Political dynasties are a hot topic lately because of potential runs by a Bush or a Clinton. We have our share in New Mexico.
In this election cycle, we heard most often about the King family, but other candidates (at this writing we don’t know who prevailed) grew up with politics in their Cheerios.
Take the two men competing for state land officer.
Incumbent Ray Powell Jr.’s father, a mechanical engineer, came to New Mexico in 1943 to work on the Manhattan Project and helped found Sandia National Laboratories. He retired in 1985, ran for governor and lost to Garrey Carruthers.
In 1963, when all state employees were political appointees, Gov. Jack Campbell assigned Powell to develop and implement a state personnel system, which he did, with integrity and fairness. In 1988, Powell became state chairman of a Democratic Party fractured along geographical and ideological fault lines, which spawned coalition control of the Legislature. Under Powell’s leadership, Democrats won majorities, and the coalitions ended.
When he died in 2010 at 90, columnist Jay Miller wrote, “New Mexico has lost one of its greatest public servants.”
Powell’s opponent, Republican Aubrey L. Dunn, another junior, is the son of a legislative powerhouse.