Local, national elections gearing up

Kevin Wilson

The first Tuesday in November is Election Day. The first Tuesday in March is one of the most important dates leading up to it.

“Super Tuesday,” as it’s widely known, is one of the biggest days in the primary process, with 10 states holding primaries or caucuses.

States holding primaries include Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. Caucuses will take place in Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.

Combined, Super Tuesday states have 1,144 delegates up for grabs — nearly two-fifths of the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the GOP’s presidential nomination.

Super Tuesday put Barack Obama in the driver’s seat against Hillary Clinton in 2008, and it could either do the same for Mitt Romney or help former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum make huge gains against the former Massachusetts governor.

“I think the process has been good so far,” said John Pugh, a Portales Republican. “It would be easier if we could have sealed this a lot sooner, but I don’t think easier would have been better.”

Ohio is the key state, Pugh said, because it has the most delegates at stake (66), and it’s been a key battleground state in recent elections. For instance, had John Kerry won Ohio in 2004, he would have beaten President Bush on electoral votes despite losing the popular vote count.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting year,” Pugh said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.”

On a more local basis, today is municipal election day across the state. In Clovis, that means there are five city races and a ballot question to amend the city charter.

Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., with ballots containing the following:

Mayor. The incumbent, Gayla Brumfield, runs for a second term. Running against her is former three-term Mayor David Lansford, who declined to run for a fourth term in 2008.

City Commission, District 1. Randal Crowder, a self-employed general contractor, is the incumbent. Janice Elliott, executive director of Eastern New Mexico Emergency Medical Services Corporation, is also running for the position.

City Commission, District 2. Fred Van Soelen, an attorney, has decided not to seek a third term. John Jones, a retired postal employee, and Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, director of the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College and an independent associate for a legal services firm, are running for the position.

City Commission, District 3. Robert Sandoval, a retired postal employee, is the incumbent and is running unopposed.

City Commission, District 4. Chris Bryant, a restaurant owner, is the incumbent. Challenging him is R.L. “Rube” Render, a retired project manager with Lockheed Martin and a retired gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

A ballot question on adding a new section to the city charter to essentially ban dual service on the Clovis City and Curry County commissions will also be put to voters.

Section 2-6 of the charter, if approved by voters, would read, “No elected officer of the City shall be an elected officer of any county of the state of New Mexico while in office, except a person who on March 15, 2012, is both an elected officer of the city and an elected officer of a county of the state of New Mexico, may complete the existing term of county office.”

Commissioners receive a $7,000 annual stipend, while the mayor’s annual stipend is $8,000.