Baca, Spear garner Curry County Commission seats

By Vanessa Kahin

STAFF WRITER

vkahin@cnjonline.com

Two Curry County Commission seats were decided in Tuesday’s primary election, with Angelina Baca and Chet Spear winning by large margins.

Baca, a Democrat, was voted District 1 commissioner; beating contender Edwin Perales. She faces no Republican opposition in the November general election.

Angelina Baca and Chet Spear

Angelina Baca and Chet Spear

Baca received 121 votes, or 66 percent of ballots cast; Perales, got 62, or 34 percent of the votes.

Spear, a Republican, was elected District 3 commissioner. Spear received 286, or 58 percent of the votes while fellow contender William G. Southard received 205, or 42 percent votes. Spear faces no Democrat opposition this fall.

Incumbents Frank Blackburn and Robert Sandoval were both term-limited.

The new Curry County Commissioners will be sworn in to the post in January 2015.

Spear, a retired private investigator, thanked his immediate family, his treasurer Lisa Myers, and his former rival.

“I want to thank Greg Southard for running a great campaign,” Spear said. “I have all the respect for him.” Spear also thanked his wife, Joannie, son Wes, and daughter-in-law Lisa Pellegrino-Spear.

Spear said that, during his campaign, he visited about 800 homes. He thanked all the people who contributed to his success.

“I would like to work with other commissioners and city officials and try to make Curry County a better place to live,” Spear said. “We can’t do this alone. We need help on both sides.”

Southard also expressed positive sentiments.

“I called Chet Spear and I congratulated him,” Southard said. But with the congratulations came a caveat.

“I asked Chet to not forget the farmers, the ranchers and the dairy operators,” Southard said. “We in the city make laws that affect them. Chet was very receptive to that.”

Southard said he doubts he will run for a commissioner seat again.

“I got to meet a lot of wonderful people, (but) it’s a lot of work,” he said of running a campaign. “It gives me a higher regard for people who do serve.”

Baca acknowledged the low voter turnout, but thanked those who did vote.

“I want to thank each and every voter that came out to vote during this election, your voice has been heard,” Baca said in an email statement. “I most especially want to thank my support system in my campaign,  especially my 12-year-old daughter Cielo who is my most avid supporter in everything I do. I thank my parents Bennie and Phoebe Baca who taught me to work hard and never leave a job halfway done.”

Baca said it behooves her as an elected official to “do her homework” before January 2015; studying both the law and current issues.

Perales could not be immediately reached for comment.