Lea County questioning need for sheriff's election

February 13, 2012 • State News

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Officials in Lea County are questioning whether Gov. Susana Martinez was wrong when she ordered them to hold an election for sheriff this year.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports the county is [auth] asking the state attorney general for an opinion on whether it needs to hold an election.

County commissioners appointed Mark Hargrove as interim acting sheriff in December after Sheriff Rod Coffman died in an apparent suicide. The county believes Hargrove can fill the remainder of Coffman’s term, which expires in 2014.

Lea County attorney Gwen Gist says the county and the New Mexico Association of Counties believes the governor is incorrect.

She says the state Constitution specifically says county commissioners must run in the next general election. But the language isn’t used regarding appointments made by commissioners.

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