By Kevin Wilson
CNJ STAFF WRITER
With only one member of Congress on the ballot for eastern New Mexico, there aren’t many federal changes this area can make on the ballot box.
But Tuesday marks the first day voters can weigh in on several state issues, including local races, state races with local candidates and bond issues that would fund area schools.
The general election is Nov. 2.
“A gubernatorial election is never as big as a presidential,” Curry County Clerk Coni Lyman said. “But there are federal races. We have all of this excitement because of state government.”
In what is considered the off election following the 2008 presidential election, state races are up for grabs — most notably Republican Susana Martinez running against current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.
There are 20,785 registered voters in Curry County. Early and absentee voting begins Tuesday, with the Curry County Courthouse open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Lyman said starting Oct. 16, an early voting booth will be available at the North Plains Mall 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Bond Question D would provide more than $155 million for higher education, with $7 million going to Eastern New Mexico University.
Clovis Community College would aim to use its $1 million share to upgrade classrooms. Marketing Director Lisa Spencer said with nursing students moving into the Allied Health Building, there are classroom vacancies in the pre-existing campus.
“Now that they are moving out into the new facilities,” Spencer said, “we’re renovating all of those classrooms and computer rooms.”
Spencer said the classrooms aren’t set aside for any particular program right now, partially because CCC doesn’t want to plan using money voters haven’t approved.
Curry County also has a pair of questions to acquire $33 million for the first phase of the proposed Curry County Criminal Justice Complex. One would be a property tax increase, the other a .25 percent gross receipts tax increase.
Other issues or races on Clovis ballots include:
• U.S. Representative: Republican Tom Mullins is challenging the incumbent, Ben Ray Lujan. Lujan, the son of New Mexico State Senator Ben Lujan, took the seat in 2008 when Tom Udall vacated the spot to run for Senate.
• Secretary of State: Democrat Mary Herrera is running for re-election against Republican Dianna Duran.
• State Auditor: Democrat Hector Balderas is running to keep his seat against Republican challenger Errol Chavez.
• State Treasurer: James B. Lewis, a Democrat, holds the position. He is being challenged by Jim Schoonover.
• Attorney General: In a race of local interest, 9th Judicial District Attorney and Clovis native Matt Chandler is running in the Republican Party slot against Gary King, a Democrat who is running for re-election.
• Commissioner of Public Lands: Democrat Ray Powell seeks a return to the land office. Roosevelt County farmer Matt Rush is seeking to keep the position in Republican hands.
• Public Regulation Commissioner: Republican Patrick Lyons, a Clovis native, is term-limited and cannot seek re-election for land commissioner. He is running against Democrat Stephanie DuBois.
• Magistrate Judge: There are separate races for the two positions. In Division 1, Democrat Johnny Chavez is challenging Republican Duane Castleberry. Division 2 features Republican Richard Hollis running for re-election against Genaro Soto.
• State Representative Dist. 63: Democrat George Dodge Jr. is running for the open seat against Melinda Russ of Fort Sumner. The seat was vacated following Joe Campos’ unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor.
• Non-partisan judges: Voters can vote yes or no for Charles Daniels, Petra Maes, Michael Bustamante and Celia Castillo.
Unopposed races include county assessor (Republican Tim Lyman), State Representative for Dist. 64 (Republican Anna Crook) and Dist. 67 (Republican Dennis Roch), a pair of Court of Appeals judges (Democrats Linda Vanzi in District 2 and Tim Garcia in District 3), county sheriff (Republican Matt Murray) and probate judge (Republican Kevin Duncan).
• Five constitutional amendments: Amendment 1 would permit the state to create a college scholarship program for New Mexico military war veterans. Amendment 2 would allow county officials to serve three terms instead of two. Amendment 3 would bring the state in line with federal standards for determining mental capacity to vote. Amendment 4 would create a tax exemption for land owned by a veteran’s organization. Amendment 5 would allow limited appointments of former Legislature members to civil offices in the state.
• Four bond questions: Question A would provide $7.79 million for senior citizen facility improvements. Question B would provide $7 million for library acquisition and construction ($76,000 for ENMU’s Golden Library). Question C would allow for $5.1 million for public school improvement, bus acquisition and material acquisition. Question D would provide $155.56 million in bonds for higher education and special schools.