ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — The Republican Party of New Mexico has called on a state representative who disaffiliated with the party to resign. State Rep. Phelps Anderson earlier this month left the Republican Party after voting in favor of a Democratic-backed abortion bill.
Anderson, who represents portions of the Chaves, Lea and Roosevelt counties, sided with seven Democrats in repealing a 1969 abortion law that bans and criminalizes the procedure. He then changed his party voter registration to “decline to state.”
The executive board of the state GOP voted unanimously on Tuesday to request Anderson’s resignation. “Rep. Anderson should step down immediately,” said Steve Pearce, the chairman of the Republican Party of New Mexico, in a statement. “He has betrayed the people of his district. He ran as a Republican, and he’s chosen to leave those who had trusted him to represent them in Santa Fe.”
He was first elected as a Republican to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1977 and served through 1980. He had also served as chair of the Republican Party of Chaves County and in 2002 unsuccessfully ran for the state’s 2nd Congressional District as a Republican.
Anderson was elected to the state House of Representatives again in 2018 and won reelection in 2020 to represent his staunchly Republican district. The decision to change his party means Democrats now hold an advantage over Republicans in the House.