By William P. Thompson
All Portales incumbent city councilors kept their seats on the council after Tuesday’s municipal election and Municipal Judge Fred Arnold retained his seat on the bench. A total of 997 voters participated in the election, about 15 percent of the city’s 6,322 registered voters.
The closest race was in Ward D in which James “Jim” Lee fell just 17 votes short of Dianne Parker, 144-127.
“Well, if you come up short, you come up short,” Lee said. “The people who voted will have to live with their choice the next four years. The people who didn’t vote should be alarmed because a small group of people is running their government.”
Parker said she was happy to win and glad the voter turnout was higher than the last municipal election in 2004 in which just 357 residents voted.
“It was a good race,” Parker said. “We (the city council) are ready to go to work.”
In Ward A, Jake Lopez held on to his city council seat by defeating Lorenzo Baca 174 votes to 65. Lopez said he looks forward to continuing work on city projects he’s been involved with.
“I feel pretty good,” Lopez said. “I’m wanting to fix the city’s roads and make sure everything runs well in the city. All my family members are here (at home) and we’re celebrating.”
Robert De Los Santos held on to his Ward B city council seat by defeating political newcomer Chad Heflin 127 votes to 71.
“All the incumbents won, and I feel good about that,” De Los Santos said. “There is so much still on the table that is still in the works.”
Judge Arnold had two challengers in Oscar Robinson and Arla Hitson. Arnold carried the victory with 476 votes, Robinson came in second with 311 votes and Hitson finished with 204 votes. Robinson, however did have more votes than Arnold in Ward C.
Arnold said he wasn’t surprised that Robinson did well in finishing second to him because, he said, “He (Robinson) has served on the city council before.”
Arnold said he felt “humbled” by the victory and appreciated all those who voted.
Mayor Orlando Ortega, Jr. ran unopposed and received 833 votes city-wide while Ward C city councilman Ron Jackson ran unopposed and garnered 217 votes.
Portales City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry had the final vote tally a little before 9 p.m. Tuesday. She said she was happy there were no races that were decided by just one or two votes.
Orlando Ortega, Jr. 833
Jake Lopez 174
Lorenzo baca 65
Robert De Los Santos 127
Chad Heflin 71
Ron Jackson 217
Diane Parker 144
James “Jim” Lee 127
Eddy Hiner 12