Municipal judge race sparking some interest

By William Thompson

A number of Portales City Council seats are up for grabs in Tuesday’s municipal election, but a three-way race for municipal judge by incumbent Fred Arnold, Oscar Robinson and Arla Hitson is generating the most pre-election buzz, according to city clerk Joan Martinez-Terry.

“I’ve heard quite a bit about the judges’ race,” Martinez-Terry said, “but I haven’t heard as much talk about the city council races. I guess the voter turnout is going to come down to the judges’ race.”

The 2004 municipal election saw poor voter turnout as just 357 residents voted. A mayoral race often draws more voters, Martinez-Terry said, but this year incumbent Mayor Orlando Ortega is running unopposed.

Portales resident Mary Mendoza said she votes in each municipal election and she, too, has heard more people talking about the judges’ race than the city council races.

“I think the judges’ race represents a real challenge. People are wanting to know who’s going to win,” Mendoza said. “I am a faithful voter. I want to see the roads and streets repaired and something done about the drugs in the community.”

Kam Kiehne, like other likely voters polled, said Monday she still did not know where she was supposed to cast her vote. She said she had assumed her voting place was inside the Roosevelt County Courthouse.

The Roosevelt County Clerk does not conduct the Portales municipal election.

Portales resident Roxie Pritchett said she looks forward to voting, but said she still wasn’t aware of her voting station. She did say, however, that the location of her voting station was “on a card at home.”

Martinez-Terry said she was satisfied with her effort at getting the word out about this year’s election. A list of polling places for each city ward was posted on the front door of city hall Monday. All absentee ballots have been submitted but they have not been counted or recorded, so Martinez-Terry had no advance numbers.

“Some of the county residents assume they can vote in this election, but only city residents can vote,” Martinez-Terry said. “People can call me at 356-6662 Extension 12 to find out where they vote.”