City Councilman Mike Miller just added another four years to a resume already lush with experience in city and county government.
The incumbent scored roughly 75 percent of the vote for the Ward D city council position, defeating Eddie Hiner in the city’s only contested race on Tuesday night. Miller scored 165 votes to Hiner’s 56.
“It’s a nice thing to know there was a choice and we prevailed this time … I’ll work hard to validate the confidence the 165 people have in me and try to do a good job here,” Miller said.
Hiner, a Portales native and owner of Berkeley and Arizona Apartments, wouldn’t comment on the election in detail but noted his opposition to the Ute Water Project may have been a factor.
“I think I’m the only one who has ever come out against it,” Hiner said. “If it was a viable project they could have got it done 40 years ago.”
Miller has served as Portales fire chief, Roosevelt County administrator and lobbyist for Roosevelt County. He was appointed to the Ward D city council position by Mayor Orlando Ortega when he was elected mayor in 2002.
Miller, who has been undecided on the almost $300 million Ute Water Project, stressed the importance of water to area residents.
“I think there is a lot of concern about water, and there’s reservation about Ute,” Miller said. “I haven’t committed to Ute … I just think we have to continually be vigilant of the project and continually vigilant about other opportunities.”
In three uncontested city council elections, incumbents Alfred Bachicha, Gary Watkins and D.K. Shafer will all serve four more years on the council.
In Elida, incumbents Nancy Ward and Manuel Jasso scored the two open seats on the city’s Board of Trustees. Challenger Jerry Smith received 14 votes, falling short to Ward (37) and Jasso (35).
In Dora, Jack Manis and Don Field ran unopposed and will serve four more years on the town’s council.
Becky Fraze, the Village of Dora clerk, received only eight votes, and said voter turnout has continually dropped over the years.
“It just seems that every four years it gets less and less because we don’t have contested races,” Fraze said. “Maybe it was because of the cold weather.”
In Floyd, Colin Chandler scored four votes in an unopposed city council election. He will serve four more years.
In Melrose, Robert Hoyt Clifton and Tuck N. Monk ran unopposed and won four-year village council positions.