Primary 2020: Meet the Candidates!

In this week’s edition, find bios and Q&A’s on all Congressional, State and county candidates and expanded coverage on key issues facing local voters.
Meet the candidates of Primary 2020. Learn where they stand on the issues and what makes them different from their opponents. We'll also post videos of the debates they participate in.  
Commission District D-3 is being vacated by commissioner Gabriel Romero who has reached his term limit for the position. The district covers much of the western portion of Taos County but also includes the communities of Talpa, Llano Quemado and Ranchos de Taos. The winner of this primary race will go on to be the only member on the November general election ballot.
Primary 2020

County Commission D-3

Commission District D-3 is being vacated by commissioner Gabriel Romero who has reached his term limit for the position. The district covers much of the western portion of Taos County but also includes the communities of Talpa, Llano Quemado and Ranchos de Taos. The winner of this primary race will go on to be the only member on the November general election ballot.
As the most highly contested commission race this year, the four Democrats will be running for a chance to represent the southeastern portion of Taos County. Current commissioner Tom Blankenhorn has reached his term limit and will not be running to retain the seat.
Primary 2020

County Commission D-4

As the most highly contested commission race this year, the four Democrats will be running for a chance to represent the southeastern portion of Taos County. Current commissioner Tom Blankenhorn has reached his term limit and will not be running to retain the seat.
Primary 2020 - Taos County Clerk
Primary 2020

Taos County Clerk

Overseeing records and elections, the Taos County clerk candidates both currently work in the clerk’s office. Current clerk Anna Martinez has reached her term limit and instead will be handing the position off to one of her deputy clerks for the November election. Both candidates have years of experience in the clerk’s office and have worked the various jobs needed to fulfil the position of county clerk. From council meetings to records requests, the Taos County Clerk is responsible for the public records within Taos County.
Primary 2020 - Taos County Treasurer
Primary 2020

Taos County Treasurer

The Taos County Treasurer is responsible for the finances of Taos County. Current treasurer Susan Trujillo will be handing the seat down to deputy treasurer Paula Marie Santistevan for this election. Running unopposed, Santistevan will be responsible for all monies collected in the county as well as assisting with the county’s annual audit. Additionally, all billing and collection of property taxes moves through the treasurer’s office.
Primary 2020 - Taos Magistrate Court Judge
Primary 2020

Taos Magistrate Court Judge

Sara Blankenhorn, an attorney from Taos, was appointed in March to succeed Jeff Shannon after he was appointed to fill a vacant position as a Taos District Court judge in 2019. Blankenhorn is campaigning to retain her seat against two others: former New Mexico State Police lieutenant Edwardo Martinez and longtime legal administrator Charlene Tsoodle-Marcus. All are running as Democrats, making for a short race.
This year’s race for 8th Judicial District Attorney will decide who will lead an office that was occupied by the same person for nearly two decades: Donald Gallegos. After Gallegos retired early in July of last year, he recommended that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appoint one of his young but skilled prosecutors, Marcus Montoya. Lujan Grisham agreed, and now after 10 months in the position, Montoya will have to fight to remain DA. He faces off with Paul Sanchez, a native of Arroyo Hondo, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a former New Mexico State Police lieutenant. Both are running as Democrats. The race will be decided in the June primary.
Primary 2020

Eighth Judicial District Attorney

This year’s race for 8th Judicial District Attorney will decide who will lead an office that was occupied by the same person for nearly two decades: Donald Gallegos. After Gallegos retired early in July of last year, he recommended that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appoint one of his young but skilled prosecutors, Marcus Montoya. Lujan Grisham agreed, and now after 10 months in the position, Montoya will have to fight to remain DA. He faces off with Paul Sanchez, a native of Arroyo Hondo, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a former New Mexico State Police lieutenant. Both are running as Democrats. The race will be decided in the June primary.
Primary 2020 - Division II 8th Judicial District Judge
Primary 2020

Division II 8th Judicial District Judge

Another one-party race, this year’s election for Division II 8th Judicial District judge will see Melissa Kennelly, a former attorney for the district appointed last year, face off against three challengers: Anthony Ayala, a longtime private defense attorney; Betsy Musselman, who has run a private practice in Taos for 40 years; and Steven Romero, an assistant U.S. district attorney with roots in the district.
Jeff Shannon, a Taos Magistrate Court judge for seven and a half years, was appointed to Taos District Court last year, replacing Jeff McElroy, who retired after 17 years with the district, the last seven as judge. Shannon is running unopposed this election and will hold the office for a full term.
Primary 2020

