By Mike Linn
PNT Managing Editor
Roosevelt County democrats on Tuesday selected Sen. John Kerry as the guy they hope to dethrone President Bush, while Floyd and Elida residents voted to tax themselves to help keep their schools in tip-top shape.
In the first New Mexico caucus in more than 30 years, 603 Roosevelt County democrats overwhelmingly supported Kerry, who scored 47 percent of the vote.
“Kerry seems to be a fairly conservative retired military war hero, and it looks like he kind of fits in with Roosevelt County people,” Roosevelt County Democratic Chairman Terry Cone said.
Gen. Wesley Clark (17 percent) edged Sen. John Edwards (17 percent) by a few votes, while former democratic front runner Howard Dean only scored 9 percent of the local vote.
Cone, who said he wasn’t allowed to support any particular candidate, said roughly 15 percent of registered democrats voted.
“I’m very impressed with the turnout,” Cone said.
In a separate election on Tuesday, registered voters in Elida and Floyd voted to prolong a mill-levy tax to help fund school renovations.
In Elida, 84 residents approved of the tax out of 109 voters. Of the 69 voters in Floyd, 54 voted to keep the tax in place.
The totals include absentee ballots.
The five-year property tax will help both schools with remodeling; maintenance; school building renovations and repairs; and additional computer software and hardware.
The property tax is assessed at $2 per each $1,000 upon the net taxable value of the property in the Floyd or Elida district under the property tax code.
Chris Duncan, principal of Floyd middle and high schools, said he doesn’t have any specific renovations in mind, but lauded the community for supporting Floyd schools.
“We appreciate the continued support of the Floyd voters,” Duncan said. “The continuation of that $2 mill levy benefits the students as well as the community.”
Jack Burch, Elida School Superintendent, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, but last week said the school relies heavily on the tax.
“It’s something that the (school) districts desperately need to keep up our buildings and maintain them,” Burch said last week.