Municipal races building steam

By Kevin Wilson

Tuesday will be a busy day at city and town halls across eastern New Mexico, with candidates having an 8 a.m.-5 p.m. window to file for office.

The following is a list of items that will be on Clovis’ March 6 ballot, including candidates who have announced their intentions to run so far:

The mayor’s race. Gayla Brumfield, a Realtor, is seeking her second term as mayor, and said she would not seek a third term if re-elected. David Lansford, a pharmacist who served three terms before stepping aside for personal reasons in 2008, has announced plans to run for the office again.

Brumfield and Lansford are the only mayors elected by the voters. Prior to 1996, when Lansford won the first at-large mayoral election, residents ran for commission seats and the mayor’s position was elected from within the commission.

City Commission, District 1. Randal Crowder, a self-employed general contractor, is the incumbent. Nobody else has announced plans to run against him.

City Commission, District 2. Fred Van Soelen, an attorney, has decided not to seek a third term. Candidates who have announced intentions to run for the spot include John Jones, a retired postal employee, and Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, director of the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College and an independent associate for a legal services firm.

Gloria Wicker, who served in the position until she was defeated by Van Soelen in the 2004 election, said she intended to run for her old seat, but discovered redistricting had moved her from District 2 to District 3, where she said she would have a significant disadvantage in meeting a new constituent base and running against an incumbent.

City Commission, District 3. Robert Sandoval, a retired postal employee, is the incumbent. Nobody else has announced plans to run against him.

City Commission, District 4. Chris Bryant, a restaurant owner, is the incumbent. R.L. “Rube” Render, a retired project manager with Lockheed Martin and a retired gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, intends to run against him.

A ballot question on adding a new section to the city charter to essentially ban dual service on the Clovis City and Curry County commissions.

Section 2-6 of the charter, if approved by voters, would read, “No elected officer of the City shall be an elected officer of any county of the state of New Mexico while in office, except a person who on March 15, 2012, is both an elected officer of the city and an elected officer of a county of the state of New Mexico, may complete the existing term of county office.”

The exception means that the two candidates currently serving on both the Clovis City and Curry County commissions — Dan Stoddard and Bobby Sandoval — may finish out the remainder of their county terms. Stoddard is up for re-election on the county commission later this year, and Sandoval will be term-limited in 2014.

Absentee voting begins Jan. 31, early voting begins Feb. 15 and both end March 2. Anybody who wishes to vote in the municipal election must be registered to vote by Feb. 7.

Other area municipal elections include:

• Portales: There are four council positions, all four-year terms. Alfredo Bachicha Jr. (Ward A), Gary Watkins (Ward B), Leo Lovett (Ward C) and Keith Thomas (Ward D) have all said they intend to run again. No challengers have announced plans to run for the office.

• Texico: Two at-large four-year council terms are on the ballot. Doug Scioli and Jerry Bradley are the incumbents. Scioli intends to run for re-election, while Bradley does not.

Melrose: Two at-large four-year council positions are on the ballot. Bobby Rogers is running for re-election and a vacant seat is available. The vacancy was not filled after C.C. Pyle resigned the position.

• Grady: Two at-large four-year council positions are on the ballot. They are held by May Lee Szaloy and Cathy Edwards.

• Elida: There are two at-large four-year trustee positions on the ballot. One is vacant due to a trustee moving, and Andres Jasso is up for re-election for the other position.

Attempts to contact officials for the villages of Dora and Floyd were unsuccessful.