House Democrats stick with Lujan for speaker

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — House Democrats are retaining their top leadership and sticking with Ben Lujan of Santa Fe as their nominee to become speaker of the House.

The 37-member Democratic caucus selected their leadership team Saturday during a closed-door meeting in the Capitol.

Lujan overcame a challenge from Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces.

Besides Lujan, Democrats voted to keep W. Ken Martinez of Grants as majority floor leader and Sheryl Williams Stapleton of Albuquerque as majority whip.

Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup was selected caucus chairwoman in a three-way race. She replaces John Heaton of Carlsbad, who was defeated in the general election.

The speakership won't become final until January when the Legislature convenes and all 70 members cast votes on the top leadership position.