SANTA FE, N.M. — Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Santa Fe County’s top lawyer fill a state District Court vacancy created by Judge Sarah Singleton’s retirement.

The Republican governor’s appointment of County Attorney Gegory Shaffer, a Democrat, to the 1st District Court bench in Santa Fe is significant statewide because the district often hears cases involving state government.

Singleton remains a judge on a temporary basis. She hasn’t yet ruled on several cases, including a lawsuit over state funding for K-12 education.

Shaffer served as a senior lawyer for state agencies after previously working in the County Attorney’s Office. He rejoined the office in 2014 as county attorney.

A state commission nominated Shaffer and three others from among eight applicants.

Shaffer would have to run in for election next year to remain a judge.