Incumbents lose in LL

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Los Lunas voters elected a new mayor, two new councilors and a new municipal judge Tuesday night.

The candidates’ supporters lined the lighted driveway to the Los Lunas administration building with campaign signs, but inside the building, only a small crowd waited out nearly two grueling hours for election results.

Charles Griego Mayor-elect

Of the 9,394 registered voters, 5 percent cast ballots.

Village Councilor Charles Griego gave up his District 2 seat to run for mayor against incumbent Robert Vialpando, and Griego won with 1,130 votes compared to Vialpando’s 508 votes.

Griego was in good spirits surrounded by family and friends, and jubilant upon hearing the results. He said he was grateful to all his supporters who worked so hard for him.

“I appreciate their effort and I hope I will live up to their expectations,” said Griego, who is the manager at Heritage Title and who has been on the council since 1982. “My main concern is: I talked to a lot of people in this campaign, and I hear what their concerns are. I won’t forget. I will be attentive to those requests that people have made to me.”

Griego received 69 percent of the total 1,638 votes.

Vialpando said serving the village has always been an honor.

“Over the time I’ve been in city government, it’s always been an honor,” Vialpando said. “I’ve always been very happy to have had a hand in the businesses that have come to Los Lunas, the growth that we have experienced, and the confidence people have had in me. I just want to thank everyone for their support in the election.”

The winner of the District 2 village council seat, Gino M. Romero received 242 votes out of a total 484 votes. He won by a 50-percent margin.

“I would like first to thank my family and friends for their advice, support and prayers during the campaign,” said Romero, a sales manager at SCA Americas. “My sincerest thanks goes out to the voters for their confidence in my ability to stay informed and represent the residents of District 2.”

Lawrence Valenzuela collected 129 votes, and Paul G. Luna garnered 113.

Valenzuela congratulated the winner and said he hopes Romero will represent the district well. Although he wasn’t elected Tuesday, Luna said he would continue to be involved in the community.

“My opponents ran a great race, and I look forward to their leadership,” Luna said.

Councilor Richard Lovato, the incumbent, lost his bid for re-election to newcomer Paulette Montoya for the District 4 seat.

“Obviously I’m disappointed in losing the election, and I’d like to state that it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the council these past five years,” Lovato said. “I hope I’ve had a positive impact on the well-being and future of Los Lunas.

“I wish Miss Montoya the best of luck in her term with Los Lunas, and I’m available to help in any way I can.”

Montoya, a records coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Labor and a customer service manager with Walmart, obtained 242 votes to Lovato’s 151 out of a total 393 votes.

She is grateful to her supporters and excited to serve the village, she said.

“It was a tough race, but it was a good race,” Montoya said. “I’ve been wanting to do this for about 12 years, and finally my opportunity came.”

Promising an open-door policy, Montoya said she welcomes anyone from the districts to talk to her and let her know what their concerns are.

Incoming municipal judge, Avilio Chavez garnered nearly half of the 1,630 votes, winning over appointed Judge Henry Perea.

“I am really grateful for all the encouragement and all the support that I’ve received,” Chavez said. “I am going to do the best possible job and try to be as fair and honest and open minded as possible.

“I’d also like to thank the other candidates for getting out there and putting their name on the line. I think all the candidates ran a clean and good race.”

Perea received 469 votes.

“We came out, we fought a good fight, and it apparently wasn’t meant to be,” Perea said. “I will give Avilio Chavez any support he needs for a swift and good transition.”

Frank Alex Gonzales Jr. received 255 votes, and 177 voters cast ballots for Eulogio E. J. Jaramillo.

“I want to thank my friends and family and all the community for their support and everything they did for me,” Jaramillo said. “I’ll still be involved with the community as I’ve always been.”

Gonzales said he was grateful to all his supporters for their help and dedication, and offered congratulations to the new judge.

The winning candidates consistently received the most votes throughout early voting as well as absentee voting and election day.

There were 605 early votes cast and 100 Los Lunas residents turned in absentee ballots.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.