Update: Lyons, Becenti-Aguilar, Hall win PRC primaries

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By Susan M. Bryan


ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Three seats on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission were up for grabs Tuesday in New Mexico's primary, and none of the races featured an incumbent.

Land Commissioner Pat Lyons defeated former state legislator and retired magistrate Robert Corn of Roswell to win the Republican nomination for District 2 in southeastern and eastern New Mexico. Lyons could not run for land commissioner again because of term limits.

Theresa Becenti-Aguilar of Albuquerque, a former Native American liaison for the PRC, won a four-way race for the Democratic nomination in District 4 in northwestern New Mexico, where incumbent Democrat Carol Sloan was ineligible to run again because of felony convictions.

Sloan was placed on probation in May for aggravated battery and aggravated burglary convictions after hitting a woman whom she had accused of having an affair with her husband.

Becenti-Aguilar defeated certified public accountant Andrew Leo Lopez of Albuquerque, former Gallup Mayor George Galanis and Hank Hughes, who heads the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

The District 5 Republican primary drew four men — Las Cruces businessman Jamie Estrada, former Dona Ana County Commissioner D. Kent Evans, former state lawmaker Ben Hall of Ruidoso and mortgage broker Robert P. Maez of Valencia County.

Hall walked away the winner with nearly 36 percent of the vote with nearly all precincts reporting.

The PRC regulates electric, gas and water utilities, as well as some telecommunications, transportation, pipeline and insurance companies.

Lyons will face Tularosa businesswoman Stephanie DuBois in the general election. She drew no opposition for the Democratic nomination in District 2. The seat opened because term limits prevented incumbent Republican David King from seeking re-election.

In District 4, Becenti-Aguilar will face Republican Gary Montoya in the general election.

In District 5, Hall will face former Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley, who had no opposition in the Democratic primary. Incumbent Sandy Jones sought the Democratic nomination for land commissioner instead of seeking re-election in the south-central and southwestern New Mexico district.