Incumbents win in Portales; Clovis has 2 new commissioners
Last updated 3/7/2022 at 4:12pm
Incumbents easily swept Portales City Council races on Tuesday, while Clovis will soon have two new members of its city commission if unofficial vote totals hold.
Clovis' race for District 1 commissioner was a tight one - so tight the Secretary of State's Office has flagged it for a recount. Unofficial totals show George Jones defeated incumbent James Burns 208 votes to 205.
The date of that recount remained unclear heading into the weekend. Clovis' City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon said the date is determined by the secretary of state, which first requires a canvassing report from the Curry County Commission. Melancon said she will present numbers to the county on Tuesday.
She said she hopes to have a recount date before March 25. That recount will only involve ballots from city commission District 1.
The recount will be conducted in public, Melancon said. An election board appointed by Melancon and a district judge are required to witness the recount, she said.
Burns said he did not request a recount.
"The voters spoke, that's fine," he said. "I know George (Jones). He's a fine gentleman. He'd be a good addition to the city commission."
Burns spoke of the low voter turnout, less than 5% of registered voters, in a positive way.
"Citizens are happy with the way things are," Burns said. Burns said the city has "good leadership" with Mike Morris as mayor.
Jones said he feels fortunate with the tentative win.
"I knew it would be close," he said. "I was fortunate to get the three votes to put me over the top."
If the numbers hold, Jones said he will focus on economic growth.
"We need to get some more retail in the city," he said. "We need to keep our money here instead of residents spending money in Lubbock or Amarillo."
He said streets are also a priority. "Drainage is a big deal and we need to take care of our first responders."
Burns said if the recount goes his way, he plans to focus attention on Clovis' regional airport.
"If we can get 10,000 passengers through the airport in a year," Burns said, "the federal government will give us $1 million. That can go a long way for improvements."
Bryant to focus on police pay
In Clovis' other contested city commission race, David Bryant defeated Paul Nelson, 71-50.
"I'm excited," Bryant said. "I'm glad I won. I wish there were more people who got out and voted. I look forward to being on the commission."
He said his top focus will be to "change the attitude toward police officers and first responders.
"My son was a policeman here," Bryant said. "We lost a lot of police officers the past two years. There was a time we were in crisis mode. I think the problem with police officers and retention is the pay rate. I think we need to look at pay rates around the state and we need to be the leader in pay rates and retention. I just want to get in there and do that."
Bryant said he also wants to "push for the mental health facility that is being discussed."
Bryant's opponent, Paul Nelson, said he was saddened by the voter turnout.
"In my district the turnout was 3.08% of registered voters. We need to get citizens more engaged," Nelson said.
3 of 4 city charter questions rejected
Regarding city charter questions in Clovis, voters issued a resounding "No" to questions 1, 2 and 4, yes to question 3.
Question 1 was about changing the number of voters to recall an elected official from 20% to 33.33%, question 2 dealt with removing term limits on city elected officials and question 4 asked for voters to decide whether the Clovis City Charter should be done in gender-neutral phrasing.
Question 3 was the question requiring any recall action against an elected official to state clearly and concisely the reason for the recall. The question passed by a roughly 3 to 1 margin.
Portales mayor talks streets, water
Ron Jackson was an easy winner for a second term in the Portales mayor race.
"I am definitely pleased with the results," Jackson said. "I feel like I worked hard for the past four years and I appreciate the community support."
And Jackson's vision of his next term?
"Street improvements," he said. "Getting water to the community."
Jackson also serves as vice-chairman of the board of the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority, the agency that oversees the Ute Water Pipeline.
"We have a really good council," Jackson said." We have a good, new city manager. I am looking forward to co work for the community."
Rey Coss, Jackson's opponent, offered his congratulations. "I hope for the best for everybody," he said.
Incumbent Councilor Oscar Robinson also had little trouble defeating two contenders in his re-election bid in the position 1 race.
Calls to Robinson were not returned.
Voter turnout was light in both city races – less than 5 percent.
Here are unofficial results from area contested races in Tuesday's municipal elections.
Clovis City Commission
District 1 (two-year term)
George Talmadge Jones: 208
James A. Burns: 205
District 3 (four-year term)
David W. Bryant: 71
Paul A. Nelson: 50
City charter questions
1: Shall the City Charter be amended to remove Section 3-2: Term limits in its entirety as the NM Supreme Court has declared the imposition of term limits on municipal elected officials violates the NM Constitution?" No: 618, Yes: 354
2: "Shall the City Charter be amended to change the % of voters required to recall an elected official from 20% to 33.3%?" No: 627, Yes: 355
3: Shall the City Charter be amended to add the requirement that any recall petition contain a clear and concise statement citing the grounds for recall of an elected official?" Yes: 732, No: 248
4: "Shall the City Charter be amended so that it reads gender neutral?" No: 735, Yes: 250
Portales City Council
Mayor (four-year term)
Ron Jackson: 306
Reydecel Coss Jr. : 144
Position 1 (four-year term)
Oscar Robinson: 110
Grace Padilla: 38
John Michael Bonifant: 13