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SANTA FE — State Sen. Aubrey Dunn was a master tactician and understood state finances perhaps better than anyone else ever has. He died last week at 84.
Dunn was business manager and part owner of the Alamogordo Daily News. He also had an apple orchard at High Rolls. At the Legislature he preferred to call himself an apple farmer likely because that was safer than saying he was in the newspaper business.
Aubrey was a Democrat but if he were in the Legislature today, he’d probably be a Republican. It was shortly after his 1980 resignation from the Legislature that Democrats in the Southeastern part of the state started changing their registration to Republican or getting beaten by Republicans.
Dunn was conservative. He thought like a business manager — or an apple grower.
During the period he reigned as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrats held a good 30 out of the 42 seats in the Senate.
In the House, Republicans and conservative Democrats had formed a conservative coalition to take control. In the Senate that wasn’t necessary since most Democrats already were conservative and Dunn was in control of the money.
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