Nominating conventions get under way today

By Andy Jackson

Lance Pyle received an earful of calls this week from political candidates soliciting his support, and his mailbox has been overflowing with candidate mail in recent days, he said.

Pyle is one 17 Democratic and 10 Republican delegates from Curry County who are attending the state’s political party nominating conventions today at separate Albuquerque locations.

Candidates who will appear on ballots in the June 6 primary election will be picked today by a vote from county delegates, such as Pyle, who’s the assistant manager for Curry County and newly elected Melrose mayor. They include candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, state representative, state senator, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor, land commissioner and public regulation commission.

“I enjoy the networking,” Pyle said, “getting to know the candidate and getting to know people from other communities.”

Curry County Manager Dick Smith is also a delegate, but for the Republican Party. It’s Smith’s first year as a delegate — he was asked to be one when he attended the last Curry County Republican Convention, he said.

It’s a campaign barrage of fliers, pins, even personalized water bottles, said Pyle, a delegate for the second consecutive time.

Curry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Jan Elliott said she even received a spatula with a campaign slogan on it.
And Smith said he received a DVD that detailed a candidate’s platform.

There are two ways candidates can be nominated to be on the primary ballot. According to Rube Render, Curry County Republican Party chairman, they can win their party’s nomination at the convention with at least 20 percent of the vote.

Or they can attain a certain percentage of signatures from constituents registered in their party, said Republican Party delegate for Curry County Anna Crook (R-Clovis).
Some delegates have already decided for whom they’ll vote.
Pyle said he’s made up his mind on whom he’ll support in the three-man race for state auditor but wouldn’t spill the beans.

Portales City Commissioner Jake Lopez, a Roosevelt County Democratic delegate, said he’ll support Gov. Bill Richardson, who’s running for re-election as the lone Democrat for governor. Dr. JR Damron is running unopposed on the Republican ticket.

For other officers, Lopez is keeping his mind open, he said.
The general election is the first Tuesday in November.