Filing date for municipal elections near

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

With the Portales mayor’s position, four city council seats and the municipal judges position up for election March, the day for hopefuls to make their candidacy official is less than a month away.

The only declared candidate filing day is scheduled for Jan. 5. Candidates wishing to declare can either stop by the city clerk’s office or download the forms online.

New residents wanting to vote in the election need to register with the county clerk before 5 p.m. Feb. 2 because after that the books of registration will be closed.

On the council, the seats held by Antonio Salguero, Robert De Los Santos, Ron Jackson and Shawn Watson are up for election.

“Ron Jackson’s position is a four-year position if he wants to run for councilman again, and Shawn Watson will have to run if he wants to complete the term of the person he had replaced,” City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry said.

Watson replaced D.K. Shafer in 2008. Jake Lopez resigned from his position on the city council after winning a county commission seat and Antonio Salguero replaced him.

In the mayoral race, City Councilor Gary Watkins and former Roosevelt County Commissioner Dennis Lopez have already announced they want to run.

Lopez said he has been preparing a platform since announcing in July he was running for mayor.

“I will announce my platform after we file on Jan. 5, but I’ve kind of been meeting with the community and doing a lot of the grassroots work already,” Lopez said. “I thought, ‘What an opportunity to run for office and try to be a public servant.’”

With the mayor seat and city council positions up for election, Watkins in his third term as councilor decided he would try for the mayor’s seat.

“With city council seats open, plus the mayor’s, I thought maybe if I can get back in, maybe we can keep a little bit of stability and a little bit of knowledge just in case we get replaced with a whole new council,” Watkins said.