Pearce to battle Udall for critical Senate seat

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By Carol A. Clark

Despite an 11th hour endorsement for Rep. Heather Wilson from New Mexico’s beloved Sen. Pete Domenici, Republican Rep. Steve Pearce won the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Domenici. This morning, with 31 of 33 counties counted, he had received 57,121 votes to Wilson’s 54,181.

Los Alamos gave Wilson a staggering 78 percent of the vote with 1,622 to 585 for Pearce.

“Los Alamos County – we love you,” she said during a television interview late Tuesday.

Tuesday’s win throws Pearce into what is projected to be a difficult general election race against unopposed Democrat Rep. Tom Udall who received 138,302 votes statewide and 1,343 locally.

There also were no Republicans in the First Judicial District Attorney race. Los Alamos County cast 688 votes for Angela “Spence” Pacheco, who won one the districtwide seat with 13,166 votes.

Opponents A.J. Salazar received 186 / 8,386 and Joseph Campbell 469 / 3,977.

In the presidential race, New Mexico held a Democratic caucus in February in which Sen. Hilary Clinton surfaced the winner. Tuesday’s primary election posted Republican senators John McCain and Ron Paul on the ballot. McCain carried Los Alamos County with 1,789 votes to Paul’s 351. McCain carried the state with 94,001 to Paul’s 15,284.

Sen. Barack Obama crossed the needed 2,118-delegate threshold Tuesday to become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. He made history as the first African-American to be a major-party nominee for president.

“Tonight, I can stand here and say that I will be the nominee for president of the United States,” Obama said in his election speech.

Clinton told supporters in her speech that she wouldn’t be making any decisions about bowing out of the race, promising instead to confer with party leaders in the coming days.

Nevertheless, Obama plans to take on McCain in the general election.

This year’s federal election is particularly important because with the exception of Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, the entire New Mexico delegation will be new.

In U.S. House District 3, for the seat Udall is vacating, Los Alamos cast 530 votes for Democrat Donald Wiviott to beat Ben Lujan, who received 515 votes.

Lujan won the statewide race with 26,831 votes to Wiviott’s 16,520. Wiviott waged a fierce battle against Lujan, filling his own campaign coffers with more than $1 million of his own money.

Lujan faces Republican Daniel East in the general. Los Alamos gave East 952 votes to 905 for GOP opponent Marco Gonzales.

Los Alamos County and district voting numbers for remaining Democratic congressional candidates are as follows:

• 170 / 1,974 - Jon Adams

• 166 / 10,139 - Benny Shendo

• 163 / 7,215 - Harry Montoya

• 32 / 1,840 - Rudy Martin

The State Senate District 6 seat is essentially won by Democratic incumbent Carlos Cisneros because no Republican candidates entered the race.

Cisneros received 261 local votes and 3,848 districtwide.

Opponents Erminio Martinez received 51 / 2,645 and 37 / 843 for Archie Velarde.

In the unopposed races for State Senate in District 5, incumbent Richard Martinez-D, received 430 local votes and 5,134 districtwide, and District 39 incumbent Phil Griego-D, received 375 locally and 5,592 districtwide.

District 43 Rep. Jeannette Wallace-R, received local 1,963 votes and 2,245 districtwide. She ran unopposed from either party, winning her ninth straight primary for the State House seat.

“I appreciate the faith the voters have given me by not having opposition for the last several races,” Wallace said from election central, which this year was held inside the Los Alamos Police Station. “I always try to represent all of my constituents and I am grateful for their support.”

The situation for the Public Regulation Commission in District 3 was similar to the State Senate race with a slate full of Democrats and no Republicans.

Attorney Bruce Throne carried Los Alamos County but lost the districtwide vote 648 / 8,726. Jerome Block received 200 votes in Los Alamos but won the districtwide seat, being vacated by congressional candidate Lujan, with 10,379 votes. Española Mayor Joseph Maestas came in third with 189 / 8,180, Arthur Rodarte received 123 / 7,493, Gallegos 88 / 6,188, and Paul Campos 86 /4,552.

There is no surprise in the race for Los Alamos County Council. With three seats up and two candidates running from each party, they all move on to the general election race:

• 1,576 - former council member Sharon Stover-R

• 1,184 - council incumbent Ken Milder-D

• 1,170 - Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Staff Member Vincent Chiravalle-R

• 869 - medical office manager Manual Baca-D

“I’m very excited to be part of the election process and I encourage everyone to participate,” Chiravalle said during an interview at election central. “We all need to make our voices heard and help shape the future direction of our town.”

Former councilor Michael Wismer is a registered Independent and as such is prohibited by state law from running in the primary.

Third-party candidates receive an eight-hour window the day after the primary to declare for the general election and Wismer said during a talk at election central, “I will be filing my candidacy at 1 p.m. tomorrow.”

Unopposed incumbent Mary Pat Kraemer received 1,362 votes for county clerk.

In the Justice of Superior Court race, Charles Daniels ran unopposed and received 1,158 votes in Los Alamos County and 119,036 statewide.

The general election takes place Nov. 4.

For information, access www.sos.state.nm.us.

Editor’s note: All vote counts listed in this article are unofficial election results. Official election results will be posted the week of June 9 after being signed by the State Canvassing Board.