Mary Herrera

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Mary Herrera
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New Mexico Secretary of State
Former officeholder
In office
2006 - 2010
Mary Herrera is the former Democratic New Mexico Secretary of State and a public servant for over three decades. She was the second-highest ranking Hispanic elected official in the country, second only to former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson. Herrera was one of only two state-wide elected Hispanic women and was the highest ranking state elected Hispanic woman in the United States.

Although she did not face re-election until November 2010, Herrera began collecting campaign contributions as early as July 2009. [1]

Herrera lost to Republican State Senator Dianna Duran in the general election on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 after receiving slightly over 42 percent of the vote. [2]


  • Gaduated from West Mesa High School (1977)
  • Bachelor's degree, College of Santa Fe in business administration
  • Master's degree, College of Santa Fe in business administration
  • Certificate of Program Administration for Senior Executives, Harvard University
  • Certificates in Labor, Employment, and Benefits Law, Institute for Applied Management
  • Doctorate degree honoris causa, College of Santa Fe (2007) in humane letters

Political experience

For thirty-three years, Mary Herrera was able to work her way up the ranks of the Bernalillo County Government, beginning her political career as a clerk typist in 1974 then moving up to the position of Assistant Comptroller in 1989. For four years starting in 1996, she served the county as Director of Human Resources. In November 2000, Herrera was elected Bernalillo County Clerk and was re-elected to the position in November 2004.

A native of Albuquerque, Madame Secretary is active in numerous organizations and serves on several boards at both the national and state levels. She serves on the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and she was appointed to the EAC by the Governor's Association, issuing voluntary guidelines to various states regarding election issues. Madame Secretary recently served on the New Mexico Election Task Force, also working with election issues affecting New Mexico. She is also a current member of the board of directors of the Rio Grande Credit Union and is an associate member of the Fraternal Order of Police. In her capacity as Secretary of State she serves on the Public Employees Retirement Board and State Commission of Public Records. In March 2009, Mary Herrera was elected by the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the leadership organization of the nation’s more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials serve as the organization’s President. [3]


Flores email

Steve Terrell of the Santa Fe New Mexican came across an email from Herrera accusing a former employee of not doing what she wanted him to do. She had asked him to use his contacts in the Republican Party in the run up to Herrera’s re-election campaign as a Democrat.

Part of an email from Herrera to James Flores:

"I asked you a long time ago to get involved in the R party, you didn’t and now they are looking for someone to run against me."

Herrera does not deny writing the email. Terrell writes:

"Herrera said Wednesday that she’d only suggested to Flores he become active in the GOP so that Republicans would feel that her office was open to both parties. She said that Flores is one of four Republicans she hired." [4]

Misconduct accusations

In March 2010, State Attorney General Gary King launched his investigation into allegations that Herrera solicited "donations from companies that contract with her office and ordered some of her employees to gather signatures on petitions for her re-election campaign." [5] The source of the accusations is a scathing resignation letter written by A. J. Salazar, a former deputy district attorney who, after only eleven months on the job, quit after having discovered what a "crooked organization" the secretary of state's office was. [6] Herrera, while denying this and other insinuations made by Salazar, argued that the real "reason he left the office was because he wanted Spring Break off and he didn’t want to go to work." [7]

New Mexico

Portions of the letter were first published by The Albuquerque Journal and the full context of it was later released to the public through the Rio Grande Sun. Despite numerous requests from local media outlets for the release of the letter, the Secretary of State's Office refused to do so, claiming that it was a personnel matter and that the email resignation did not qualify under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. [8] The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, however, disagrees with this assessment. Finally, a little over two weeks after Salazar resigned from office, Herrera's Office released a heavily red-acted version of his letter. [9]

Nearly five months after the case was first brought to the attention of the State Attorney General's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) was brought in to determine whether or not Gary King "attempted to cover up allegations of wrongdoing." [10] In addition to Salazar, requests for federal involvement were made by Manny Vildasol and James Flores, both of whom worked in the Secretary of State's Office, as office manager and public information officer respectively.

Secretary of State Project

See also: Secretary of State Project

The Center for Public Integrity reported in September 2008 that Mary Herrera received a substantial donation of $50,000, or 10 percent of the campaign budget, from the Secretary of State Project, a below-the-radar 527 political organization whose purpose is to "wrestling control of the country from the Republican Party" through the process of "removing their political operatives from deciding who can vote and whose votes will count," namely the office of Secretary of State in many cases. [11] [12]

Other roles

  • Associate Member, Fraternal Order of Police
  • Member, Public Employees Retirement Board
  • Member, Rio Grande Credit Union Board of Directors
  • Member, State Commission of Public Records



See also: New Mexico Secretary of State election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary [13]
    • Mary Herrera ran unopposed in this contest
2010 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [14]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Dianna Duran 57.5%
     Democratic Party Mary Herrera 42.5%
Total Votes 594,170


2006 Race for Secretary of State - Democratic Primary [15]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Mary Herrera 39.6%
     Democratic Party Stephanie V. Gonzales 28.9%
     Democratic Party Shirley Hooper 19.4%
     Democratic Party Letitia Montoya 12.1%
Total Votes 119,843
2006 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [16]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Mary Herrera 54.2%
     Republican Party Vickie S. Pera 45.8%
Total Votes 556,610

Campaign contributions

2006 Race for Secretary of State - Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $380,198
Total Raised by Primary Opponent $109,226
Total Raised by Gen. Election Opponent $549,348
Top 5 Contributors Bill Richardson for Governor $61,098 (16.07% of Total)
Committee to Elect Mary Herrera County Clerk $24,512 (6.45%)
ActBlue $24,164 (6.36%)
EMILY's List $20,000 (5.26%)
Bill Richardson for Governor $14,098 (3.71%)
Individuals v. Institutions $103,920 (27.3%)
$160,605 (42.2%)
In v. Outside State $309,554 (81.4%)
$70,544 (18.6%)


Mary Herrera currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her two children - Nathan and Monique.


  • Henry Toll Fellowship Program (Council of State Governments)

Contact Information

Capitol Address:
Office of the Secretary of State
New Mexico State Capitol
325 Don Gaspar
Suite 300
Santa Fe, NM 87503

Phone: (505) 827-3600
Toll Free Phone: (800) 477-3632
Fax: (505) 827-3634

See also

External links

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from October 18, 2010.


Political offices
Preceded by
Rebecca Vigil-Giron
New Mexico Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Dianna Duran