November 3, 2015

Miyagishima wins reelection, progressives win close city council races in Las Cruces

Photo via Flickr by Erik (HASH) Hersman

Las Cruces mayor Ken Miyagishima won a third term despite an out-of-town PAC pouring in tens of thousands of dollars to defeat him, according to unofficial election results.

Photo via Flickr by Erik (HASH) Hersman

Photo via Flickr by Erik (HASH) Hersman

The progressives in the non-partisan elections also appeared to sweep the elections, with Kasandra Gandara and Jack Eakman pulling out narrow victories in high profile city council races. They joined District 2 incumbent Gregory Z. Smith in winning elections on Tuesday.

The big story in the final days and weeks of the election was GOAL West PAC, a federal PAC funded mainly by southeast New Mexico residents with ties to the oil and gas industry, and their advertising blitz in an attempt to turn the race.

Most of the money spent by GOAL West was against Miyagishima, who ended up with 51 percent of the vote in a three-way race. Miguel Silva, who was endorsed by GOAL West, received 33 percent of the vote and Eugenia Montoya Ortega finished with 16 percent.

Miyagishima ultimately won by nearly 2,000 votes over Silva.

Two of the three city council races up for election ended with narrow victories.

Gandara beat Eli Guzman 48 percent to 47 percent in District 1. Gandara finished with 871 votes while Guzman finished with 853 votes. Steve Calderazzo finished with 106 votes and 6 percent of the vote; Calderazzo pulled out of the race but it was too late, as ballots had already been printed.

There are no automatic recounts for Las Cruces municipal elections, so if a candidate wants to have a recount of the results, the city would not pay for it.

In District 4, Jack Eakman won by just 11 votes over Richard Hall in another three-way race. Eakman received 44 percent of the vote to Hall’s 43 percent. Gilbert Vasquez finished with 13 percent.

Eakman received 621 votes, while Hall received 610 and Vasquez received 183.

Vasquez received a lot of attention before the race because if he won, he would need a pardon from Gov. Susana Martinez to take office because of a felony in the 1980s. He did not meet Martinez’s listed criteria for a pardon.

The final race on the ballot, for municipal court judge, was not very close.

Incumbent Kieran Ryan defeated William Kinsella 66 percent to 34 percent, by just over 3,000 votes.

All of the results are from unofficial numbers; any percentages might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

Update: Added information about recounts.