in the democratic party.

Robert Garcia a County Delegate, Santa Fe County Under Sheriff, and Candidate for Sheriff in 2010 shares a light hearted moment with my wife Antoinette.

For the most part the mood was serious however a room full of laughs were elicited when Interim chair Bill Sisneros teased former mayoral candidate and long time Santa Fe Fiesta board member and past president Tony Lopez about his pink tie. Tony shot back a little later when Bill Sisneros asked the crowd how they liked his new Buddy Holly looking glasses. Tony loudly proclaimed the glasses looked like he took them from Sara Palin. That comment brought the house down with laughter.

I am a County Delegate and I also threw my name in the mix for State Central Committee. The voting for State Central Committee lasted until 10 pm. and the college then threw the democrats out for the night. The elections committee took the ballots for State Central to Denny's to have breakfast and count the votes. A group of us went to Late Night Burger for a late dinner. I checked in on the vote counting at midnight and it was still ongoing. At this point (1:48 am) I still don't know if I was elected to State Central or not.

Just as the make up of the National Democratic party has changed with the election of President Obama, the Santa Fe Democratic party has taken a dramatic shift tonight. I over heard one disappointed democrat joke that a whole group of them should go to the Republican Party take it over by having a hundred dems join the Republicans in Santa Fe County, then vote to endorse democrats. It was a joke but within the joke there was some sense of the division now in the Santa Fe Party. Hispanics are really worried that our current Hispanic democrats in office may not enjoy the same support from the democratic party they have for years. I really don't believe that to be the case however Chair Richard Ellenberg will have to really reach out to heal divisions which came about during this election.

Santa Fe County has long been a democratic stronghold and divisions in the party could change that. The demographics have been changing in Santa Fe and recent elections have begun to show the shifts. The democratic party must adjust to meet the needs of a changing Santa Fe County while not leaving the old guard behind. Only then will the party remain the dominating party in Santa Fe County.


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