SANTA FE — A divided Public Regulation Commission today elected Republican Ben Hall as its chairman.
Hall, R-Ruidoso, won the chairmanship on a 3-2 vote.
Theresa Becenti-Aguilar, a Democrat from the Navajo Nation, also sought the chairman's job.
Hall, 75, succeeds Patrick Lyons, R-Clovis, as chairman. Lyons wanted to continue leading the PRC for a third year, but backed down when he realized that Hall had the better chance of defeating Becenti-Aguilar.
Hall received his own vote and those of Lyons and freshman Commissioner Valerie Espinoza, a Democrat from Santa Fe.
Becenti-Aguilar voted for herself and also received the vote of the other freshman, Karen L. Montoya, D-Albuquerque.
The commissioners elected Espinoza as vice chairwoman.