LAS CRUCES — In a southern New Mexico Democratic primary election to replace Rep. Jeff Steinborn, the race appears remarkably civil. But the race between three Democratic candidates vying for the open seat is also very competitive. So far, all have raised between $10,000-$12,000 each for the June 7 election. And each candidate offers their own flavor. Angelica Rubio, 36, emphasizes her broad organizing experience that involves successfully leading a push to raise the minimum wage in Las Cruces and managing the campaign of City Councilor Kasandra Gandara, a progressive who won election last fall by just 18 votes.
A recount of some ballots in two Las Cruces city council districts confirmed the original results: Jack Eakman and Kasandra Gandara won their close races earlier this month.*
NM Political Report first reported earlier this month that those who lost wanted a recount. The recount found no changes to the official results that were confirmed days after the election. Eli Guzman, who lost in District 1, and Richard Hall, who lost to Eakman in District 4, sought a recall of five of the nine voting locations. Guzman and Hall asked for a recount of four voting convenience centers for election day voting and a fifth location that included early and absentee ballots. Las Cruces, like other cities throughout the state, uses voting convenience centers to allow voters to cast ballots at any of the locations throughout the city.
Two city council races in Las Cruces that finished with close results will be headed to a recount. NM Political Report confirmed with the Las Cruces city clerk that Eli Guzman and Richard Hall each requested recount. The two candidates requested recounts of five polling locations. The two progressive candidates won by the initial count in the Nov. 3 elections.
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. 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.
New Mexico’s second largest city will go to the polls Tuesday and will vote for the mayor and city councilors in three districts. The Las Cruces elections have featured more high profile campaigning–and much more mudslinging–than other recent local elections, including those in Albuquerque. Unlike Albuquerque’s recent elections, there are three contested districts and a mayoral race on the ballot this year. This may lead to Las Cruces bucking the trend of reduced voter turnout in New Mexico (though it isn’t a sure thing). Mayoral race
At the top of the ballot is the mayoral race where the top story is likely the massive amount of money that has been poured in by a federal PAC.