Republican New Mexico Senate and House leaders won't run again.

Santa Fe— The top Republicans in the New Mexico House and Senate won't run again this year as their party seeks more power in the Democrat-led Legislature. Senate Republicans face their first election after Democrats merged GOP-led districts.

Senate Republican leader Greg Baca of Belen said he left the Senate by year's end after family conversations, prayer, and consideration of 2021's Democrat-led Legislature's new electoral boundaries. 

Baca added, “Careful observers of the progressive plan to pit two Hispanic Republicans against each other through redistricting may have seen this coming,” while favoring Bosque Republican state Sen. Joshua Sanchez in the consolidated district. “In short, I refuse to let the radical left pit brother against brother.”

House minority leader T. Ryan Lane of Aztec also declined reelection to spend more time with his wife and two sons. Lane, an attorney who manages a craft ice cream shop with his wife, thought Republicans can win House seats. He continued, “I think the people of New Mexico are waking up to the fact that progressive politics are why New Mexico is consistently last.” I feel that I've left my House Republican caucus well-positioned for success.”

State legislative candidates raced to submit signature petitions for the June 4 primary and November general election by Tuesday night. A flood of retirements could tip the state Senate balance next year, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1. Since regaining the House majority in 2016, Democrats hold a 25-15 seat edge. All legislators are up for election in November.

The Legislature included Native American ideas to strengthen Indigenous voting blocs in the northwest while establishing new Senate districts. Republicans resented measures that consolidated two Republican-held districts. The Legislature's annual session closed in mid-February with many public safety initiatives and a budget plan that delays spending on an oil production boom in the Permian Basin, which spans southeastern New Mexico and Texas.

On Tuesday, four state House Republican legislators from southeastern New Mexico and Farmington urged the state land commissioner to reconsider withholding some lease sales for oil and gas development until the Legislature raises premium tract royalty rates from 20% to 25%.

A letter to Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard warns of job losses and lower government revenue if petroleum producers move investments from New Mexico to other oil regions. Republican state Reps. Jim Townsend of Artesia, Larry Scott of Hobbs, Rod Montoya of Farmington, and Jared Hembree of Roswell signed it.

If royalties persist at 20%, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard stated the state will lose a lot of cash and investment returns over future leases. New Mexico's multibillion-dollar investment trust serves public schools, universities, and hospitals from oil and gas royalty payments on state trust land. The Legislature's accountability and budget office estimates a 25% royalty rate cap would boost revenues by $50 million to $75 million.

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