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High court rules against disqualified candidate


The New Mexico Supreme Court affirmed the disqualification of a Las Cruces Republican seeking to challenge a long-time statehouse representative.

Ronnie Sisneros’ disqualification was affirmed on May 9 following a Supreme Court order. The ruling effectively confirmed that District 37 Rep. Joanne Ferrary, a Democrat who has held the seat since 2017, will remain in office. 

Sisneros was disqualified after changing the headers of his petition forms. 

In an interview with the Bulletin, Sisneros railed against the Clerk’s office and accused “badged Democratic election workers and county clerk employees” of providing preferential treatment to Democrats over Republicans, especially upon filing to run. 

Sisneros connected this experience with his complaints about the Democratic party’s support of abortion, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and the rights of transgender people. 

"What about my diversity? What about my equity? What about my inclusion? I guess it doesn't apply unless you sign on with exactly what they want. No. I'm pro-life, not pro-Planned Parenthood. And I happen to know I'm not signing up to have boys go to girls' bathrooms," Sisneros said when asked why he changed the headers. 

The County Clerk’s Office denied providing preferential treatment to any candidate in any election.

“I looked for every possible way to keep him on the ballot,” Clerk Amanda López Askin said.

López Askin also noted that Democrat candidates were disqualified just as Sisneros was.

In March, Sisneros was first disqualified by the Doña Ana County Clerk’s office. According to letters provided to the Bulletin by the office, the candidate had changed his nomination forms in breach of election rules. 

To run for state representative, a prospective candidate must return the signatures of 32 district residents. For Sisneros, this meant canvassing the neighborhoods around the Mesilla Valley Mall, the intersection of Spruce Avenue and Telshor Boulevard and the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. 

Sisneros submitted seven nomination forms and exceeded the signature threshold. However, he altered five of the seven forms by crossing out “House of” and replacing it with “State.” 

The altered language read “State Representative” instead of “House of Representatives.” 

The state election code allows nominating forms to be invalidated in a few cases. For one, the county clerk must invalidate the forms if they are missing required information, such as the office sought. The forms can also be invalidated if the information was changed after the voter signed them. 

After the clerk disqualified Sisneros, the Republican appealed to the Third Judicial District Court. Through his attorney, Sisneros argued that the clerk’s decision deprived voters of a choice in the election. 

District Judge Manuel Arrieta found no reason to reverse the disqualification during a hearing in April. Neither did the state Supreme Court in May. 

Sisneros confirmed to the Bulletin that he changed the headers. He said he found the current header confusing and changed it after conferring with other Republicans across the state. He said they told him not to change the headers.

“Not one of them to the man would say – or woman, because it was men and women – would say how to put it on there. And you know what that says right there? Because they did not want to be responsible. That goes to show you the environment that exists here in Las Cruces,” Sisneros said. 

Sisneros expected his case to be tossed out by a local judge but assumed the state Supreme Court would side with him. 

“This is not over,” Sisneros said, promising more legal action. 

disqualification, Ronnie Sisneros, Supreme Court order