Probate, one commissioner spot contested

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Two of the five races for Roosevelt County offices drew a crowd on filing day Tuesday.

In Commissioner’s District 2, Richard (Rick) Leal is challenging incumbent David Sanders. In the probate judge’s race one Republican Mark Paternoster and three Democrats, Lavern Standifer, Barbara George and Mickey Morgan have filed.

Former county commissioner and current Portales City Councilor Jake Lopez, a Democrat, was the sole person filing for the District 1 commissioner seat. Democratic incumbent County Clerk Janet Collins was all alone in her race for re-election as was Republican Mickie Williams in her quest to become county treasurer.

Primary elections in Roosevelt County are June 3 with the General Election Nov. 4. Terms start in January 2009.

Sanders, a long-time resident of the county, is running for his second consecutive term. Previously he served two four-year terms and a short two-year term during the transition from three to five commissioners. He is a retired farmer and rancher.

“We’ve got some projects going in the county (I want to see finished),” Sanders said. “We’ve fought for a long time to get things back on a level playing ground and we’re making progress.”

Leal who is a Roosevelt County native is general manager of the Roosevelt County Water Cooperative and he and his wife own Ray’s Quick Lube in Portales. He says this is his first time to run for public office.

“It’s time for me to give back to the community,” Leal said. “I might have some good ideas that can help the community.”

In the probate race, Paternoster will have a pass to the November General Election. He has been a bailiff for 9th Judicial District Court in Roosevelt County since 2001. Prior to that he worked for a title company and in the Roosevelt County Assessors Office.

“I think it’s time to serve the people of Roosevelt County,” Paternoster said. “My experience and training in land title and at the courthouse serves me well to get the job done.”

Standifer was born and raised in Roosevelt County and worked for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency for 12 years in Roosevelt County. She later served as FSA Director in Lea County for 15 years before retiring in 2006 and moving back to Portales.

“I’ve missed the interaction with people and would like to get back to a place where I can help people,” Standifer said. “I’m very service oriented, my whole career has been about helping farmers and ranchers.”

George is currently Teen Court director in Portales and also serves as an alternate municipal judge. She retired from a teaching and coaching career after 25 years at Portales High School.

“I’ve always just worked,” George said of her reasons for pursuing the office. “I’ve always just tried to help people out.”

Morgan, who was born and raised in Portales works at KENW-TV after selling a business in sound engineering. He did not return phone calls to the PNT before press time.

Williams, the current deputy treasurer has worked in the treasurer’s office for the past eight years, coming in at the beginning of current treasurer Nancy Belcher’s first term. Belcher faces term limits but plans to continue working in the office under Williams.

“I want to just keep doing what we’re doing,” Williams said. “We’ve had really good audits and people seem pleased with the job we’ve done. We want to continue that.”

Like Williams, Collins was breathing a sigh of relief as the filing deadline came Tuesday with no one else filing for the position. Following this term, she would face term limits.

“I’m real pleased,” Collins said. “I hope to leave this office in good shape for the next clerk.”
Lopez was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening.

State Senator’s Stuart Ingle and Gay Kernan will both run unopposed. Republican Matt Rush from Roosevelt County will challenge Democrat Joe Campos in the Dist. 63 State Representatives race.

Tuesday’s Filings

Roosevelt County
District 1

Jake J. Lopez, Democrat

District 2

David C. Sanders, Republican
Richard Leal, Republican

Probate Judge
Mark B. Paternoster, Democrat
Barbara George, Republican
C. Lavern Standifer, Republican
Mitchell C. Morgan, Republican

County Clerk
E. Janet Collins, Democrat

Mickie M. Williams, Republican

State Senate

District 27
Stuart Ingle, Republican

District 42
Gay G. Kernan, Republican

State representative
District 63

Joe Campos II, Democrat
Mathew D. Rush, Republican

District 67
Craig L. Cosner, Democrat
Dennis J. Roch, Republican
Van Robertson, Democrat