The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

New blood enters political field in New Mexico


November 11, 2018

It appears eastern New Mexico will have two new first-time lawmakers heading to Santa Fe in January, though the race for District 63 state representative may not be officially decided until December.

Unofficial results show Republican Martin Zamora defeated Democrat incumbent George Dodge Jr. by 26 votes on Tuesday — 2,980 to 2,954.

Secretary of State Communications Director Alex Curtas said that race would go to an automatic recount when the state canvassing board, made up of the SOS, governor and chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, convenes to certify the results on Nov. 27.

Curtas said that recount would need to be completed within 10 days of certification.

Republican Jackey Chatfield easily defeated Democrat Mark McDonald in the race for District 67 state representative. He will succeed Dennis Roch, who did not seek re-election.

Zamora attributed his apparent election to voters’ desire for change and said he does not anticipate the recount to impact the final result.

“We believe we have a good system and the system is there for a reason just to double check. But we feel comfortable in our county clerks doing a good job and the count will probably stay the same,” Zamora said.

Zamora said he plans to bring “a lot of hard work” to the Legislature when it convenes in January.

“I think I’ll go in there with a fresh mind and get into the office in Santa Fe and pay attention to the leaders that are up there and pay attention to our people in District 67 and take to Santa Fe whatever the issues they have,” he said.

Dodge, the area’s only Democrat among state lawmakers, is left hoping for a significant change to swing the election.

“You always hope for something like that but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen,” Dodge said. “We had a great team out there, our canvassers did just a wonderful job and our campaign manager did a wonderful job and just the people spoke and here we are.”

Chatfield’s victory in District 67 is not in dispute, as he took 62.15 percent to fellow first-time candidate McDonald’s 37.85 percent.

Chatfield said he considers economic development and senior citizen centers, among other issues, to be important to address when he gets to Santa Fe.

“I’m just very grateful for the number of people that have supported me and I promise to go and work hard for eastern New Mexico to keep our economy alive, keep our schools functioning well,” and secure long-term access to water, Chatfield said Thursday.

New Mexico voters on Tuesday elected Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham in the race for governor. She defeated Steve Pearce by about a 14 percent margin.

Voters also approved all four bond questions and both constitutional amendments on the ballot by wide margins.

“I am so pleased that Bond B and Bond D (related to education funds) both passed ... We’re really pleased that it was a really healthy margin,” Clovis Community College President Becky Rowley said following Wednesday’s CCC Board of Trustees meeting.

Of the $150 million-plus in general obligation bonds approved, CCC will receive $1.5 million for campuswide infrastructure repairs and Eastern New Mexico will receive $8 million for the renovation of the Roosevelt Science Center.

Senior centers and libraries in Curry, De Baca, Quay and Roosevelt Counties will receive about $475,000 and $580,000, respectively.

Amendment 1 grants the Legislature the authority to remove the requirement for appeals cases to be heard by district courts and amendment 2 established an independent state ethics commission.


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