WED: New Mexico's 2023 Election Day results
ABQ City Council partisan balance unchanged regardless of impending runoff -By Nash Jones, KUNM News
Three of the four Albuquerque City Council seats up for election yesterday have been decided, according to unofficial results. The other — District 6 — is heading to a runoff. Though regardless the 5/4 Democratic majority of the council will remain unchanged.
None of the four candidates running for the seat that includes Nob Hill and the International District secured over half of the votes. That means the top two finishers will run against each other next month. Nichole Rogers led the pack, with Jeff Hoehn in second. Both are Democrats, though Hoehn has a more moderate platform.
District 4 in the Northeast Heights was too close to call much of Tuesdsay night. With all precincts reporting, incumbent Republican Brook Bassan eked out a win over challenger Abby Foster with 51% of the vote.
District 8, which Republican Trudy Jones has held for four terms, will continue to be a conservative voice on the council. Retired police officer Daniel Champine has defeated former Democratic state lawmaker Idalia Lechuga-Tena, according to unofficial results.
Meanwhile the Downtown District 2 seat will remain a liberal one. After longtime Councilor Isaac Benton stepped aside after nearly two decades, Joaquin Baca handily won the seat in a three-way contest.
Incumbents win re-election in Santa Fe and Castro emerges victorious in ranked choice voting contest – By Megan Kamerick, KUNM News
Two Santa Fe city councilors have been re-elected while two other seats will have new faces in campaigns that focused on affordable housing, public safety and replacing monuments.
In District 1, Alma Castro won after three rounds of ranked choice voting. She replaces the current councilor, community planner Renee Villareal, who is standing down after two terms.
In District 2 incumbent Michael Garcia retained his seat, winning 54% of the vote over challenger Phillip Allen Lucero.
In District 3, current councilor Chris Rivera is stepping down and will be replaced by Planning Commission member Pilar Faulkner who says she will advocate for better services on the city's Southside. She beat out former police officer Louis Carlos with 56% of the vote.
And in District 4, incumbent Jamie Cassutt, who co-sponsored a ballot measure widely known as the mansion tax, took 69% of the vote, beating security officer Joel Nava, the only Republican to run for city council.
Among new Edgewood commissioners at least two supported anti-abortion ordinance – By Alice Fordham, KUNM News
In the town of Edgewood, three out of five commissioner seats were up for election. At least two of the new commissioners would likely support a controversial anti-abortion ruling passed by the previous commission earlier this year
After Edgewood's commissioners decided by four votes to one in April to pass a legally-dubious ordinance restricting local access to abortion, at least two of the candidates said they ran specifically in opposition to the ordinance.
But Mary Kozik and Michael Peters lost to incumbent Sterling Donner, who voted in favor of the local rule restricting abortion.
Another commissioner who voted in favor of the ordinance, Jerry Powers, was unopposed.
And a third seat was vacated by former mayor Audrey Jaramillo, who also supported the anti-abortion ordinance. The winner of the race to replace her, Patrick Milligan, did not respond to queries about his stance on the ordinance.
Taos Ski Valley sees fresh faces for mayor & council, Oswald and Fernandez win Taos town council seats - Bryce Dix, KUNM News
The Village of Taos Ski Valley will see a couple new faces among its leadership.
Christopher Stanek won 59% of the vote for the mayoral seat, according to unofficial results. A scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he campaigned on his vast knowledge of energy and climate issues. Though, has no prior experience in village leadership.
On the other hand, his opponent, Henry Caldwell, is no stranger to the Taos Ski Valley. He was on the village council for a year and, before that, held a seat with a multitude of committees –– including the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Caldwell also lost his bid for Tax Increment Development Director.
For village councilorship, newcomer Doug Turner and incumbent Thomas Wittman will fill two positions.
The town of Taos voted for Genevieve Oswald – who led the pack for councilship at 38% of the vote. In a nail-biting finish, incumbent Darien Fernandez narrowly beat out Bill Romero by 19 votes to secure the second town council spot.
Voters in Taos county also approved a gross receipts tax for a hospital in Taos and a public school capital improvements tax.
Astorga, Benavidez and Tome win APS board races - By Megan Kamerick, KUNM News
Longtime Albuquerque Public Schools Board member Peggy Muller-Aragon lost her District 2 seat race to Ronalda Tome-Warito in a very close race Tuesday night. Tome-Warito had 42.33% of the vote and Muller-Aragon had 39.76%, a difference of 269 votes. That’s according to unofficial results from the Bernalillo County Clerk and the Albuquerque Public Schools website.
