Goodbye primary, hello general

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By Carol A. Clark

Well known for her drive to build consensus in committees, at town halls and other venues, Democrat Debbie Gill garnered more votes than any candidate on either side of the aisle in her bid for a seat on Los Alamos County Council.

“This makes me feel very confident,” Gill said this morning. “And it delights me because I hope it means people understand I’m a consensus builder and they embrace it. People in the county government are working very hard to be responsive and transparent in their actions…Building consensus is so important…I’ve seen it work in other places and I know it could work here…Los Alamos is such a great place and it deserves just to get there.”

Gill coordinates the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and runs a small business. Despite the fact that she received 1,056 votes, she said she was up at 3:45 a.m. today working on her campaign for November’s general election.  

“All of the Republican candidates for county council are responsible people who really care about Los Alamos; getting up early and working hard is what it’s going to take to be successful in November,” she said.

At 967 votes, Republican council candidate Jim Hall was the second highest in terms of ballots received.

“I really appreciate the confidence voters placed in me and I’m really grateful to the voters for the trust that this represents,” Hall said. “If I am elected to council, I’ll do my darndest to fulfill that trust. We’re a long ways from actually being in office and we’ve still got a lot of campaigning to do.”

Hall intends to go out into the neighborhoods this summer to talk with residents and hear their concerns. He also is toying with the idea of setting up a series of meeting opportunities at local coffee shops where residents can stop by and chat with him.

“The best part of this process – campaigning and holding office – is interacting with the citizens of Los Alamos,” said Hall, a business consultant who previously served on council. “I also want to say that I have tremendous respect for everyone who runs for office; they deserve the citizens’ respect.”

Based on these unofficial results, all three Democrats automatically move into the general election race for the four available county council seats. Former school board member Ken Johnson received 957 votes and doctoral student Nathan Hjelm placed third with 825 votes.

On the GOP side of the ticket, local businessman and Los Alamos National Laboratory employee Ron Selvage came in behind Hall with 925 votes. Former Los Alamos Public Schools transportation director Geoff Rogers received 849 votes. Rodgers is a former county councilor, as is Fran Berting who garnered 805 and rounds out the four Republican candidates who remain in the race.

GOP candidates failing to make the cut include small business owners Anthony Davis with 703 votes and Richard Hanneman who received 635 votes, current councilor Ralph Phelps at 629 votes and business consultant Ralph Damiani with 434 votes.

Democrats pick

District 43 challenger

Democratic candidate Stephanie Richard won over Pete Sheehey to take on Republican incumbent Jeannette Wallace for the State House District 43 seat.

“I want to thank all of the voters in District 43 who came out and had their voices heard by their vote,” Richard said.

“Two thousand Democrats came out and voted for Pete and I …telling us they want active representation at the state capitol.”

Richard expressed her appreciation to Sheehey for running a clean and friendly campaign that allowed both candidates to focus on the issues.  

“We gave people a choice and I want to thank Pete for that,” she said.

Sheehey issued the following statement this morning: “I congratulate Stephanie Richard, who won the District 43 Democratic Primary election. Stephanie and I agree on many issues. I support her as the Democratic candidate for New Mexico House of Representatives, District 43. I want to say thank you to all who contributed their time, energy and money to my primary election campaign. I look forward to continuing to work with you to help make our federal, state and local governments respond efficiently and effectively to the needs of this community.”

Sheehey said he does not rule out running for public office in the future.

Independent and write-in candidates for local offices must file between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today only for the general election.

Canvass results for Tuesday’s primary election will be conducted and available Friday.

Voter registration for November’s general election opens in the Los Alamos County Clerk’s office Monday.