While there were some brief power outages at one voting center during Tuesday’s primary election voting in Valencia County, voters powered through and got their ballots cast.
Valencia County Clerk Mike Milam said power was shaky at the Rio Del Oro Senior Center in Rio Communities, but it seemed to be related to construction happening nearby.
“We took a generator down there, just in case we needed it,” Milam said.
Overall, things went well at the county’s voting convenience centers, the clerk said.
“There was a constant line at the Los Lunas Schools administration building. The center at Eagle Park was good and steady,” he said, noting he visited all 14 centers.
Although there was a consistent flow of voters, Milam said he had hopes of more.
“A lot of people have the thought that their vote doesn’t count. Well guess what? Everybody’s does. Look at the (2021 municipal) judge race in Belen? One vote difference,” he said.
The vote totals in this article are preliminary numbers. The vote count isn’t considered official until the Valencia County Commission approves the canvass.
Valencia County Sheriff
In the primary for Valencia County sheriff, there were only two candidates — Democrat Rodney Jones and incumbent Republican Denise Vigil.
Jones, 56, a retired law enforcement officer, received 3,012 votes. Vigil, 51, the current Valencia County sheriff running for her second term, received 4,317 votes.
Valencia County Commission
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 ran unopposed for his second term. He received 994 votes.
In District 3, Sabrina Marie Sweeney was the only Democrat to file. Sweeney, 36, received 621 votes.
Two Republicans — Pablito H. Herrera and Morris R. Sparkman — vied for the District 3 spot on the November ballot. Sparkman, 27, received 619 votes, beating out Herrera, who took 272.
Valencia County Assessor
The Valencia County assessor’s race drew only two candidates.
Democrat Beverly Dominguez Romero, 60, the current Valencia County assessor running for her second term, received 3,118 votes. Republican Celia Dawn Dittmaier, 47, took 4,096.
VC Probate Judge
The primary race for Valencia County probate judge drew the biggest field of candidates with five contenders.
Democrats Sharalaina Piro-Rael and Helen Saiz faced off Tuesday, and Saiz will be moving on to the November ballot with 1,925 votes to Piro-Rael’s 1,423.
Three Republicans were on the primary ballot — Jennifer L. Jaramillo, Cynthia A. Runyon and Wendy Emily Wallace.
As of Wednesday morning, Wallace was in the lead with 1,800 votes, followed by Jaramillo with 1,759 and Runyon with 1,125. Wallace, 51, 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.
Valencia County Magistrates
The Division I magistrate race drew one candidate from each party.
Democrat Michael Melendez, 63, received 3,010 votes while Republican incumbent Miles Tafoya received 4,123.
In Division II, Democrat Dell P. Washington received 2,872 votes and Republican incumbent John Chavez’s took 4,156.
Sabrina L. Rael, 31, was the only Democrat to file to run for Division III magistrate, and received 3.036 votes.
Three Republicans — Ragon P. Espinoza, Marisha E. Maez and Deseri Ann Sichler — were on the primary ballot.
As of Wednesday, Deseri Sichler is leading with 2,504 votes. Sichler, 49, was reelected to her second term as county treasurer in 2020.
NM House of Representatives
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 had the field to themselves. Bernal, 23, received 1,042 votes, and Moya got 1,205.
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. He received 2,122 votes.
In District 49, Republican Gail Armstrong once again ran unopposed. She received 882 votes from Valencia County voters, plus an additional 1,914 from voters in Sierra, Socorro and Catron counties, for a total of 2,796.
Democrat incumbent Harry Garcia was challenged for his District 69 seat by write-in Marvin Anthony Trujillo. Garcia received 54 votes from Valencia County, plus an additional 1,101 from voters in Cibola, Socorro, San Juan, McKinley and Bernalillo counties, for a total of 1,155.
Even though the primary is done, candidates can still make it onto the November General Election ballot. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, June 30, candidates belonging to minor political parties and registered voters who declined to state a party can file for candidacy, and major party members can file as write-in candidates.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.