The 2022 primary election is just a few days away, with voters’ last chance to cast a ballot coming up on election day, Tuesday, June 7.
Early voting sites are open through Saturday, June 4, and absentee ballots need to be returned by 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 7.
In this year’s primary, a majority Republican field of candidates filed to run for Valencia County seats. Out of the 26 candidates who filed, 10 are Democrats, the majority of whom do not have a primary opponent, giving them a clear path to the General Election in November.
There are two candidates in the race for Valencia County Sheriff — Democrat Rodney Jones and incumbent Republican Denise Vigil.
Jones, 56, is a retired law enforcement officer. A petition challenging Jones’ candidacy was filed earlier this year, claiming he didn’t live in Valencia County. The New Mexico Supreme Court ultimately upheld a district court judge’s decision that the candidate could remain on the ballot.
Vigil, 51, is currently the Valencia County sheriff. She is running for her second term.
There are two seats up on the Valencia County Commission — Districts 1 and 3.
Republican Gerard Saiz, 63, currently holds the District 1 seat and is running unopposed for his second term. He is a retired federal employee.
In District 3, Sabrina Marie Sweeney was the only Democrat to file. Sweeney, 36, is a cosmetologist, business operator and works at Hair Innovations.
Two Republicans — Pablito H. Herrera and Morris R. Sparkman — are on the primary ballot for District 3.
Herrera, 43, is a television producer; and Sparkman, 27, is a design engineer for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor.
Incumbent District 3 Commissioner David Hyder, a Republican, could not run again due to term limits.
The Valencia County assessor’s race drew only two candidates, and both will go on to face each other in November.
Democrat Beverly Dominguez Romero, 60, is the current Valencia County assessor and is running for her second term.
Republican Celia Dawn Dittmaier, 47, is the Valencia County chief deputy clerk.
The race for Valencia County Probate Judge drew the biggest field of candidates with five contenders.
Democrats Sharalaina Piro-Rael and Helen Saiz will face off on Tuesday.
Piro-Rael, 32, is the owner of a local music store and music teacher.
Saiz, 52, is retired from the New Mexico Department of Health. Formerly Helen Cole, Saiz retired from Valencia County after 19 years, and served one term on the county commission.
Three Republicans will be on the primary ballot — Jennifer L. Jaramillo, Cynthia A. Runyon and Wendy Emily Wallace.
Jaramillo, 36, is a secretary and first-call driver at Romero Funeral Home.
Runyon, 47, works in marketing and is a school administrator.
Wallace, 51, is a realtor, and was appointed to the vacant probate seat by the Valencia County Commission after Judge Jamie Goldberg was selected to fill the vacant Valencia County Magistrate Division III seat. Goldberg’s term as probate judge was set to end in December.
The Division I magistrate race drew one candidate from each party.
Democrat Michael Melendez, 63, listed his occupation as sole proprietor.
Republican Miles Tafoya, 35, is the current magistrate for Division I. Tafoya is running for his first four-year term, after being elected in 2020 to complete the term of retired magistrate Tina Garcia.
In Division II, Democrat Dell P. Washington is running against Republican incumbent John Chavez.
Washington, 75, is retired and is a writer/actor.
Chavez, 55, is a retired U.S. Army colonel.
Sabrina L. Rael, 31, was the only Democrat to file to run for Division III magistrate. She is a classification officer.
Three Republicans — Ragon P. Espinoza, Marisha E. Maez and Deseri Ann Sichler — will be squaring off in the June primary.
Espinoza, 38, is a permanency planning worker with CYFD.
Maez, 32, is the Valencia County DWI Drug Court coordinator.
Sichler, 49, was reelected to her second term as county treasurer in 2020. She is also the owner/broker at Real Estate Masters.
If she makes it through the primary and is successful in the November General Election, the Valencia County Commission will be tasked with appointing a replacement for the remainder of Sichler’s term, which ends in 2023.
Current Division III Magistrate Jamie Goldberg replaced retired magistrate John “Buddy” Sanchez, who retired from the bench late last year. Goldberg did not file to run for the seat.
After serving in the New Mexico Legislature for 10 years, District 7 incumbent Republican Kelly Fajardo announced she would not be running for reelection, meaning Democrat Danny M. Bernal Jr. and Republican Tanya Mirabal Moya have the field to themselves.
Bernal, 23, is the supervisor of assignments at ADC LTD NM, and is a Belen city councilor.
Moya, 47, is a teacher at Belen High School.
In District 8, only Republican Brian Baca filed to run. Baca, 51, was appointed to the seat in January after Alonzo Baldonado suddenly announced his resignation. Baca is the deputy superintendent for Los Lunas Schools.
In District 49, Republican Gail Armstrong will once again run unopposed. Armstrong, a business owner, has represented the district since 2017. She was appointed to the seat after former Rep. Don Tripp retired just before the 2017 legislative session.
Democrat incumbent Harry Garcia is also running unopposed for his District 69 seat. Garcia, a retired business owner, was appointed to the seat in September 2016, after former Rep. Kenn Martinez resigned.
Early in-person voting at the Valencia County Administration Offices, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas, is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., until Friday, May 20.
Early voting at alternate sites is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Saturday, June 4.
This year there are three early voting sites:
- Belen Community Center
- Bosque Farms Public Library
- Valencia County Administration Offices
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m., Thursday, June 2, and the latest the county clerk can mail an absentee ballot is 5 p.m., Friday, June 3.
If you have an absentee ballot you need to return, there are three secure ballot boxes are now available in Valencia County for absentee ballots.
- Valencia County Administration Office
- Belen Community Center
- Bosque Farms Public Library
All absentee ballots must be returned either by mail, through one of the secure boxes or in person at one of the early voting sites, a Voting Convenience Center or the clerk’s office itself by 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 7.
On election day, Tuesday, June 7, there will be 14 voting convenience centers across the county, open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Valencia County voters can visit any of the centers and receive what is called a ballot on demand. Each voter receives a personalized ballot containing all the offices they are eligible to vote for according to their registration information.
All of the county’s centers serve all 66 voting precincts and voters can chose the location that is most convenient for them. All centers are ADA compliant.
Voting convenience centers for the 2022 June Primary Election are:
- Ann Parish Elementary, 112 Meadow Lake Rd., Meadow Lake
- Belen Community Center, 305 Eagle Lane, Belen
- Belen Public Library, 333 Becker Ave., Belen
- Bosque Farms Public Library, 1455 W. Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms
- Century High School, 32 Sun Valley Rd., Los Lunas
- Del Rio Senior Center, 351 Rio Communities Blvd., Rio Communities
- Don Jose Dolores Cordova Cultural Center, 426 Jarales Rd., Jarales
- El Cerro Mission Community Center, 309 El Cerro Mission Rd., El Cerro Mission
- Logsdon Hall, 19676 N.M. 314, Los Chavez
- Los Lunas Schools Administration, 119 Luna Ave., Los Lunas
- Pueblo of Isleta Veteran’s Center, 4001 N.M. 314, Isleta
- Tomé Dominguez de Mendoza Community Center, 2933 N.M. 47, Tomé
- Town of Peralta Town Hall, 90A Molina Rd., Peralta
- The University of New Mexico-Valencia Workforce Training Center, 1020 Huning Ranch Road, Los Lunas
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.