Candidates gear up for 2010 elections

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Most office-holders intend to run for re-election

By Carol A. Clark

Who’s running and when they must file are questions circulating the local community since the 2010 campaign season kicked off in New Mexico Oct. 1. That was the day candidates began surfacing to collect signatures for their nominating petitions, which are due in the Secretary of State’s Office by Feb. 9.

Rep. Jeanette Wallace is serving her 19th year in the New Mexico Legislature. When asked if she intends to seek reelection to an 11th two-year term, Wallace said, “Yes ma’am I certainly am.”

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján also is running again. Voters from District 3 elected Luján to the position previously held by Tom Udall. Udall was elected to replace Pete Domenici who retired from the U.S. Senate.

Local offices up for election this campaign season include:

• Four county council positions. The seats are currently held by Nona Bowman, Robert Gibson, Ralph Phelps and Michael Wheeler. Bowman and Wheeler term limit out after serving eight years each. Phelps intends to decide by year’s end if he’ll run for re-election. Council appointed him to fill the remainder of Jim West’s term who left for health reasons.

“I’m definitely moving in the direction of running and I’m about 90 percent sure that I will,” he said. Gibson said Monday, “I’ve made no decision at this time.”

• County Assessor. JoAnn Johnson has held the position for the last three years and recently announced she will seek another four-year term. “I find the work very interesting and realize it is a process of importance to the county,” Johnson said Monday.

• County Sheriff Bruce Takala also has served for three years and said this morning he is not planning to seek re-election.

• Los Alamos County Probate Judge. County council appointed Y. Ellen Hong in October to serve the remaining 14 months of Janet Foster’s four-year term. Foster resigned to accept a 40-month appointment to complete county clerk Mary Pat Kraemer’s term following her resignation due to pension issues.

• Los Alamos County Magistrate Judge Pat Casados will seek re-election to her  third four-year term. “I find this job fascinating — I just love it and I want to continue serving,” Casados said.

• Los Alamos County Municipal Judge Alan Kirk’s position is also up for reelection. Voters have elected Kirk to the four-year term in the last three elections. “I’m definitely running for re-election,” Kirk said Monday. There are no term limits for Municipal or Magistrate Court judge.

March 16 is the one and only filing day for major party candidates running for local office. Candidates must file between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the County Clerk’s Office at 2451 Central Ave., Modular Unit D. Independent candidates file June 2.

April 6 is the last day for candidates to withdraw their names before they appear on the ballot.

Voter registration closes at 5 p.m. May 4.

May 4 also is the day absentee and early voting begins in-person or by mail at the County Clerk’s Office.

May 15 is the day absentee and early voting begins from 10 a.m.-

6 p.m. at Mesa Public Library, running from Tuesdays through Saturdays through May 29.

Primary election day is June 1.

New Mexico residents age 18 or older at election time may register to vote at any time but no later than 5 p.m. 28 days prior to the election. Mailed voter registration applications must be post marked no less than 28 days prior to the election.

The mail-in registration forms are available at any Clerk’s Office, Office of the Secretary of State and at many state agencies.

Residents may also register to vote at any state agency that provides public assistance or service, at public libraries, at any organized voter registration drive and with any third party voter registrant agent.

Voters who have changed names, mailing addresses or moved should fill out a new registration form in order to be placed in the correct precinct and proper district.

After the County Clerk’s Office processes the application for voter registration, the person will receive a voter identification card in the mail. The card will indicate the precinct number, polling location and state and local districts for the address registered.

NOTE: When a political party registers with the Secretary of State, they are classified as either major or minor by meeting certain requirements established by law.

The County Clerk’s Office works closely with the Secretary of State’s Office and operates under federal law, New Mexico state law and the Los Alamos County Charter for the conduct of all elections.

For information, contact county clerk staff at clerks@lacnm.us, call 662-8010 or visit the Clerk’s Office at 2451 Central Ave., Modular Unit D.