Local race bucks national trend

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By Carol A. Clark

While the country elected a majority of Democrats to Congress and to the White House Tuesday night, Los Alamos chose mainly Republicans and an independent to serve locally.

County council candidates Sharon Stover and Vincent Chiravalle, both Republicans, and independent Michael Wismer, won over Democrats Ken Milder, an incumbent, and newcomer Manuel Baca, according to unofficial results posted by the Office of the County Clerk.

“I had tremendous community support and I appreciate everyone’s participation,” said Stover, who came in first with 6,306 votes (24.49 percent). “I’m really looking forward to working with the new council and doing the work of the people.”

Stover praised her fellow candidates and thanked them for running.

Wismer came in second with 5,478 votes (21.28 percent).

“I’m humbled and pleased by the result,” Wismer said. “We have our work cut out for us on council and I want to congratulate Sharon and Vincent – I look forward to working with them and the other councilors to help move our community forward.”

Chiravalle, new to politics and relatively new to Los Alamos received 5,384 votes (20.9 percent).

“I am extremely grateful to my supporters who believed in me and the citizens who voted for me,” Chiravalle said. “I will stay true to the principles of my campaign while representing you on the council and putting the interests of our working people, families and small businesses first.”

Chiravalle expressed appreciation for the hard work and dedication exhibited by his mother, Marie Chiravalle, who served as treasurer of his campaign, and to local GOP leader JoAnn Johnson who convinced him to run for council.

Milder received 4,974 votes (19.3 percent) and Baca received 3,604 votes (14 percent).

Republican incumbent Jeannette Wallace was elected to serve another House term at the roundhouse. Wallace received the highest number of votes in the county (7,845).

Incumbent County Clerk Mary Pat Kraemer-D, received the second highest votes of all candidates county wide at 7,203.

Incumbent state senators Carlos Cisneros, (1,698) Phil Griego (1,858) and Richard Martinez (2,564), all Democrats, were re-elected.

Angela (Spence) Pacheco-D, received 6,191 votes to replace retiring District Attorney Henry Valdez.

A variety of local election night activities took place Tuesday. Allison Majeure and Greg Kendall analyzed the numbers and interviewed candidates on PAC 8 throughout the evening.

James Rickman and Michael Wismer hosted their popular election night radio show on KRSN at election central, held this year in the police station lobby.

Local Republicans held a gathering at GOP headquarters downtown and Democrats filled the Quark Room at Central Avenue Grill.

Cheers of joy rang out as they heard the news that in an unusual turn for Los Alamos County, voters elected Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

“I can't believe it,” said longtime party activist Jeanne Bridge after announcing the results to her Democratic colleagues packed into the restaurant. “This is just amazing.”

Obama won Los Alamos County with 5,709 votes (52.5 percent) over Republican John McCain's 4,986 votes (45.9 percent). Obama also won New Mexico's 5 electoral votes.

Tuesday's election wrapped up the longest presidential campaign in American history, 26 months, shattered all records as some 140 million people cast votes and elected the first black man to serve as president.

Democratic Rep. Tom Udall narrowly carried Los Alamos 5,368 (50.08 percent) and more substantially across the state to win the U.S. senate seat being vacated by retiring Pete Domenici. Republican opponent Steve Pearce received 5,350 local votes (49.92).

Statewide Udall received 484,628 votes or 61.1 percent over 308,110 or 38.9 percent cast for Pearce.

Democratic congressional candidate Ben Ray Lujan won the Third District race, but he lost Los Alamos with 4,214 votes (40.11 percent) to Republican opponent Dan East's 4,379 votes (41.68 percent).

Independent Carol Miller received 18 percent or 1,912 votes.

Locally, voters cast 5,115 (61.2 percent) for Public Regulation Commission Green Party candidate Rick Lass and 3,243 (38.8) for Democrat Jerome Block.

Block ultimately won the district with 95,049 (56.2 percent) to 73,938 (43.8) percent for Lass.

For additional election results, access www.sos.state.nm.us.