Next Tuesday is Election Day and there are numerous local candidates on the General Election ballot, as well as tax questions and constitutional amendments.


Valencia County Sheriff

In the race for Valencia County sheriff, Democrat Rodney Jones, 56, a retired law enforcement officer, and incumbent Republican Denise Vigil, 51, are on the ballot.


Valencia County Commission

There are two seats up on the Valencia County Commission — Districts 1 and 3.

Republican Gerard Saiz, a retired federal employee, 63, currently holds the District 1 seat and is running unopposed for his second term.

In District 3, Democrat Sabrina Marie Sweeney, 36, a cosmetologist and business operator at Hair Innovations, will be running against Republican Morris R. Sparkman, 27, a design engineer for a U.S. Department of Defense contractor.


Valencia County Assessor

Democrat Beverly Dominguez Romero, 60, the current Valencia County assessor is running for her second term against Republican Celia Dawn Dittmaier, 47, the Valencia County chief deputy clerk.


Valencia County Probate Judge

In the race for Valencia County probate judge, Democrat Helen (Cole) Saiz is running against Republican Wendy Wallace. Saiz, 52, is retired from the New Mexico Department of Health. She retired from Valencia County after 19 years, and served one term on the county commission.

Wallace, 51, a realtor, 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

Division I

In the Division I magistrate race, Democrat Michael Melendez, 63, who listed his occupation as sole proprietor, is running against Republican incumbent Miles Tafoya 35, who is running for his first four-year term after being elected in 2020 to complete the term of retired magistrate Tina Garcia.


Division II

In Division II, Democrat Dell P. Washington, 74, a writer and actor, is running against Republican incumbent John Chavez, 55, a retired U.S. Army colonel.


Division III

Sabrina L. Rael, 31, a Democrat, and Republican Deseri Sichler, 49, the current Valencia County treasurer, are on the ballot for the Division III seat.

Rael is a classification officer, and Sichler is the Valencia County treasurer serving her second term, and the owner/broker at Real Estate Masters.


New Mexico State Representatives

District 7

Democrat Danny M. Bernal Jr. and Republican Tanya Mirabal Moya are running for the District 7 seat.

Bernal, 23, is the supervisor of assignments at ADC LTD NM, and a Belen city councilor. Moya, 47, is a teacher at Belen High School.


District 8

Republican Brian Baca, 51, was appointed to the District 8 seat in January after Alonzo Baldonado suddenly announced his resignation. Baca is the deputy superintendent for Los Lunas Schools.

He will be running against write-in candidate Democrat Paul Kinzelman, a pilot.

To vote for Kinzelman, voters will have to write his name in the space provided on the ballot.


Districts 49 and 69

In District 49, Republican Gail Armstrong is running unopposed, as is Democrat Harry Garcia in District 69.


13th Judicial District  Court Judge Division IX

Voters will be choosing candidates for a newly-created judgeship located in Sandoval County in the 13th Judicial District.

Democrat Karl W. Reifsteck, 40, is running against Republican Allison P. Martinez, 47.

Reifsteck was appointed to the position by the governor this summer and was a court administrator before his appointment. Martinez is an attorney.

Early voting is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Belen Community Center, 305 Eagle Lane; the Bosque Farms Public Library, 1455 W. Bosque Loop; and the Valencia County Administration Offices, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas.

Absentee ballots must be returned to the county clerk’s office, 444 Luna Ave., Los Lunas, by 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 8. There are also absentee ballot drop boxes at the three early voting sites.

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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.