A candidate campaigning for the Democratic nomination for Valencia County sheriff has recently come under fire unfairly, he says regarding his address.

Julian Torrez came home from vacation last Friday to hear he was the subject of a television news story. The news report questioned the address Torrez put on his voter registration card and candidate form.

Torrez listed his address as 2022 Valley View in Los Lunas. The house at the address is currently under construction and is expected to be completed this week.

He admits he doesn’t actually live in the house at the listed address but said he has lived on the property in a fifth-wheel trailer since early January.

“I had expected this to be an issue before I filed my intention to run for sheriff,” Torrez said. “That’s why I contacted the Secretary of State’s office to ask them if it was legal. They said it was, and I’ve been living in the trailer while my home was being built.”

According to Lawrence Kaneshiro, the director of the Valencia County Bureau of Elections, a candidate must list his or her current physical address on forms. Kaneshiro said he was made aware of the situation when a television news reporter contacted him for an interview.

“We had no reason to believe he wasn’t living at that address,” Kaneshiro said. “It’s not our job to investigate where a candidate lives. We’re a filing office; we don’t do these types of investigations.”

Torrez said he was very upset when he returned home to hear he was the subject of the television news story.

“There’s always two sides to every story, and they didn’t give me an opportunity to tell what really happened,” Torrez said. “I was surprised they ran the story and didn’t give me a chance to explain the situation.”

Denise Lamb, the director of the state’s bureau of elections, said it is legal for Torrez to list the address where his house is being built.

“This is not the first time this has happened,” Lamb said. “We’ve always have people running for office who are building a house. You don’t build a house unless you’re going to live there. This is really not uncommon. ”

Valencia County Clerk Tina Gallegos said this type of situation is new to Valencia County. Gallegos said if anyone has proof that Torrez hasn’t lived in the trailer, she would take the information to the district attorney’s office for review.

“There has not been a formal complaint filed at this office,” Gallegos said. “Until I get a formal complaint, my office will not do anything about it.”

Torrez maintains he has lived in the trailer since January and will move into his newly-built house this week. “I made sure it was legal and legitimate before I started building my house,” he said. “I’m just staying positive and focusing on the issues in this election.”

Also running in the Democratic primary are Julian Cordova, Larry Garcia and Gary Hall. In the Republican primary are candidates Richard F. Perea and Rafael Villa. None of them chose to comment.

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Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.