Voters keep incumbents except Lovejoy

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, June 7, 2012

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(Special to the Times - Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Anthony Begay, left, from Mariano Lake, N.M., gathers the results for Billy Mooren, New Mexico state representative for District 6, Tuesday evening at the McKinley County Courthouse in Gallup. A voter at Rock Springs Chapter walks into the building Tuesday afternoon to vote.

BOTTOM: Darlene Begay, right, helps her parents Elsie and Jackson Begay, vote Tuesday evening in Church Rock, N.M. Begay says her parents are both Democrats.

V oters in San Juan, McKinley and Cibola counties went to the polls on Tuesday and basically said they are satisfied with the people currently in office.

Only one of the incumbents running for state senate or state representative lost in the primary election and all but one are assured of staying in office because they will have no opposition in the general election.

State Senator John Pinto, D-District 3, is assured of keeping his status of being the active member with the most seniority with his defeat of Matthew Tso by a vote of 2,903 (71 percent) to 1,184 (29 percent).

With more than 34 years of service, Pinto has said he will remain in the state senate until work on U.S. Highway 491 is completed, a project that is still up in the air because of a lack of funding.

State Senator George Munoz, D-District 4, has been elected to a second term representing voters in all three counties.

The son of Eddie Munoz, a former Gallup mayor, the senator easily defeated challenges from former Navajo Nation Council delegate Genevieve Jackson and Charles Rountree.

Munoz received 2,503 (58 percent) votes to 1,522 (35 percent) for Jackson and 304 (7 percent)for Rountree. He received the most votes in Cibola and McKinley counties. Jackson was the top vote getter in San Juan County.

State Senator Lynda Lovejoy, D-District 22, was the one incumbent who was defeated in her bid for re-election.

The former two-time candidate for Navajo Nation president received 1,761 votes (37 percent) to 1,975 (41 percent) for Benny Shondo Jr. Joshua Madalona got 747 (15 percent) votes and Anthony Begay received 339 (7 percent).

In state House of Representatives races, Ray Begaye, D-District 4, easily defeated Gary Montoya 1,592 (69 percent) to 730 (31 percent). He will, however, face a Republican challenger in the general election, Sharon Clahchischilliage, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.

In the District 5 Democratic primary, incumbent Sandra Jeff defeated Charles Long, 1,895 (59 percent) to 1,238 (41 percent).

In the District 6 race, incumbent Eliseo Lee Alcon defeated former McKinley County commissioner Billy Moore 1,565 to 1,274.

In county races, former Gallup mayor Bob Rosebrough defeated Patti Herrera for a seat on the McKinley County Commission representing Gallup and Gamerco. He received 1,258 votes to 837 for Herrera.

After his victory, Rosebrough said one of his goals is to bring stability back to the commission, which has come under severe criticism in recent months on a number of issues, including the handling of invoices to Dave Dallago, the commission chairman who has a contract with the county to handle plumbing services.

Dallago has also come under attack by the county manager, Richard Kontz, who has filed a complaint against him and another commissioner, Carol Bowman Muskett, charging them with threatening and harassing him.

Rosebrough, who will not take office until Jan. 1, said he expected that both issues will be resolved in the next couple of months so that when he takes office the commission may not be in as much turmoil as it is now.

In the race for county treasurer, former county commissioner Ernest Becenti Jr. easily won that race receiving 39.05 percent of the vote in a crowded field of six candidates, which included former county sheriff Frank Gonzales.

The county clerk race was still too close to call on Wednesday with Harriet Becenti with 1,802 votes to 1,780 votes for Melody Gonzales Bond. The only one of the other five candidates with votes in four figures was Kathleen Arviso with 1,417 votes.

The 22-vote difference between Becenti and Bond will be tested in the next couple of days as the county election staff goes through 938 provision ballots to see how many of them will be counted.

In the only local race that was challenged in Cibola County, Delores Vallejos defeated Marguerite Saveda 1,809 to 1,139 for county treasurer.

The only local race in the Democratic Primary for San Juan County that had challengers was for magistrate judge for Division 4.

Trudy Reed won that with 50.1 percent of the vote, defeating Roxanne Arthur, Elizabeth Ann Phipps and John Ortiz.

The Republican primary had several contested races.

In the magistrate judge Division 4 race, Gary McDaniel received 442 votes as compared to Bill Standley with 287 and William Earley with 55.

Scott Eckstein won the race for County Commission District 3 with 895 votes, defeating Keith Johnson (565), Carl Bannowsky (381) and David Brannan (77).

In the county clerk race, Debbie Holmes defeated Virginia Nelson 6,982 to 1,954 and P. Mark Duncan won the county treasurer race 4,928 over Vickie Robinson (3,894).

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