Martinez announces pick for New Mexico Senate vacancy

Governor Martinez
***FILE*** Governor Martinez

SANTA FE (AP) – Gov. Susana Martinez has chosen a Republican to fill a New Mexico Senate seat left vacant by the abrupt resignation of Democrat Phil Griego.

Martinez’s office announced her pick of Ted Barela on Friday. Barela is the former mayor of Estancia.

The six counties that make up Senate District 39 had forwarded the names of nominees to the governor last month. The list included Santa Fe County Commissioner Liz Stefanics, former San Miguel County Commissioner Hugh Ley and former Santa Fe County Commissioner Jose Varela Lopez.

Three counties nominated Stefanics, a Democrat, as their pick.

Griego held the seat for more than 18 years but submitted his resignation last month because of an ethics issue that stemmed from his role in the sale of a state-owned building in Santa Fe. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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