Democrats, Republicans choose their candidates

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It was a smooth Primary Election Day in Valencia County, the county clerk reported Tuesday night.

"There were a few minor glitches, but the day went really well," said Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal.

With the results sent to the Secretary of State's office, Carabajal asked the county commission to begin the canvass of the results Wednesday evening.

Of the 34,368 registered voters in the county, 7,559, or 21.99 percent, came out to cast a ballot. The majority of those, 4,645, were cast on Election Day, while there were 1,948 early votes placed and 875 absentee ballots cast.

In the state Representative District 7 race, Republican incumbent Kelly Fajardo pulled in 709 votes. Fajardo, an Internet marketing specialist from Belen, was unchallenged in the primary.

On the Democratic side, Dr. Teresa Smith de Cherif and Andrew Barreras were vying for the nod. In the end, Smith de Cherif took the race, 790 votes to Barreras' 748.

For Smith de Cherif, a medical doctor who lives in El Cerro, this was her first foray into state politics. She sits on the Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

Republican Alonzo Baldonado, a Los Lunas real estate broker, was also unchallenged in the primary for his District 8 House of Representatives seat. He received 1,065 votes.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats Frank Otero and Jim Danner duked it out. Danner, a retired educator from Belen, got 793 votes, but it wasn't enough to beat Otero, who garnered 1,101.

This was Danner's first run for public office. Otero, a Los Lunas native, served on the Los Lunas Schools Board of Education from 2007 to 2011.

In the southern part of the county, Erik Gale Hawkes, of Datil, and Dell Washington, of Belen, faced-off on the Democratic ticket for the District 49 representative seat. Hawkes, a dishwasher, prevailed with 365 votes in Valencia County. Washington, a retired educator, received 170 votes.

Republican incumbent, Don Tripp, a Socorro jeweler and farmer, was unchallenged and received 280 votes from Valencia County voters. District 49 covers part of Valencia County and Socorro County.

The candidates in representative District 50 were both unchallenged. Incumbent Vickie Perea received 314 votes. The Republican was appointed to the seat last year after Rep. Stephen Easley died. Matthew McQueen, an attorney from Santa Fe, received 391 votes. Those results are for Valencia County only.

The race for the open judicial seat for the 13th Judicial District Division III judgeship drew four candidates, two from each party. Republican Paul Trujillo, an attorney from Jarales, lost to challenger Allen Smith, the current district court judge appointee, in Valencia County 106 to 153 votes.

On the Democrat side, Joshua J. Sanchez, a lawyer from Belen, beat out Walter M. Hart III, an attorney from Los Lunas, 3,206 to 1,302 votes in the county. The 13th Judicial District Court encompasses Valencia, Cibola and Sandoval counties.

Magistrates Democrat Tina Garcia, Division I, and Republican John "Buddy" Sanchez, Division III, were both unchallenged in the primary and will be unopposed in November. Garcia received 3,712 votes and Sanchez 2,248.

The Division II Magistrate race was hotly contested, drawing three Democrats and two Republicans. Phillip "Shorty" Romero, the chief district clerk for the 13th Judicial District Court in Valencia County, won his primary race with 2,574 votes. Challenger Jodie Gallegos took 893 votes, while challenger Albert Jose Tapia received 989.

Republican incumbent John R. Chavez beat Joshua A. Sanchez, 1,441 to 1,124 votes. Chavez was appointed to the seat by the governor when Magistrate Danny Hawkes stepped down earlier this year.

In the District 1 Valencia County commission race, Republican candidate Rowena Tachias, a direct sales business owner from Bosque Farms, was unchallenged and received 487 votes. Democrats Mark Aaron Leeder and Helen Y. Cole, a local business owner from Los Lunas, split the votes 269 to 617 respectively.

District 3 had four candidates. The two Democrats, Norbert Schueller and Michael Melendez, of Rio Communities and who owns a construction company, received 260 and 569 votes respectively.

Melendez will face Republican David Hyder, a disaster action team captain for the American Red Cross from Los Lunas, who received 273 votes. His challenger, Gregory Spragg, received 256.

In District 5, both candidates were unchallenged. Incumbent Republican Jhonathan Aragon, a veterinary assistant from Bosque Farms, received 522 votes and Democrat Christian Garcia, owner/ president of GC's Concrete of Peralta, received 795.

In the race for county assessor, Republican Michelle Garcia, a senior appraiser with the department, had the ticket all to herself. She got 2,135 votes.

The Democratic side drew three candidates — Orlando Montoya, Mary Lydia Castillo, and pre-prosecution diversion administrator, Beverly Dominguez-Gonzales.

Dominguez-Gonzales, from Tomé, won the race with 1,756 votes. Montoya came in second with 1,464 votes and Castillo earned 1,220.

The sheriff's race saw incumbent Republican Louis Burkhard of Peralta beat challenger Archie Romero, 2,237 votes to 413. On the Democrat side, retired law enforcement officer Emily Montoya beat out former sheriff Rene Rivera 2,826 votes to 1,577.

The probate judge race had one Republican candidate, Charles Kent, an independent contractor/distributor for the Albuquerque Journal from Los Lunas, who received 2,212 votes. Democrat Joe Ray Chavez, a truck driver from Los Lunas, lost to Jamie Goldberg, the court administrator for the 13th Judicial District Court in Valencia County, 1,897 votes to 2,473.


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