By Tony Parra
With the June primaries coming up some Roosevelt County residents may not realize that unless they are registered Republicans they will not be able to make a choice for county sheriff.
The race for the sheriff’s position is between two Republicans, incumbent sheriff Tom Gossett and sheriff’s deputy Darren Hooker. The primary election will be on June 6.
Hooker started out as a military police officer in 1986 and after 10 years, he became certified in Santa Fe in 1996 for law enforcement in New Mexico. Hooker is currently a deputy for the Roosevelt County Sheriff Department. Gossett has been in law enforcement since 1968 and took over as county sheriff in January of 2003.
People who are not registered Republicans can still change their party or register as Republicans, but they have to do it by 5 p.m. on May 9, according to county clerk Janet Collins.
“They can come into the clerk’s office and fill out a form,” Collins said. “They must be a registered Republican in order to vote in the race. And on June 12 they can change back. We (Roosevelt County clerks) have already seen many changes in party affiliations.”
Collins said the voters can change back to Democrat or Independent in time for the general election in November.
Collins said all county voters will be receiving new voter ID cards from April 7-27 from the New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron’s office. Collins said voters need to be sure all of the information on the cards is correct and if they have any questions, they can call the county clerk’s office at 356-8562. May 9 is also the last day to register to vote for the primary election.
Collins said some voters will have to go to different polling places this year. People who are uncertain of their polling place may call the clerk’s office.
The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and county officials will be having a candidate forum featuring the people running for county offices on May 4 in the Memorial Building. Sharon King, chamber manager, said refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the forum starts at 7 p.m.
King said she usually meets with Debi Lee, Portales city manager and Charlene Hardin, county administrator about once a week to see what could be done for the community. That is how the idea for a municipal candidates forum, which was held in early March, was developed. King said Hardin asked if a forum could be held for the county candidates and King agreed to help with one.
The candidate forum will give residents of the county the opportunity to get to know the candidates prior to the election, according to chamber officials.
All candidates will be included, even the unopposed ones.
General Election Races
(District 3 commissioner) Bill Cathey, Republican will go up against Charles Bennett, Democrat. County candidates running unopposed:
Incumbent Jane Martin, a Democrat, for the magistrate judge’s position; Incumbent Paul Grider, a Democrat, for the District 5 county commissioner spot and incumbent Gene Creighton, a Democrat, for the District 4 spot. Tex Belcher, a Democrat, for the county assessor position.