• GOP sees conflict in Senate bid by election regulator

    By: MORGAN LEE, Associated Press

    Updated:
    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Republican Party on Thursday urged the state's top election regulator to resign as secretary of state because she is running for the U.S. Senate.

    The state GOP said that Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver should resign to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election. The party provided phone numbers for the secretary of state's office and urged voters to request that Toulouse Oliver resign.

    A campaign manager for Toulouse Oliver said the secretary of state will not be stepping down and takes her current job very seriously.

    "This is just another bogus partisan attack from the Republican Party," Heather Brewer said. "Maggie's record of cleaning up New Mexico politics and working to ensure our elections are fair and clean speaks for itself."

    Toulouse Oliver previously said she has faith the election will be conducted fairly and that county clerks provide an extra layer of independent oversight of the state's robust election process. She pledged to refer complaints about her role for independent review to the state attorney general's office, overseen by Democrat Hector Balderas, or the nascent state independent ethics commission when it begins work next year.

    Republican secretaries of state kept their jobs in Kansas and Georgia when they ran for governor in 2018.

    Georgia's Brian Kemp dismissed as politically motivated many requests by prominent Democrats for him to step down as secretary of state before he was elected governor. Prominent Democrats including former President Jimmy Carter and voter-rights groups called for Kemp to step down amid charges he was abusing his office to make it harder for some Georgians, particularly minorities, to vote.

    Toulouse Oliver is seeking the Democratic nomination against U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

    Gavin Clarkson is seeking the Republican nomination. He lost the race for secretary of state last year to Toulouse Oliver by 20 percentage points.

    The seat is opening because of the retirement of Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

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