Las Cruces – A state House member has switched his registration from Democrat to "declined to state" New Mexico's designation for independents.
Rep. Andy Nunez of Hatch made the change Tuesday in the secretary of state's office in Santa Fe.
Nunez says his decision was the result of House Speaker Ben Lujan stripping him of his agriculture committee chairmanship and removing him from two committees.
When the Legislature convened last week, Nunez was the only Democrat who didn't vote for Lujan as speaker.
Lujan says he's disappointed by Nunez's decision.
Democrats in the state House lost eight members in last year's election.
Nunez's party switch leaves the House with 36 Democrats, 33 Republicans and one independent.
Nunez says he didn't want to join the Republican Party because he isn't that far right.
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.