Voting season starts Tuesday

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

With only one member of Congress on the ballot for eastern New Mexico, there aren’t many federal changes this area can make on the ballot box.

But Tuesday marks the first day voters can weigh in on several state issues, including local races, state races with local candidates and bond issues that would fund area schools. Roosevelt County will weigh in on college bonds, county commissioners and Roosevelt General Hospital’s board.

The general election is Nov. 2.

In what is considered the off election following the 2008 presidential election, state races are up for grabs — most notably Republican Susana Martinez running against current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. Kenneth A. Gomez, who does not have a lieutenant governor running mate, has received a write-in position.

There are 9,610 registered voters in Roosevelt County as of Monday, according to County Clerk Janet Collins. Early voting begins Tuesday, with the Roosevelt County Courthouse open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Collins said

The courthouse will also be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 30.

The Portales Public Library is an alternate voting site, and will be available beginning Oct. 16. Starting then, voting will be held at the library Tuesday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bond Question D would provide more than $155 million for higher education, with $7 million going to Eastern New Mexico University.

Wendel Sloan of ENMU’s communication office said there are no specified projects for the money, but it is generally planned for plumbing and roofing upgrades and pavement and parking lot improvements.

“There won’t be any new buildings (as a result of the bond),” Sloan said.

Clovis Community College would aim to use its $1 million share to upgrade classrooms. Marketing Director Lisa Spencer said with nursing students moving into the Allied Health Building, there are classroom vacancies in the pre-existing campus.

Other issues or races are on Portales ballots include:

• U.S. Representative: Republican Tom Mullins is challening the incumbent, Ben Ray Lujan. Lujan, the son of New Mexico State Senator Ben Lujan, took the seat in 2008 when Tom Udall vacated the spot to run for Senate.

• Secretary of State: Democrat Mary Herrera is running for re-election against Republican Dianna Duran.

• State Auditor: Democrat Hector Balderas is running to keep his seat against Republican challenger Errol Chavez.

• State Treasurer: James B. Lewis, a Democrat, holds the position. He is being challenged by Jim Schoonover.

• Attorney General: In a race of local interest, 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler is running in the Republican Party slot against Gary King, a Democrat who is running for re-election.

• Commissioner of Public Lands: Democrat Ray Powell seeks a return to the land office. Roosevelt County farmer Matt Rush is seeking to keep the position in Republican hands.

• Public Regulation Commissioner: Republican Patrick Lyons, a Clovis native, is term-limited and cannot seek re-election for land commissioner. He is running against Democrat Stephanie DuBois.

• Magistrate Judge: James W. Lee, a Democrat, is running against Republican Linda Short.

• County commission: Voters in District 5 will choose between Democrat Rodney Payne and Republican Kendall Buzard.

• State Representative Dist. 63: Democrat George Dodge Jr. is running for the open seat against Melinda Russ of Fort Sumner. The seat was vacated following Joe Campos’ unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor.

• Hospital district: Irma Goodrich and Dennis Lopez are running for the District 1 position on the hospital board. Terry Cone and Steve Connelly are running in District 2.

• Non-partisan judges: Voters can vote yes or no for Charles Daniels, Petra Maes, Michael Bustamante and Celia Castillo.

Unopposed races include county assessor (Republican Tex Belcher, State Representative for Dist. 66 (Republican Keith Gardner) and Dist. 67 (Republican Dennis Roch), a pair of Court of Appeals judges (Democrats Linda Vanzi in District 2 and Tim Garcia in District 3), county sheriff (Republican Darren Hooker) and Roosevelt County Commissions Districts 3 (Bill Cathey, Republican) and 4 (Republican Scott Burton) of the Roosevelt County Commission.

• Five constitutional amendments: Amendment 1 would permit the state to create a college scholarship program for New Mexico military war veterans. Amendment 2 would allow county officials to serve three terms instead of two. Amendment 3 would bring the state in line with federal standards for determining mental capacity to vote. Amendment 4 would create a tax exemption for land owned by a veteran’s organization. Amendment 5 would allow limited appointments of former Legislature members to civil offices in the state.

• Four bond questions: Question A would provide $7.79 million for senior citizen facility improvements. Question B would provide $7 million for library acquisition and construction ($76,000 for ENMU’s Golden Library). Question C would allow for $5.1 million for public school improvement, bus acquisition and material acquisition. Question D would provide $155.56 million in bonds for higher education and special schools.