Challenges arise in local commission contests; other incumbents run unopposed

By Jack King

Curry County’s incumbent county clerk will run unopposed in the June primary and in the November election, while three county commissioners face challenges and the county treasurer’s job has three contenders.
No opponent from any political party filed to challenge County Clerk Mario Trujillo, Tuesday.
In the commission races, former commissioner and Commission Chairman Paul D. Barnes filed to run against District 5 commissioner and former Commission Chairman Tim Ashley, while former Clovis City Commissioner Gloria Wicker filed to run against District 4 Commissioner Albin Smith.
Trujillo said his lack of an opponent affirms his work and that of his staff.
“I think people know we’re doing a good job and that makes me feel good,” he said.
District 5 commissioner
Ashley, a Republican, said he will run to complete work he has started on the county’s jail, special events center and other projects.
“I hope to work for progress in the county, economic development and safety for our families,” he said.
Barnes, a Democrat, said several county residents urged him to run.
“People are disgruntled with the way things are going,” he said. “The single biggest thing to deal with is the budget. I know the jail is a big drain, but it’s not the only problem.”
District 4 commissioner
Smith, a Republican, was appointed to his spot by Gov. Gary Johnson in 2002, after the death of former Commissioner Jerry Whalen. With a year and a half on the job, he said he wants a term of his own.
“In the time I’ve had the job, I think some good things have come about. We’ve got some tough issues, but I think we’re heading in the right direction on many things, such as the special events center,” he said.
Wicker, a Democrat, said her experience on the city commission can benefit the county.
“I’ve got seven to eight years’ experience. I’m not afraid to tackle any job and I’m retired, so I have the time,” she said. “I’ll push to get an events center built. I’d like to see a new one, but that may not be possible,” she said.
District 2 commissioner
Incumbent Pete Hulder, a Republican, also said he has unfinished work he wants to complete.
“I’d like to see the jail and the special events center to completion. Also, I believe in the Ute Water Project and want to help further it,” he said.
Raymond Montoya, a Republican, said his business experience will help make him make a good commissioner.
“A big part of why I’m running is my family. I want to be able to affect the way the community is going,” he said.
Carol S. Nichols, a Republican, said she is running because she wants to work with people.
“I was raised in Clovis and come from a business family,” she said. “As a sales representative for Newman Outdoor Advertising, I meeting with business people all over the state,” she said.
County treasurer
Treasurer Linda Hall said she will not run for re-election.
Rachel Toney, a Democrat, said she can bring experience to the job.
“I’m the chief deputy treasurer. I’ve worked in the treasurer’s office for 11 years and as chief deputy for seven years. I feel I’m most qualified for the job and, also, I have the support of (Hall) … and the previous treasurer, Joyce Devours,” she said.
Rhonda Bookout, a Republican, said she wants to make the treasurer’s office more accessible.
“I think it needs to be open the same hours as the other county offices,” she said.
Beni A. “Benette” Dampier, a Republican, also cited her experience.
“I’ve worked for the county for 12 years and feel that I’m qualified to do the county treasurer’s job,” she said.