Muller-Aragon had the support of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as an extremist group. Tome-Warito is an advocate for students with disabilities and is endorsed by the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
Heather Benavidez easily won the District 4 seat, covering Southeast Albuquerque, defeating Stephen Cecco, who was also supported by Moms for Liberty. He said the current education system in New Mexico is taking away parents' rights. Benavidez was backed by the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
In District 1, Janelle Jamie Astorga had nearly 49% of the votes late Tuesday night with Robert Trujillo at just over 42%. The district covers Atrisco Heritage Academy and Rio Grande high schools. Astorga is an advocate for mental health and wants to increase bilingual classes.
Santa Fe Schools incumbent defeats challenge by candidate backed by Moms for Liberty – By Megan Kamerick, KUNM News
In Santa Fe, the one competitive school board set will remain with the incumbent according to unofficial results.
Sarah Boses handily beat back a challenge for her District 2 seat from candidates Patricia Vigil-Stockton and John McKenna.
he non-partisan race became a microcosm of the larger national culture wars with the controversial group Moms for Liberty supporting Vigil-Stockton, who rallied around parental rights and shared concerns with the group about what books are available to students.
Candidate John McKenna also said he would support removing “anti-American” books from schools, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, including The 1619 Project, which explores American history through the impact of slavery.
Incumbents in Districts 1 and 4 ran unopposed.
Rio Rancho voters pass bonds and choose Miller for school board – By Megan Kamerick, KUNM News
Rio Rancho voters chose Elisabeth Miller to fill the District 4 seat. She garnered 58% of the vote over former school board member Ramon Montaño.
Miller has an extensive administration background at the University of New Mexico’s Gallup campus. She told the Rio Rancho Observer she’s a strong supporter of career-technical programs.
District 2 incumbent Amanda Galbraith, president of the board, ran unopposed.
Voters also passed two bond questions. The Sandoval Signpost reports one bond project will allocate $80 million over four years, for the Rio Rancho school system. That would go towards increased security, building repairs and upgrades, more special education services and a new alternative high school.
The other bond called SB-9 is the public schools capital improvements tax and will generate $5 million annually over the next six years under state legislation that creates a cost-sharing formula.
Neither bond will increase tax rates.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version to reflect that Miller won the District 4 race.
Voters overwhelming approve all of Albuquerque’s bond initiatives - Bryce Dix, KUNM News
Voters in Albuquerque overwhelmingly approved 7 municipal bond measures on the ballot yesterday, funneling $200 million into projects ranging from public safety to city-owned museums.
In terms of public safety, Albuquerque Fire Rescue will receive around $8 million – for new fire stations and fire truck replacements – though, local fire officials told KUNM that’s really enough to cover some of the cost of a single station.
The housing, redevelopment and community enhancement bond will help tackle the affordable housing crisis in the city – pushing $7.5 million into multiple projects. Mayor Tim Keller has said the city aims to build 5,000 new units by 2025 as part of his “Housing Forward ABQ” initiative.
The most expensive measure on the ballot by far asked for $50 million to improve the city’s streets and transportation.
The remaining bonds address public facilities and resource conservation, upgrading the city’s parks and recreational facilities, storm drainage systems, and funding for public libraries, museums, and cultural facilities.
All of the measures received, at a minimum, 70% of total voter approval.
Approval of this year’s municipal bonds did not increase the current property tax rate.
Santa Fe resolutions on decreasing signatures needed for referenda and initiatives pass - Jeanette DeDios, KUNM News
Santa Fe voters passed all three initiatives designed to decrease the number of signatures necessary for referenda and initiatives.
The ballot questions make it easier to put referenda and initiatives directly to Santa Fe voters by reducing the number of signatures needed from 33% to 15% of people who voted in the last mayor’s race.
Another ballot question passed that will change the voters on those signatures for initiatives and referenda from those who voted in the last mayor’s race to people who voted in the last election that had a mayoral race, regardless if they cast a vote for mayor.
Voters also passed an initiative that would allow the charter review commission to be appointed by a body of government, and be able to elect its own leadership and receive a budget and staff sufficient for its task.
Santa Fe voters overwhelming support ‘mansion tax’ – By Megan Myscofski, KUNM News
Santa Fe residents voted “yes” on a measure often referred to as the “mansion tax.” The new excise tax is on buyers of homes over $1 million, and the money will go to the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Supporters of the tax include Mayor Alan Webber as well as Office of Affordable Housing Director Alexandra Ladd and Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. The city estimates that the tax will bring in $6 million per year to the trust fund.
