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

Morris picked new Clovis mayor from field of five

 

March 8, 2020

Kevin Wilson

Candidates and citizens watch the live results from the Clovis municipal elections Tuesday evening at City Hall. Mike Morris was elected mayor with 33.6% of the vote in a five-way race.

CLOVIS — City voters chose a new direction Tuesday, selecting Mike Morris as their next mayor.

Morris, a longtime insurance agency owner in Clovis, took a five-way race with 33.6% of the vote. He had 1,510 votes to finish ahead of Stephen North (1,132) and former city manager and police chief Raymond Mondragon (943).

His first meeting with the mayor’s gavel will come when the commission meets April 2.

Votes are unofficial until Thursday’s canvassing at the Curry County Commission meeting. City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said swearing-in ceremonies would come after the secretary of state’s office issues election certificates March 27.

Morris, 43, called the win a relief and a sign he was called to be Clovis’ mayor. He credited “support of wonderful people from every part of town.”

Before he takes the city commission gavel, Morris said he wants to build relationships with city management, and with the citizens who went in another direction.

“I want to bring the community together,” Morris said. “I won with about 34 percent of the vote. Most of the citizens didn’t vote for me. I want to demonstrate to all citizens I am everyone’s mayor.”

Neither North nor Morris had run for public office before. North believed that may have helped both candidates in this particular race, but he couldn’t pinpoint what gave Morris the overall edge.

“I thought it went well,” North said. “It was ran positive and there were a lot of good candidates.”

North said based on the strong showing, he’ll make some kind of next step in public services but he has no idea what that opportunity will be.

Mondragon said he was naturally disappointed not to win, but not necessarily surprised because of how the large candidate field split the vote.

“I thought overall, the candidates for mayor and even the commission ran a good, clean race, which is important,” Mondragon said. “Sometimes supporters were a little ‘not nice,’ but that happens when you run for office.”

Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, fourth in the mayor’s race with 483 votes, said despite the result, she enjoyed the overall election process.

“There were some encouraging things, and some discouraging things,” she said, pointing out that less than one in four registered voters made their voices heard.

Overall turnout was 24.43% with 4,490 voters out of 18,379 registered voters, with the highest turnout in District 1 (30.57%) and lowest in District 3 (16.1%).

Candidates finished in the same order in Districts 1, 2 and 4 as they did in the overall tally. District 3 selected Mondragon with 42% of its vote, followed by Morris, Taylor-Sawyer, North and Rube Render, who was fifth overall.

Render, who finished second to Gayla Brumfield in a six-person mayoral race in 2008 and won a Commission 4 seat in 2014, joked, “I might need to get a carry license (for self-defense) if that’s all the friends I’ve got in this town.”

Candidates asked if the recent vote to conditionally hike property taxes impacted voting. North, Render and Taylor-Sawyer didn’t believe it did, while Mondragon said he had no way to know.

“I’m sure it mattered to some folks,” Morris said, “but I don’t think the race was determined by any one issue.”

 
 

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