Editorial Favors Public Financing for More N.M. Judicial Elections

The rules for New Mexico’s system of public campaign financing for appellate court candidates and for the Public Regulation Commission ought to be revised, an Albuquerque Journal editorial says.

The editorial takes issue with rules that permit public financing of unopposed candidates, saying taxpayers end up financing unopposed candidates’ “free rides.” It focuses on publicly financed campaigns for two unopposed Public Regulation Commission candidates this year.

The editorial mentions that for the first time this year, an appellate court candidate won election after having received public financing through the comparatively new program, adopted for appellate courts in 2008 (see Gavel Grab for details about the election). In this context, the editorial notes that the winning judge favors elimination of public financing for candidates who are unopposed.

The savings from such a reform could go to expand the public financing program to candidates for district court judgeships, the editorial says, adding, “Not a bad idea. Do we really want our judges taking money from lawyers and others who may someday appear before them?”