Division III 8th Judicial District Judge

Jeff Shannon, a Taos Magistrate Court judge for seven and a half years, was appointed to Taos District Court last year, replacing Jeff McElroy, who retired after 17 years with the district, the last seven as judge. Shannon is running unopposed this election and will hold the office for a full term.
Primary 2020 N.M. Representative District 42
Primary 2020

N.M. Representative D 42

Two Republicans and two Democrats will compete for one of the most anticipated races of this election. Formerly held by Senator Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales for 25 years, the District 42 representative seat covers much of the population in Taos County. The district covers the eastern portion of the county and has nearly 30,000 constituents. The representative serves a two-year term. Mark Gallegos and Kristina Ortez have previously tried their hand at this position when it initially became available in 2019 following Gonzales’ move to the Senate. Both were defeated by Taos Mayor Dan Barrone, who has decided not to run to retain the seat. Republican candidates Linda Calhoun and Paul Anthony Martinez will try and secure a seat in Northern New Mexico which has belonged to Democrats for a number of years.
Primary 2020 - NM State Senate District 6
Primary 2020

State Senate District 6

Jeff Shannon, a Taos Magistrate Court judge for seven and a half years, was appointed to Taos District Court last year, replacing Jeff McElroy, who retired after 17 years with the district, the last seven as judge. Shannon is running unopposed this election and will hold the office for a full term.
Democratic senator Pete Campos has held the seat of District 8 since 1991 and will not be running again. The 48,000 constituents in the eastern New Mexico district will have Republican candidate Melissa Fryzel on the ballot for 2020.    Fryzel will be the first Republican to hold the seat in decades and will have areas like Mora and Las Vegas to represent in her freshman session in Santa Fe.
Primary 2020

State Senate District 8

Corrected and updated: Saturday, May 2: Democratic senator Pete Campos is running again to retain the Senate District 8 seat he has held since 1991. He faces another Democrat in the primary, and if he wins, he will face a Republican in November in his bid to continue representing the 48,000 constituents in the eastern New Mexico district.
When current District 3 Rep. Ben Ray Lujan decided to make a run for retiring Sen. Tom Udall’s seat in Congress, a gaggle of would be replacements jumped into the race. The candidates to replace Lujan are lawyers, a counselor, business owners and engineers.
Primary 2020

State Congressional District 3

When current District 3 Rep. Ben Ray Lujan decided to make a run for retiring Sen. Tom Udall’s seat in Congress, a gaggle of would be replacements jumped into the race. The candidates to replace Lujan are lawyers, a counselor, business owners and engineers.
Two Republicans and two Democrats will compete for one of the most anticipated races of this election.  Formerly held by Senator Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales for 25 years, the District 42 representative seat covers much of the population in Taos County. The district covers the eastern portion of the county and has nearly 30,000 constituents. The representative serves a two-year term.  Mark Gallegos and Kristina Ortez have previously tried their hand at this position when it initially became available in 2019 following Gonzales’ move to the Senate. Both were defeated by Taos Mayor Dan Barrone, who has decided not to run to retain the seat.  Republican candidates Linda Calhoun and Paul Anthony Martinez will try and secure a seat in Northern New Mexico which has belonged to Democrats for a number of years.
Primary 2020

United States Senate

Two Republicans and two Democrats will compete for one of the most anticipated races of this election. Formerly held by Senator Roberto “Bobby” Gonzales for 25 years, the District 42 representative seat covers much of the population in Taos County. The district covers the eastern portion of the county and has nearly 30,000 constituents. The representative serves a two-year term. Mark Gallegos and Kristina Ortez have previously tried their hand at this position when it initially became available in 2019 following Gonzales’ move to the Senate. Both were defeated by Taos Mayor Dan Barrone, who has decided not to run to retain the seat. Republican candidates Linda Calhoun and Paul Anthony Martinez will try and secure a seat in Northern New Mexico which has belonged to Democrats for a number of years.
Among the lesser known election races this year is for half of the 10 seats on the Public Education Commission, which authorizes state chartered schools in New Mexico. The commission has so far authorized 50 state charter schools. Commissioners are elected to serve four-year staggered terms and must be residents from the district they serve. No one officially submitted their names for the District 10 commission seat that encompasses Taos County, but three people are running as write-in candidates. 
Primary 2020

N.M. Public Education Commission

Among the lesser known election races this year is for half of the 10 seats on the Public Education Commission, which authorizes state chartered schools in New Mexico. The commission has so far authorized 50 state charter schools. Commissioners are elected to serve four-year staggered terms and must be residents from the district they serve. No one officially submitted their names for the District 10 commission seat that encompasses Taos County, but three people are running as write-in candidates. 
The three candidates for Taos Magistrate Court judge met Monday evening (May 18) in the final Zoom forum to be held for the June primary by the Taos Democratic Party. Clockwise from top left: incumbent Sara Blankenhorn, Edwardo Martinez, Charlene Tsoodle-Marcus and party chairman Darien Fernandez.

