County heads to primary polls

PNT Staff Report

Roosevelt County voters will decide two local primary races but a statewide senate race has everyone’s interest.

District 2 Roosevelt County Commissioner David Sanders is being challenged by Richard “Rick” Leal in the Republican primary. The winner will be unopposed in the general election.

The only other contested local race is the Republican nomination for probate judge. In that race, Barbara George, Laverne Standifer and Mitchell “Mickey” Morgan are vying to replace term-limited probate judge Nancy Gentry. The winner in the race will face off against the lone Democrat probate candidate Mark Paternoster in November.

The only other race with direct local significance is the District 67 state representative race in the Democratic Primary featuring Van Robertson and Craig Cosner. They seek to replace Brian Moore of Clayton who chose not to run for re-election.

The District 67 state representative race and District 2 county commission both are districts in eastern Roosevelt County, according to election officials.

In an unprecedented statewide primary election, two representatives are battling for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and 21 Democrats and Republicans are seeking their party’s nod for the state’s three open congressional seats.

Republican Senate candidates Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce concentrated on getting out the vote in Albuquerque on Monday.

An Albuquerque Journal poll published Sunday showed Wilson with a 30 percentage point lead over Pearce in the Albuquerque-area 1st District that she represents, while he had a larger 40-point lead in southern New Mexico’s 2nd District, which he serves.

Wilson worked the phones Monday, trying to increase her margin in the Albuquerque area and attended a rally at an Albuquerque park.
“We’re reaching out to every Wilson supporter we can find,” Wilson spokeswoman Whitney Cheshire said.

Pearce met with prospective voters in their neighborhoods and at Albuquerque businesses, and he planned more of the same Tuesday, spokesman Brian Phillips said.

Sen. Pete Domenici, who announced he would retire in January because of an incurable brain disease, set off the chain of events that led to all three congressional representatives giving up their seats to enter the Senate race and leaving their own seats up for grabs.

State Public Regulation Commission member Ben Ray Lujan, who had early name recognition because of his father, state House Speaker Ben Lujan Sr., and Santa Fe developer Don Wiviott, who spent $1.3 million of his own money in the campaign, are leading a pack of six Democrats for the 3rd District seat being vacated by Udall. Roosevelt County is included in that District.

Also running are Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya, former state Indian Affairs Secretary Benny Shendo Jr., Santa Fe attorney Jon Adams and Dixon lawyer Rudy Martin.

Two Republicans are running for the GOP nomination: Santa Fe lawyer Marco Gonzales and Daniel East, a Rio Rancho utilities contractor.
The Roosevelt County Clerk’s Office reported 502 early and absentee voter ballots had gone out.

“That’s not bad,” Clerk Janet Collins said. “Many more Republicans than Democrats but that should reflect the local makeup.”
Collins said voters can check their voter ID card to see what district they’re in or call the office at 356-8562.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.