Say what you’ll about state Rep. Phelps Anderson, however he is no publicity hound.
Anderson, who lately stop the Republican Get together, voted with Democrats final week to repeal New Mexico’s 1969 anti-abortion regulation.
The choice marked a turnabout for Anderson. In 2019, he voted to retain the previous, poorly written and unenforceable regulation criminalizing abortion.
Not this time. Anderson, now an unbiased, sided with 39 Democrats in voting to get rid of the anti-abortion regulation.
The repeal measure, Senate Invoice 10, cleared the Home of Representatives on a 40-30 vote.
Subsequent, the invoice goes to Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who will signal it.
Anderson has sidestepped my questions on why he modified his stand in regards to the anti-abortion measure.
However hasn’t misplaced his humorousness, even after the state Republican Get together referred to as on him to resign from the Legislature.
After leaving the Republican Get together, Anderson modified his voter registration to “declined to state,” New Mexico’s free model of independents.
After I requested Anderson, 69, if he had any response to the Republicans who need him out, he despatched me a wry message.
“On behalf of your entire DTS delegation, I’m prepared for lunch,” he wrote.
Anderson, of Roswell, is getting nearly all the warmth for breaking social gathering ranks on abortion.
Far much less consideration has gone to the six Democrats within the Home of Representatives who final week joined with Republicans in a failed try to save lots of the anti-abortion statute.
Generally, hometown voters weren’t stunned or riled by their Democratic representatives siding with Republicans.
4 of the Democrats — Reps. Anthony Allison, D. Wonda Johnson, Patricia Lundstrom and Candie Sweetser — additionally voted in 2019 to retain the previous anti-abortion regulation.
All from rural districts, they have been reelected final yr with out problem.
Political life may get tougher for Rep. Harry Garcia, D-Grants, who modified his place. He voted to repeal the anti-abortion regulation in 2019, however did the other this time.
The opposite Home Democrat who voted final week in favor of the previous regulation was Rep. Ambrose Castellano. He’s a freshman from Serafina in San Miguel County.
Abortion was a extra vital situation to the way forward for state senators.
Eight Senate Democrats in 2019 voted with Republicans to maintain the anti-abortion statute in place. Seven of the eight have been focused in primaries. The eighth senator would have been as properly, however he died earlier than the election.
Voters ousted 5 of the Democratic senators within the major election of 2020. Those that have been defeated included Senate President Professional Tem Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces and Sen. John Arthur Smith of Deming, who was the highly effective chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
However the vote on abortion wasn’t essentially what did in Democratic senators who misplaced reelection campaigns.
Critics referred to as Smith and Papen leaders of “the company Democratic coalition.”
Smith specifically had angered the liberal wing of the Democratic Get together together with his votes on monetary issues. He as soon as tried to delay a tax enhance for single folks making greater than $210,000 a yr.
One other of the ousted Democratic senators, Richard Martinez of Ojo Caliente, misplaced his seat after being convicted of two petty misdemeanors — a misleading classification for his crimes.
Martinez slammed his Mercedes SUV right into a Jeep in Española, severely injuring two folks.
A choose convicted Martinez of reckless driving and aggravated drunken driving. He served 5 days in jail, then continued together with his reelection bid.
Democratic major voters have been in no temper to return Martinez to the Senate. He misplaced his bid for a sixth time period by a landslide.
Of all of the legislators who’ve gone in opposition to their social gathering’s majority on abortion, solely Anderson has been pressed to resign.
He was simply reelected in November, and has proven no real interest in quitting. Anderson instructed me he was happy the 5 payments he is sponsoring have been shifting ahead.
Anderson can do as he pleases through the subsequent two years, however he is aware of what’s forward if he runs once more in 2022.
An unbiased has nearly no probability to win a legislative election in New Mexico. Past that, the Republican hierarchy would label Anderson a traitor and pour cash into defeating him.
Votes on abortion do not typically make or break a politician in New Mexico. Anderson seems to be just like the exception.
He wasn’t the one one to go in opposition to the grain on abortion. He is simply the one Republican.
Ringside Seat is an opinion column about folks, politics and information. Contact Milan Simonich at email@example.com or 505-986-3080.