There will be one new face on the Edgewood Commission, there is a new mayor in Moriarty and the Tijeras mayor retained his post by the narrowest of margins.
Political newcomer Patrick M. Milligan earned a landslide victory for Edgewood Commission seat in District 3, taking 72% of the votes against Colin Joseph Clausen. The seat was left open when former Mayor Audrey Jaramillo decided against running again following her ouster as commission head.
District 5 incumbent Sterling Donner held his seat with 46% of the vote over Mary Elizabeth Kozik and Michael John Peters. District 2 incumbent Jerry Powers retained his seat as he was unopposed.
Donner said he attributed his win to his greater name recognition and governmental experience.
“I had a feeling it would be fairly close,” said Donner, who sponsored the controversial move for the town to ban the mailing of abortion materials through the mail under the Federal Comstock Law. “I think it was my experience in the position and just that I had a basis for why I was running. My opponents, they were only running for one issue. I had one of my opponents tell me they wouldn’t have run if it wasn’t for that one ordinance.”
At the moment the ordinance is not on the books as it was successfully challenged through a signature drive to force a referendum, which Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver refused to allow be placed on the ballot.
“I had a plan, I have a vision,” Donner said. “Fortunately, they didn’t. That’s part of what put me over the edge.”
During his coming term, Donner said he wants to help commission strive for increased service for town residents, particularly healthcare, senior care and activities and youth activities.
Milligan said the consistent bickering among commission members help drive him to running.
“I saw all the strife that was taking place and things weren’t getting done and a lot of bickering back and forth and that was hindering things from taking place,” said Milligan, who owns Milligan Farms, as well as Dream Factory Productions in Albuquerque. “I was sick of seeing things pushed back to the next agenda and the next agenda and things not getting done.”
Before taking his seat in January, Milligan said he would like to meet informally with the other commissioners.
“I want to sit down one on one with each of the commissioners and see what their ideas are, their issues and get some resolutions from there,” he said.
The biggest issues the commission should be trying to address center on roads, water, senior affairs and economic development, Milligan said.
In something of a surprise, Brandon S. Webb is the new Moriarty mayor, collecting 53% of the vote to upset City Councilor Steve Anaya. While new to politics, Webb’s family is a longtime business owner in the community, having owned the old Chaparral Turf Farm.
Just being a new face in government may have been the biggest positive, Webb said.
“People wanted change,” he said. “I’ve been saying this to everybody since I threw my name in the hat. I believe 100 percent in shuffling the deck.”
Too often when people spend too much time in office, things just get a little stale, Webb said.
“I think it’s good to get some new, fresh ideas,” he said. “Some eyeballs on the situation and try some new things. I just believe that people wanted a change.”
Webb said he went to bed Tuesday night with the race still very much up in the air, only to awake in the morning and find out he had won.
And now it is time to get to work, said Webb, who returned to Moriarty in 2016 after a nearly two-decade absence to be dismayed by what he found.
“I saw my hometown dying,” he said. “It was just in despair. It was like an old house that somebody left vacant for 120 years and I was sad. My first thing on the agenda is to start to cleaning up our little town. Mowing down some vacant lots, trimming up some trees. Bring some TLC, bring some of that hometown feel back.”
And to do that, Webb wants to encourage and promote community involvement.
“We need to get volunteers back,” he said. “I think volunteers are huge in small towns. Any kind of committees. I think the world is run by volunteers. There’s not enough money to go around. I believe in bringing back that hometown pride and hopefully it sparks a fire in people and they say, ‘Wow, let’s get involved and try to make a difference where we can.”
In the Moriarty-Edgewood School Board race, Lyndsi Kaye Donner – Commissioner Donner’s wife — ousted incumbent Windie Marie Burns in District 5 with 38% of the vote as Burns tied with K.R. Scott. Incumbent Albert Chavez barely retained his District 4 seat with 51% over Dorothy Encinias-Pachta; Jeffrey Lossing takes District 3 with 42% over Lacey Shante Hites and Dawn Lynette Kent Middleton and Denny Alan Young ran unopposed to win District 2.
In other elections across the region, incumbent Moriarty city councilor Kimberly Delynn Garcia retained her seat and Jeremy Anthony Trujillo is a newcomer to the council, collecting the most votes with 42%.
Half of the Estancia village trustees will be new as newcomers Amy Lynn May grabbed 39% of the vote and surprising write-in candidate Patrick Ray Sanchez took a seat with 27%.
There is one newcomer to the Estancia Municipal School District board with Sarah Lucero winning a seat, while incumbents Ashley Romero and Heather Hedges each retained their spots.
The two candidates for the two vacancies for the Tijeras council were selected in incumbent Yvette Garcia, as well as Ernest C. Barnes.
In Mountainair, incumbent Councilor Ernesto Lopez was ousted after collecting just 19% of the vote, while incumbent Gayle Ann Jones and Annette A. Padilla each garnered 40 percent to nab the two vacancies.
In the Mountainair Public School Board, four of the five candidates were selected to fill vacancies: Victor R. Romero, Darrell W. Roberts, Kristin Marie Kimberly Oliver and Ray F. Sharbutt.
In Encino, Victor Gallegos ran unopposed for mayor and three councilor candidates each were selected to fill vacancies: Elias C. Sanchez, Corine A. Perez and Steve C. Guzman.
Fay Chavez, running against two write-in candidates for Willard trustee, won handily, collecting all 41 votes cast.
Carlos McMahon picked up all 72 votes against a write-in candidate for Mountainair municipal judge.
East Torrance Soil & Water Conservation Board soil and water supervisor went to Jennifer Leigh Logan and Christina L. Estrada, while Clayton B. Gardner won the landowner slot.
Edgewood Soil and Water Conservation Board landowner positions went to Wendy Ann Lossing and Robert Allen Coburn in a four-candidate race.
David W. King, running unopposed, was selected Edgewood Soil and Water Conservation Board supervisor.