(Brad) Winter is Coming: Albuquerque Councilor Tapped as NM Secretary of State

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[Image via Twitter]

Nearly two months after the resignation of Dianna Duran, New Mexico has a new Secretary of State – Albuquerque city councilor Brad Winter. The Albuquerque Journal has more:

Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter was sworn in Tuesday as New Mexico’s secretary of state, hours after Gov. Susana Martinez announced his appointment to succeed the disgraced Dianna Duran.

Winter, a Republican, said he was “very honored, very humbled” to accept the position on an interim basis, and said he would work to restore confidence to the office.

Martinez said in a statement that Winter “has the integrity, skills and temperament” to serve as secretary of state until someone is elected in November 2016 to finish out the last two years of the term Duran was elected to.

Winter will not seek the job permanently – and apparently doesn’t intend to give up his other job, either, even as he helps the SoS office get back on track and stay there:

Winter, the first man to head the Secretary of State’s Office since Manuel Martinez, who served from 1919 to 1922, said he “absolutely” won’t run for the office next year, and at this point he intends to stay in his City Council seat.

No state law or city ordinance would require him to resign from the council, and he said he managed to serve on the council while also serving recently – “24/7” – in a demanding job as interim superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools.

“I love being a city councilor,” Winter told the Journal.

Winter, who just started his fifth term on the council – making him its longest-serving member – had retired after his stint as interim superintendent. In a career of more than two decades with APS, he also was chief operations officer, executive director of facilities and operations, and director of capital master plans …

Mary Quintana, a deputy under Duran, has been serving as acting secretary of state since October.

Winter praised Duran’s staff, saying it has “done a fabulous job in the Secretary of State’s Office under some difficult circumstances.”

“When I get in there, the first thing I’m going to do is meet with the team, look at the short-term goals to move the office forward, and get it ready for the next secretary of state to come in,” he told the Journal.

He said he wants to improve the accountability and transparency of campaign finance reporting and make the secretary of state’s website easier to use.

As is almost commonplace these days, the state Democratic Party blasted the choice of Winter – but the state’s leading local election official (herself a past and likely future candidate for the post) said she was ready to work with him:

Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Duran last year and applied to the Governor’s Office to be named as Duran’s successor, issued a statement congratulating the new secretary.

She said she is “ready to work closely with new Secretary Winter to ensure accessible and secure elections for every eligible person.”

The fact that SoS Winter is committed to being an interim replacement until next November’s election eliminates at least some of the potential drama involved with the office, but his task of managing the office as a newcomer in a presidential election year will still be a key story to watch.

Stay tuned …

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