Incumbents, businessman take commission seats

By Gabriel Monte CNJ staff writer

Three incumbents and a longtime city restaurant owner captured City Commission seats in Tuesday’s Clovis municipal election.

In District 1, incumbent candidate Randal Crowder soundly defeated floral shop owner Rosalie Riley.

In District 2, incumbent Fred Van Soelen, a deputy district attorney, beat Ben McDaniel, a furniture store operations manager.

Incumbent Robert Sandoval received about 59 percent of the 597 votes cast in District 3 defeating Fidel Madrid, a truck driver for a parcel delivery company.

In District 4, Chris Bryant takes on his first elected office after receiving about 76 percent of the 1,393 votes cast. Bryant, who owns the Foxy Drive-In, beat Clovis educator David Briseno for the seat vacated by Lunell Winton.

During his campaign, Crowder said his priorities included moving forward with the Ute Water Pipeline project, which will send water from Ute Lake in Quay County to eight entities in eastern New Mexico, and the effluent reuse project, which will create a pipeline throughout the city carrying recycled water from the wastewater treatment plant.

“I’m very humbled. I’m glad it’s over and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the city for another four years,” said Crowder, who received about 68 percent of the 2,247 votes cast in the district.

Van Soelen received about 57 percent of the 1,066 votes cast in his district.
He said he plans to continue to work toward a solution to the city’s water issues, address quality of life issues, such as building a wellness center, repair the wastewater treatment plant, and find a way to adjust compensation of the fire department to prevent experienced firefighters from leaving the city.
“I worked hard campaigning, knowing I’d have to earn every vote hoping my record would be enough to keep me in,” said Van Soelen, who was the incumbent candidate.

Sandoval, who is also a Curry County commissioner, said he wants to continue to work on projects the City Commission has started and to work with the county to beautify the city.
“I think we just need to keep going the way that we’ve been going,” said Sandoval, a retired timekeeper for the Postal Service, said. “I feel that my record helped me considerably.
“I’m happy to see the incumbents got re-elected. We’re a team and I know that I can work with new commissioner (Chris) Bryant.”

Bryant said issues he wants to address as commissioner include repairing the wastewater treatment plant and city streets, and moving forward with the Ute water project.
“I look forward to working with the current commissioners,” he said.