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Former Española mayor becomes NM Auditor

Joseph Maestas Auditor Election
Daniel Montaño
Joseph Maestas addresses the crowd at the Democratic Party of New Mexico's election night watch party in Downtown Albuquerque on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Former Española mayor Joseph Maestas, a Democrat, was elected state auditor on Tuesday, replacing Brian Colón. He defeated opponent Travis Steven Sanchez, a Libertarian, by 61.1% to 38.9%

The state auditor conducts regular financial reviews of state and local public entities and can step in to audit an agency if there are suspicions of mismanagement.

Current State Auditor Brian Colón left the office to run for New Mexico attorney general but lost in the Democratic primary in June to Raul Torrez.

Maestas, also a former city councilor for Santa Fe, sits on the Public Regulation Commission. He touted his 30 years as a civil engineer working at various levels of government and his accomplishments as an elected official. Sanchez entered the race late, replacing a write-in Libertarian candidate named Robert “Jason” Vaillancourt.

There was no Republican in the race.

Former Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller was once a state auditor. It’s a common stepping stone to higher office in New Mexico.

It also has been held by Democrats almost every year since the 1970s, except for when Keller left the office early and was replaced by Republican Wayne Johnson via a gubernatorial appointment.

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