Home News Local News Ezzell loses race for House GOP caucus chair

Ezzell loses race for House GOP caucus chair

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State Rep. Candy Ezzell, R-Roswell, stands behind a podium with a broom while speaking to an audience at the Hi-Q Venue in Roswell in July. (Daily Record File Photo)

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State Rep. Candy Ezzell, R-Roswell, lost her bid to continue serving in a top leadership post in the next Legislature.

Ezzell confirmed Tuesday that she was defeated in her bid for a fourth two-year term as House minority caucus chair by fellow state Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, in Tuesday’s House Republican Caucus elections. The House caucus chair is the third-highest ranking member of the Republican caucus.

“I look at it this way, I’m still a member of our House Republican Caucus and we are all individual thinkers and we all work together,” she said.

Current House Minority Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, and House Minority Whip Rod Montoya of Farmington, did not have challengers and were reelected to the positions they now hold, she said.

Dow, who represents portions of Grant, Hidalgo and Sierra counties in House District 38, emerged the winner following two rounds of voting by the 25 Republicans who will serve in the House starting in January, Ezzell said.

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Beginning in January, Dow will be minority caucus chair, though Ezzell will still serve Chaves County as a representative for House District 58. Ezzell was unopposed this month when she ran for reelection to her seat.

Ezzell said she did not lose because of her performance. The caucus chair is tasked with setting up caucus meetings, informing Republican members about upcoming legislation and speaking for the whole caucus, and in that position, Ezzell said she believes she was often able to ensure that rural New Mexico was heard in policy debates and that House Republicans stuck together.

“So we presented a united front whenever we went to the floor,” she said.

Ezzell is now the second Republican representing Chaves County to be unseated in a leadership election this year. In the Senate, Republicans ousted state Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, as Senate minority leader.

In January, state Sen. Greg Baca, R-Belen, will be in that position.

Ingle has served in the New Mexico Senate since 1985 and was first elected Minority Leader in 2001. His district includes part of Chaves County.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301 or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.