Candidates for Taos magistrate judge talk experience, education

For their next Taos Magistrate Court judge, Taos County residents will have three choices come this primary election day: Edwardo Martinez, a veteran New Mexico State Police lieutenant and a graduate …
Primary 2020: County Commission D4
Letter

Opinion: Brush is involved in process

I am writing in response to William E. Cordova's comments about AnJanette Brush's role as the Democratic vice chair being a candidate. First and foremost, Brush has basically recused herself from her duties by stepping aside during the campaign. There is no conflict there.
Primary 2020 - Taos County Clerk

Opinion: Setting the clerk record straight

As individual private citizens of Taos County we can no longer stand by and watch from the sidelines without setting the record straight. We are facing a very important election in the County Clerk's Office and there have been some false statements made as well as inaccurate claims as to how our office has been run by current leadership.
Primary 2020: County Commission D4
My Turn

Opinion: How important is the Taos County commissioner's job?

In my opinion it's the most critical position in local government. The members in each district represent us. They live in our communities, and keep our beautiful valleys, our waters and our way of life safe, secure and manageable. Their decisions affect us all, such as: road improvements, land uses, assisting in the creation of a sustainable housing market, health care - just a few examples.
Candidates running for 8th Judicial District Magistrate Judge, Division II: Sara Blankenhorn, incumbent; Edwardo Martinez, retired New Mexico State Police Lieutenant; and Charlene Tsoodle-Marcus, former domestic violence program director for Eight Northern Indian Pueblos.

Forum scheduled for Taos Magistrate Judge candidates

The Taos Democratic Party will host the next in its series of election forums Monday night (May 18) for the three candidates running for Taos Magistrate Court judge. Appointed in March to succeed …
Candidates for 8th Judicial District Court Judge Division II participated in a forum held by the Taos Democratic Party Thursday evening (May 15) to discuss why each is the right choice for the open judge seat in Raton. Melissa Kennelly (bottom left) was appointed to the position last year and faces three challengers (from top left to rigth): Anthony Ayala, Steven Romero and Betsy Musselman.
Primary Election 2020

Candidates for Raton judge seat discuss election process, potential conflicts

What makes for a good district judge and how should one be selected? Questions posed by Taos Democratic Party Chairman Darien Fernandez at a Zoom forum held Thursday night (May 14) for the four …
Taos News Primary 2020 Endorsements

Editorial: Our primary picks

One of the great aspects of the 2020 election is how many women are running for office at the local, state and congressional levels. Women are stepping up, willing to do the hard and often thankless work of public servants, making choices to improve their communities.
Chief 8th Judicial District Court Judge Emilio Chavez approved a petition from the Taos County government on Tuesday (May 12) reducing the county's polling locations from 31 to 12 for the 2020 primary election. The county is encouraging residents to participate in early voting and mail-in absentee voting this year to help reduce the risk of infection during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19

Taos County reduces polling locations to slow spread of virus

Many Taos County residents will find that their preferred polling location from elections past won't be an option for the June 2020 primary, and perhaps not even by the time the general election …
When current District 3 Rep. Ben Ray Lujan decided to make a run for retiring Sen. Tom Udall’s seat in Congress, a gaggle of would be replacements jumped into the race. The candidates to replace Lujan are lawyers, a counselor, business owners and engineers.
Primary 2020

NM Congressional District 3 Candidate Position Survey

Primary 2020 New Mexico Congressional District 3 Candidate Position Survey
Mark Flores, top left, Andrew Chavez, top right, Darlene Vigil, bottom right and Darien Fernandez discussed the 2020 campaign for the district 3 Taos County Commission race.
Primary Election 2020

Roads, jobs discussed at Taos County District 3 candidate forum

Candidates for the District 3 Taos County Commission race gathered for a virtual forum Monday as election day closes in.  Taos Democratic Party Chair Darien Fernandez hosted the event which …

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