Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the print version of the same date.
It’s a race too close to call for Tijeras mayor days after the election, with unofficial results showing 116 votes for incumbent Gloria Chavez and 118 votes for challenger Jake Bruton.
There were 234 votes cast in the election. New Mexico’s election law provides for automatic recounts for very close races—for municipalities if the number is less than 1 percent of the total vote an automatic recount process is started, meaning if there are fewer than 2.34 votes a recount would be done.
The Secretary of State’s website as of Nov. 7 had a tab for “automatic recounts” that did not include Tijeras. This was explained after The Independent went to press by Secretary of State spokesman, Alex Curtas, who said the results must be certified before any automatic recount starts or a challenge to the result may be issued by a candidate.
The results must still be canvassed by the Bernalillo County Clerk, before becoming official. Any provisional ballots cast would need to be verified and counted as part of that process.
“I’m excited, but I would have been a lot happier with a much bigger margin there,” Bruton said. “I’m very excited, it looks like I carried the race. We’ll wait to see until the results are ratified and it becomes and official result.”
In the race for village council, Yvette Garcia was the biggest vote-getter, with 29.1% at 119 votes. Maxine Wilson got 26.41% and 108 votes. Don Johnson got 93 votes and Jeffrey Claypool got 89 votes. The top two are elected.
In a second race too close to call, incumbent Charles Armijo and challenger Cris Encinias, running for the Moriarty-Edgewood School Board, got 151 and 150 votes respectively. With only a one-vote difference, this race could also spark an automatic recount.
Elizabeth Howells and Albert Chavez were unopposed in their MESD school board races.
In Mountainair, Aurora Zamora and Ernie Lopez will join the town council. Zamora got 152 votes and Lopez got 111, for 28.90% and 21.10% respectively.
Shanna Marie Kayser got 110 votes; La’Sha Chavez got 53; Debra Vetterman got 41; Brandon Overholser got 30; and Jeremy Oliver got 29. The final tally was 526 votes cast in the race.
In the race for Mountainair Public School Board, Darrell Roberts ran unopposed.
Michael Montano eked a win over Maria Rubi, with 197 and 187 votes respectively 51.30% to 48.70%.
Victor Romero got 297 votes and 73.33% over David Bingham, who garnered 108 votes.
In the town of Estancia, voters re-elected town trustee Stella Chavez with 96 votes, 69.06% of votes cast. Norma Jean Gonzalez got 28 votes and Wayne Glover had 15 votes. Albert Lovato was unopposed in his race for Estancia trustee.
In the Estancia Municipal School District Board race, Position 3 incumbent Kendra Encinias-Otis was re-elected with 308 votes and a 3-to-1 margin over challenger DiAnn Walker-Boyd, who got 126 votes. Keith Sandy was unopposed for Position 5 and was elected with 336 votes.
The Claunch-Pinto Soil & Water Conservation District had three candidates running unopposed: Robin Dunn, Felipe Lovato and LeRoy Candelaria.
East Torrance SWCD had two seats with candidates running unopposed, electing William Wrye Jr. and Clayton Gardner.
The Edgewood SWCD had three candidates running unopposed, electing David King, Lewis Fisher and Mark Anaya.
The Ciudad SWCD had two candidates running unopposed, Maria Young and Thomas Allen. Daniel Conklin won his race with 37,664 votes over Daniel Lyon’s 20,770 votes.
The Independent will continue to monitor the very close races in the Tricounty area, and any changes that may come from the official tally.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.