The state Republican Party on Wednesday attacked incumbent state Land Commissioner Ray Powell, accusing him of “manipulating the system” and “maneuvering of Democratic provisional ballots” in an effort to hang on to his office. The emailed fundraising appeal on behalf of GOP candidate Aubrey Dunn in the closely contested land commissioner race was sent a day after the state Supreme Court suspended an automatic recount of votes cast during the Nov. 4 general election, pending a hearing before justices scheduled for Monday. The court’s order came in response to a petition filed by Powell, a Democrat, in which he alleged that the recount procedure outlined in an order issued by the state Canvassing Board doesn’t comply with the state constitution and election laws.
The automatic recount order was signed by two of the three members of the state Canvassing Board — Gov. Susana Martinez and Secretary of State Dianna Duran, both Republicans. Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson, a Democrat, didn’t sign the recount order, saying in a letter to the board that he could not sign it after reviewing state law. Bosson recused himself from Monday’s Supreme Court decision to temporarily suspend the recount.
The board has until noon Friday to respond to Powell’s allegations. The court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case at 11 a.m. Monday.