De Baca sheriff retains position

CNJ staff

Dennis A. Cleaver retained his position as De Baca County sheriff by beating former Fort Sumner Police Chief Wayne Atchley for the Democratic seat in Tuesday’s primary.

Cleaver, who will run unopposed in November, gathered 263 votes to 163 for Atchley as 48 percent of De Baca County’s 1,362 voters participated in the primary. Cleaver won an election two years ago to finish the four-year term Mike Chavez, who resigned.

In De Baca County’s other contested local race, former school board member and rancher Becky S. Harris defeated Gary A. Smith of Lake Sumner 130 to 96 to win the Republican seat for District 1 County Commissioner.

Atchley lost his job as Fort Sumner police chief in January when the city and county signed a joint powers agreement that eliminated the city police department.

Smith, who will also run unopposed in November, will replace Democrat Joe Steele, the current commissioner chairman.

Steele will reach his two-term limit in December.