Opponents of the tax, which includes the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, say the city could use other means of raising the money, like taxing short-term rentals. The Realtors Association has filed a lawsuit to block the tax.
Santa Fe is joining about half a dozen states and Los Angeles County that have implemented a so-called “mansion tax.” A judge dismissed a legal challenge to the Los Angeles tax in late October.
Santa Fe voters approve continuing tax support for schools - By Megan Myscofski, KUNM News
Santa Fe residents overwhelmingly supported two tax questions related to school funding. Both are set to renew existing taxes.
The first is a continuation of a tax to fund technology in Santa Fe public and charter schools. It covers devices for all students, hiring digital learning coaches, training teachers and paying for Wi-Fi on buses.
The city estimates the tax will bring in $55 million over five years through an existing $1.50 tax for every $1,000 of taxable property value.
The Schools Improvement Act Tax has provided funds for over a decade to Santa Fe Public Schools for repairs, maintenance and custodial work. It will also fund security upgrades and work to make facilities compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
The tax is $2 per $1000 of taxable property value.
Voters approve bond to update, renovate Santa Fe Community College - Alice Fordham, KUNM News
In Santa Fe, voters supported a general obligation bond on the ballot that would pay for repairs and technology updates to the community college.
By a wide margin, voters supported the proposed $23 million bond for building renovations like fixing peeling stucco, making improvements to technology and writing a sustainability plan for Santa Fe Community College.
The college has emphasized that although the funding will come from property taxes, it would not increase those tax rates, and would in fact slightly decrease them.
Los Ranchos bucks dense affordable housing in mayor’s race - Nash Jones, KUNM News
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque voters have elected Joe Craig as the village’s next mayor, according to unofficial results. In doing so, they’ve endorsed Craig’s fierce opposition to a large affordable housing development in the expensive, semi-rural village.
Craig is the president of Friends of Los Ranchos. He spoke about the group’s position at a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters last month.
“We feel ethically that we have to protect our village,” Craig said. “I feel ethically that I have to.”
The group and mayor-elect work to preserve open space and oppose dense development, like the Village Center Project, which boasts 204 units in a three story building under construction. The group has filed Open Meetings Act complaints in district court regarding how it came about.
Mayor Don Lopez said it’s meant to make the village with a median home listing above $1 million more accessible to younger people. He said at the forum that Craig’s role on the Planning and Zoning Commission in its early stages makes him one of its “architects.” Craig disputes that.
“I am not an architect,” Craig said. “I worked extremely hard to keep the density down.”
He argues the original plan was for the Village Center to be a plaza, not a housing complex. He said it’ll chase visitors away and lacks sufficient parking.
“We’re probably going to have to give our neighborhoods parking stickers,” Craig said. “This is awful.”
Mayor Lopez brought up the rear of the four-way race, according to unofficial election results, falling behind challengers Gilbert Benevidez and George Radnovich, who can both keep their seats as village trustees.
CORRECTION 11/12/23, 11:10 a.m.: This story has been updated to correctly attribute quotes.
Griego wins Los Lunas mayoral race over Baldonado - Jeanette DeDios, KUNM News
In the race for Los Lunas mayor, incumbent Charles Griego was victorious over former Republican State Representative Alonza Baldonado.
This will be Griego’s third term as mayor. He had 56% of the votes to Baldonado’s 44% according to unofficial results late Tuesday night.
The newly elected mayor says he’s committed to completing infrastructure efforts on the newly funded interchange and bridge. He toldthe Valencia County News-Bulletin with the recent collapse of the drainage structure near the new bridge, there’s a more urgent need for a second crossing.
Griego says he wants to establish new community parks, including a swimming facility, and maintain community and safety services provided by the Village of Los Lunas.
Socorro mayor wins ninth term – Megan Kamerick, KUNM News
Incumbent Socorro Mayor Ravi Bhasker defeated four challengers to win a ninth term.
Bhasker has held the post for 33 years and faced some questions about his health after suffering a ruptured appendix last year. He won 35% of the vote in unofficial results as of late Tuesday night. Challenger JC Trujillo took 25%, followed by James Burleson with 20% and Mary Ann Chavez-Lopez with 19. Ignacio Chavez had just 2% of votes.
At amayoral debate in October, candidates said they wanted more economic development and raised questions about the mayor’s plans to have the city buy the local electric cooperative. Mayor Bhasker touted the low tax rates and cost of living in Socorro, as well as highway and broadband projects.