Sen. Dianna Duran, R-Tularosa, says she is confident about her chances to become New Mexicoâ€™s next secretary of state. If she defeats incumbent Mary Herrera in November, Duran would become the first Republican to be elected to the position in more than 80 years.
â€œI expect that the turnout will be great and I feel really good about what Iâ€™m hearing and what Iâ€™m seeing,â€ she said.
Duran was the keynote speaker at the Chaves County Republican Women luncheon, Wednesday, and was introduced by Chaves County Clerk Rhoda Coakley.
â€œIâ€™m so pleased to have such a high-caliber candidate for secretary of state,â€ Coakley said. â€œSheâ€™s helped us so much with all of our legislation that weâ€™ve gotten passed over the years to improve our offices, and Dianna is just our [auth] right hand.â€
Duran is building her platform on fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability in office.
She noted a $300 million shortfall in the stateâ€™s budget and criticized the current administration for frivolous spending. â€œOur state is broke â€” we are in a serious situation and we need to be careful about every single penny weâ€™re spending, and we donâ€™t have that right now.â€
If elected, she pledged to streamline the stateâ€™s election process and eliminate voter fraud. According to Duran, the current administration spent $5.3 million on the 2008 general election. She said that $2.3 million of that was used to order more than 2.2 million paper ballots, although there were only 1.1 million registered voters in the state.
â€œShe ordered more than twice the number of ballots than there are registered voters in the state,â€ Duran said, adding that 68 percent of the ballots had to be destroyed. â€œThatâ€™s like taking taxpayer dollars and putting them in the shredder.â€
Duran took Herrera to task over an incident earlier this year in which county clerks around the state were sent hundreds of completed voter registration cards from the 2008 election cycle. Because of the blunder, voters around the state were turned away at the polls and told they werenâ€™t registered.
â€œThose affidavits of registration have been sitting in the office of the secretary of state for two years, were never sent to the county clerks and, therefore, were never processed,â€ she said. â€œThis kind of mismanagement breeds distrust and a lack of confidence in our election system.â€
Duran believes the solution is to institute Voter ID legislation, adopted by several other states that requires voters to present identification when voting. She said sheâ€™ll be diligent in responding to allegations of voter fraud and make sure that every vote is counted.
â€œEnough is enough … we must bring back good government to the secretary of stateâ€™s office and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m about,â€ Duran said.
Duran has been involved in the election process for more than 25 years. She started out as a voting machine technician, and later served two terms as Otero County Clerk. She is now serving her fifth term in the State Senate, representing Otero and DoÃ±a Ana counties.
A longtime Tularosa resident, Duran is married and has five children and 13 grandchildren.