Election blog: Eastern New Mexico supports native son in AG race

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Bailiff Tommie Means observes the action on election day Tuesday at the courthouse via closed circuit cameras.

David Stevens

Clovis’ Matt Chandler, running his first statewide race, trailed incumbent Gary King by 21,000 votes with 15 of 33 counties reporting in the attorney general’s race.

Curry and Roosevelt counties did their part to support their district attorney.

In Curry, Chandler received 7,359 votes compared to 2,600 for King.

In Roosevelt, he received 3,149 votes to 1,273 for King.

• • •

County records show 10,052 voters participated in Tuesday’s election, including
• 797 absentee
• 3,519 early

Voter turnout was just under 50 percent — 6 percentage points better than the last non-presidential General Election.

The last time the county produced more than 10,000 voters in a non-presidential election was 1998, when 10,138 cast ballots.

The highest voter turnout in recent elections was in 2004 when 65 percent of registered voters — 14,323 — helped re-elect George W. Bush.

• • •

Curry County voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed $33 million judicial complex on Tuesday, but County Manager Lance Pyle said safety issues at the jail and courthouse still must be addressed.

“We regret that the issue failed for our community,” he said Tuesday night. “Working with the county commission and the 9th judicial district court, we will determine what next steps might be needed to address the concerns of the courthouse and detention center.

“We don’t know what the next steps will be but we do know we have to do something over the next few weeks.”

Pyle said the next county commission meeting is scheduled Friday and commissioners will “talk about the elections.”

“It’s a difficult time in our economy and it (Tuesday’s election results) is a reflection of the voters,” Pyle said.

“It’s a community issue and any discussion we have will be held in public, but we do have problems that we have got to address (related to safety).”

The final vote on the General Obligation Bond question related to the courthouse was:
• 6,848 against
• 2,557 for.

The final vote on the proposed gross receipts tax increase related to the jail was:
• 6,795 against
• 2,559 for

• • •

Curry County voters have overwhelmingly rejected proposals to build a new jail and courthouse.

Final vote totals posted on the secretary of state’s website show 73 percent of voters opposed building a new jail and courthouse.

Also, incumbent magistrate judges Duane Castleberry and Richard Hollis were re-elected by wide margins.

Most statewide races involving area candidates were too close to call at 9:45 p.m., but Clovis native Patrick Lyons had a big early lead over Stephanie Dubois in the race for Public Regulation Commission District 2 — 68-31 percent.

With one of 33 counties reporting, Democrat Gary King led Clovis’ Matt Chandler by about 4 percentage votes in the race for attorney general.

Portales Republican Matt Rush trailed Ray Powell by less than 2 percentage points in the run for land commissioner.

In the race for state representative in District 63, Fort Sumner Republican Melinda Joy Russ was losing to George Dodge by 9 percentage points.

• • •

With more than half of Curry County’s 37 precincts reporting, the proposed judicial complex is falling hard while both incumbent magistrate judges appear headed back to office.

The secretary of state’s website was reporting both questions related to a new county jail and courthouse were losing nearly 3-to-1 with 21 of 37 precincts reporting.

In the magistrate judge races, Duane Castleberry was leading Johnny Chavez by a 6-to-4 margin. Richard Hollis had 84 percent of the votes in leading Genaro Soto.

• • •

With more than 92,000 votes counted statewide, the secretary of state’s office is reporting incumbent Gary King has a slight lead over Clovis’ Matt Chandler in the race for attorney general.

King, the Democrat, had 46,402 votes to 45,779 for Chandler.

But the numbers mean little, with not even one of the state’s 33 counties reporting complete results.

• • •

Curry County Manager Lance Pyle is not ready to speculate on whether voters will reject the judicial complex as they have — nearly 3 to 1 — with early votes and now 11 of 37 precincts counted.

“I don’t think we should speculate with the voter; we won’t know till all the votes are in and counted,” he said.

Any reason to suspect early voters have a different opinion than those who voted on Tuesday?

“It’s a reflection of the voters. When they voted, they voted on the information they had.”

Any reason to think early voters had different information than those who voted late?

“I don’t want to speculate.”

• • •

Six of Curry County’s 37 voting precincts have now reported and the judicial complex issues continue to fail.

Both the jail and courthouse proposals are losing about 72 percent to 28 percent, according to the secretary of state’s website.

In the magistrate judge races, Duane Castleberry leads Johnny Chavez, 72 percent to 28 percent and Richard Hollis leads Genaro Soto, 86 percent to 14 percent.

• • •

The last time Curry County voters were asked to build a new jail was on Oct. 22, 1991.

The $5 million proposal passed by 979 votes — 2,843 to 1,864.

About 35 percent of county’s registered voters participated in the single-issue election.