Area lawmaker: Gorham situation ‘disappointing’

David Arkin

An eastern New Mexico lawmaker said in-party GOP fighting that led to the resignation of the party’s leader is disappointing.
State Sen. Ramsay Gorham on Wednesday resigned as chairwoman of the state Republican Party. She doesn’t plan to seek re-election to her Senate seat.
Gorham has been under fire from some party members who said party rules prevented her from being chairwoman and running against another Republican in the upcoming primary election.
Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, whose district includes a variety of areas of eastern New Mexico, said the situation involving his party was unfortunate.
“It’s disappointing to me that we continue to have these battles in the press,” he said. “It just doesn’t seem very productive to me. We can’t seem to get beyond these personality conflicts.”
Curry County Republican Party chairman Brett Johnson said those who lost to Gorham during the last election have been focused on hurting her politically ever since.
“The losers never got over the fact that Ramsay got elected,” Johnson said. “Instead of joining forces they did everything they could to undermine her office and her job. I hate that for our party.”
Johnson said when someone loses an election they need to move on.
“In a perfect world once you lost you would say I am ready to work with the team,” he said. “They just wore her out all of the time. It wasn’t good for party unity.”
With a June primary approaching where every seat in the House and Senate is up for grabs, Moore said things could be tough on the GOP.
“It doesn’t look good,” he said. “What really makes this tough is to raise money and support campaigns in the whole.”
Moore said he recognized that Gorham’s position was challenging.
“She doesn’t get any pay and if you look at the heat that people take in that position take it makes you wonder why anyone would want it,” he said.
Moore said he was not interested in the position.
Gorham said she had “concluded that the forces that want to split our party will continue to do so regardless of the consequences to President Bush’s re-election campaign and our efforts to win back the state Legislature.”
Tom Carroll, the state party’s executive director, said Gorham had been “a terrific state chairman, and she’s got a lot of accomplishments and achievements to show for it.”
“What she did, I think she did in the best interest of the party,” Carroll said.
Gorham’s term in the Senate, where she has served an Albuquerque-area district since 1997, runs through the end of the year.
Withdrawing as a candidate for re-election leaves John Ryan, the party’s former executive director, as the only Republican candidate vying for Gorham’s Senate seat.
Carroll said a meeting of the party’s central committee would be called within 30 days to elect a new chairman.
“I understand her frustration, because she has just been under constant attack by a small group of malcontents, and that’s hard for anybody to take,” said former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley, a Clovis native and an ally of Gorham.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.