Wednesday, January 03, 2007

STATE GOP STAFF CHANGES

A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
January 3, 2007


The state Republican Party has lost its executive director and communications director, but state party chairman Allen Weh said Tuesday that the staff changes have nothing to do with November’s election.

Meanwhile, Weh said he’s inclined to seek another term as party chairman — which he’s held since 2004 — though he hasn’t made a final decision. The Republican Central Committee will vote on the chairman’s position at its spring meeting.

Marta Kramer, who had been the party’s executive director since early 2005, “wanted a well-deserved break from politics,” Weh said.

“She went straight from (the Bush-Cheney campaign) into the party job,” Weh said. “She’ll be back in some political capacity, and we want her back.”

Kramer couldn’t be reached for comment.

Weh said Chris Atencio, the party’s political director, has been appointed acting executive director. He said the party will conduct a national search for Kramer’s permanent replacement.

Also leaving the state GOP is communications director Jonah Cohen.

Cohen said Tuesday that he resigned because he was hired by a private high school in Las Vegas, Nev., as chairman of its history department.

Like Weh, Cohen said his departure is amicable. “I’m grateful to Allen Weh,” he said.

“I had only intended to work (for the party) for a short time,” Cohen said.

During his tenure with the Republicans — he was there about a year — Cohen was credited with starting a blog called New Mexico For Sale, a partisan Web site that focuses on state scandals involving Democrats.

Also recently leaving the state GOP organization is former field director Storm Field, who will be working for House Republicans in the upcoming legislative session.

In the last election, the GOP saw its underfunded gubernatorial candidate John Dendahl lose to incumbent Bill Richardson by nearly 40 percentage points. The party held on to both of its congressional seats — although Albuquerque’s Heather Wilson won by just over 800 votes — and the only state office held by a Republican, Land Commissioner Pat Lyons. The party kept the same number of legislative seats, though Republicans were already outnumbered in the state House of Representatives by a 42 to 28 margin.

“We didn’t do good, but we didn’t do bad,” Weh said of the election. “If you look around the country, we did a lot better than Republicans in other states.”

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