Commission incumbents retain seats; Taylor-Sawyer wins District 2

Kevin Wilson

Though Clovis voters changed their mayor in the Tuesday municipal elections, the city commission will be mostly unaltered.

Randy Crowder, Bobby Sandoval and Chris Bryant retained their seats in Districts 1, 3 and 4, respectively, while Sandra Taylor-Sawyer was elected to the open seat in District 2.

Crowder, who will serve his third term, said he was happy to prevail by a larger margin than he did in 2008. He defeated Jan Elliott, executive director of Eastern New Mexico Emergency Medical Services Corp., by a 1,060-518 count.

“I did campaign hard,” Crowder said, “but I think it was due to positions I’ve taken in the last few years.”

Crowder was the lone dissenting vote in a pair of ordinances — a gross receipts tax increase to pay for the Ute Water Project and an affordable housing plan — that went to negative referendum elections through citizen petitions. The gross receipts tax was upheld, while the affordable housing plan was overturned.

Regarding the mayor’s race, where former three-term Mayor David Lansford defeated incumbent Mayor Gayla Brumfield 2,914-1,710, Crowder felt the election “sent a message” to the community.

Bryant, who defeated R.L. “Rube” Render by a 944-678 count, felt the city made positive strides during his first term, including purchasing the Chaparral Country Club and absorbing the municipal golf course into Hillcrest Park for expanded recreational activities.

“I’m proud of the work that we were able to do,” Bryant said. “I’m thankful the voters in my district trust me to do the job for another four years.

“Gayla was a good leader. She moved the city forward with some projects. I’d wish that she could have gone on, but we’ll keep going strong and work for the city.”

Taylor-Sawyer, director of the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College, defeated retired postal carrier John Jones in the closest race, with a 468-336 count. The seat was open after Fred Van Soelen declined to run for a third term.

“If I won, it would have been great; it was God’s will,” Taylor-Sawyer said. “If I lost, it was God’s will. I wasn’t apprehensive about it at all. I’m thankful for the voters; they made their decision and I appreciate everyone making that effort.”

Sandoval, who could not be reached for comment, ran unopposed, and received 430 votes.