Nick Paul, Rhonda Romack and Lynn Crawford Primary Battle for NM Senate District 33


When Senator Bill Burt, R-Alamogordo, announced that he was retiring after 14 years in the New Mexico Legislature, it sent a shockwave of surprise and uncertainty through the region of Otero and Lincoln County. 

Senator Dist 33 Bill Burt retires (

Just a bit prior to Burt’s announcement, Senator Griggs also of Alamogordo had announced he would be stepping down from his position

Senator Jeff Griggs planned retirement (

That opened the door for powerful Republican House Member Jim Townsend to step into the fray and a potential shift of power away from Alamogordo and Otero County and into his home base of Artesia. Townsend has served as the House minority leader from 2019 to 2023

Jim Townsend vies for Senator Griggs seat with his retirement (

Following the resignation of his successor T. Ryan Lane in March 2024 Townsend assumed the position of acting minority leader of the lower chamber. With that position he caries significant clout and privilege. That clout will carry over to the state senate chamber but the power base of Otero County will be somewhat diminished. Townsend has said he is equally committed to championing initiatives in Otero County and Alamogordo to his home base of Artesia, time will tell.

Burt and Griggs are respected around the state as moderate conservatives who understood the art of compromise in order to get funding for projects in their home base of Otero County and were enthusiastic supporters of military collaborations with Holloman and White Sands Missile Range. Each will be missed locally and in Santa Fe.

In the lower house, Alamogordo is represented by the weak and radicalized, John Block in District 51. Most of his colleagues consider him a joke as he garners national headlines for legislation that stands NO chance of passing such as; impeachment of the Governor, abortion bans and sending president Biden $1.5 Billion in New Mexico taxpayers fund to build a wall without a legal mechanism to make it happen.

Ineffective at passing legislation Rep John Block battles Ashlie Meyers (

Over 90% of his proposed legislation never even has gotten printed and debated in committee, yet alone the floor of the house. and he has been rated as one of the least effective legislators on the house floor by his constituents and colleagues. He is unopposed in the primary and will be facing off against Alamogordo Women’s Rights activists pop Ashlie Myers in the general election in November. 

Political Activists Ashlie Myers Challenges John Block for District 51 in November (

The race to watch for state office in Otero County in the upcoming Republican primary is for the seat to replace Bill Burt in District 33. 

Burt, initially said he would run for a fourth term. No one from either major party stepped up to challenge him.

Then Burt reversed himself late in the registration process, saying he would withdraw to spend more time with his family. Mr. Burt has thrown his support behind Alamogordo City Commissioner Nick Paul.

A few eyebrows were raised and there was some surprise, when Nick Paul, a relatively new Alamogordo city commissioner entered the Senate race one day before Burt disclosed his withdrawal.

Most locals in Alamogordo have embraced Mr. Paul’s bid for Mr. Burt’s seat. He is seen as a moderate, a consensus builder, understands business and is a responsible and informed voice on the Alamogordo City Commission.

Mr Paul has a strong resume as an Alamogordo High School star student and athlete. He went to college in California, gained business success and then came back to Alamogordo to build an impressive multi-pronged business in real estate and self storage units. 

Mr. Paul is respected in the business community, volunteer community and with his constituents and makes for a strong senate candidate.

Several community leaders, and a few fellow commissioners were expecting him to challenge Susan Payne for the office of mayor in 2026. It’s been suggested that he would have an easy victor, as Payne has never had real support within her party, and fails repeatedly at building bridges and collaborations with the broader public.

Mr. Paul is a strong contender and the early endorsement of Mr. Burt helped launch him into frontrunner status. 

City Commissioner Nick Paul for District 33 Senate

He is running against two others in the Republican primary; Rhonda Romack, a real estate agent from Ruidoso, and Lynn Crawford, Mayor of Ruidoso.

Mayor of Ruidoso Lynn Crawford (

Crawford would have been seen as the frontrunner had Paul not entered the race as he has been a strong leader for Ruidoso which recently gained another national title. The Village of Ruidoso was honored for having one of the “10 Best” small town cultural scenes in the U.S., part of USA Today’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards

The awards highlight travel and dining destinations each year across the country. This year, Ruidoso was ranked fourth in the top 10 cultural scenes in the U.S., behind only Cullman, Alabama, De Smet, South Dakota and the winner Alamosa, Colorado.
Pair that with Mayor Crawfords strong efforts to petition Santa Fe legislators for funding of local projects, work on water and affordable housing and championing of all things Ruidoso and one would have viewed him as very strong candidate. 

During his tenure as mayor the village has been recognized by the state for excellence in fiscal responsibility and for 2024 he was named president of the powerful New Mexico Municipal League representing all New Mexico mayors and municipalities in advocacy for cities, towns and villages.

Lynn Crawford was at a government conference in Washington, D.C., on the Friday afternoon when Burt dropped out. He had his eyes set from afar and Crawford collected more than 200 online signatures to petition onto the ballot before the deadline to run for Burt’s seat.

Rhonda Romack, a real estate agent from Ruidoso, also hustled to make the ballot in hopes of succeeding Burt. She describes herself as “extremely conservative” and has hitched her wagons to the radicalized John Block walking neighborhoods in Alamogordo together in an effort to elevate her name for recognition. 

Rhonda Romack hitches onto Rep John Block for name recognition seeking District 33 Senate position (

The race is heating up with each candidate putting out signs and starting to press the flesh for voter support and actual turnout

Many in Ruidoso were hoping Romack would step out. With her out a strong race would emerge between Crawford and Paul for the Republican nomination

However, it appears she is in it for the long haul some suggest strengthening Nick Paul’s chances and splitting the Ruidoso and Lincoln County vote. will be sending candidate questions to each campaign in the next week.  We will be running followup up stories, on each candidate, to ensue voters can make an educated and well informed decision about each candidate leading up to the primary.

Good luck to each candidate and thank you to Mr. Griggs and Mr. Burton for their years of service. 

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