It’s official: Harden retains Senate seat

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

Incumbent Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, won the District 7 seat by 36 votes over Bob Frost, D-San Jon, the Secretary of State’s office announced on Tuesday.

Harden received 9,010 votes to 8,974 for Frost. The canvassing of the election Tuesday makes Harden’s win official, though Frost could still call for a recount.

Frost said he is weighing his options. He is planning visits to various precincts in the district and will then decide whether a recount could possibly lead to his victory.

“We need to crunch the numbers to see if there is even a possibility,” he said. “There were so many people that helped us and so many volunteers on everything we did, we just want to be sure all of our goals are met.”

By state law, Frost will have six days from canvassing to submit a request for recount, he said. Choosing that option would be costly though, a factor that is weighing in his decision.

With 68 precincts in District 7, a full recount would cost $3,400 plus $10 per machine. If the challenge fails, state law provides that other costs associated with the recount can also be charged to the challenger.

“We have to pay it. That’ll be a consideration,” he said. “ We’re in this thing to try to win, but we’ve got to look at everything.”

Harden said he anticipated a close race all along.

“I didn’t anticipate a photo finish,” he said.

He said the closeness of the race makes him realize he has work ahead to gain stronger support from his constituency, he said.

“I’m more committed to be in my district so those voters get to know me … so four years from now it won’t be this close,” Harden said. “(This race) is going to make me a more effective representative of District 7.”

Barring a recount and overturn of these official election results, Harden is already planning his agenda for the legislative session set to begin in January.

Harden said he will support DWI legislation to keep alcohol out of the hands of DWI offenders and other programs to promote job growth and economic development in eastern New Mexico.

“Those issues of economic development are really critical,” he said. “ I see myself continuing to be as involved as I can with job creation in our district.”