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Voters to decide most McKinley County races June 7

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New Mexicans go to the polls June 7 for the primary election and to decide several local offices. Polling sites will be open from 7 am to 7 pm (see list of McKinley County sites below).

As a practical matter, most McKinley County races will be settled with next week’s election because all of the candidates are from one party. Winners will not be sworn in until Jan. 1, 2023, and their names will still appear on the November ballot, but as unopposed candidates.

County Races

County Sheriff candidates include one Republican, Elreno C. Henio of Thoreau; and four Democrats: Matthew K. Hughbanks, Francie L. Martinez, Paul R. Lucero and current undersheriff James Maiorano III, all of Gallup.

Most have backgrounds in local law enforcement and many in multiple agencies. All have lived locally for many years, and some have family ties to the Gallup area going back generations.

The biggest challenge facing the McKinley County Sheriff’s Department is recruiting, training and retaining personnel. Candidates have also cited recent legalization of recreational marijuana use as a community concern.

Two of three seats on the county commission, the policy-setting body for the county, are up for grabs. Among other things, the commission has been grappling with the fate of the county’s lease to Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services.

All of the contenders are Democrats. For Billy Moore’s District 1 seat, candidates are: Young J. Tom and Vincent Muskett, both of Gallup; and Ernest C. Becenti III, of Church Rock.

The sole candidate for Genevieve Jackson’s District 2 seat is Walt Eddy of Gallup, also a Democrat.

Jackson is in a six-way brawl for County Assessor, with all contenders being Democrats. The others are Danielle Notah of Tohatchi; Edward Becenti Jr. and Paulinda L. Yazzie of Church Rock; and Anthony N. Begay and Harriett K. Becenti of Gallup. The Assessor oversees property in the county, including mapping, inventory and valuation for tax purposes.

Three county Magistrate Court seats and one on the Probate Court are also on the ballot, though only the District 1 seat is a contest. Candidates are Hermion M. Chaves and Brent A. Detsoi.

Statewide offices on the primary ballot include Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Auditor.

U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez is facing Republican challenger Alexis Martinez Johnson for her District 3 seat in the House of Representatives.

The General election will be held Nov. 8.



Early voting has been open since May 10 and will close June 4. Four of McKinley County’s six early/alternative locations will be open on June 3 in the evening and on June 4: sites at the Rio West Mall in Gallup and the Thoreau Fire Station will be open noon to 8 pm June 3 and 10 am to 6 pm June 4;  the Zuni Tribal Building and Crownpoint Election offices will be open 9 am to 5 pm both days. Twinlakes and Manuelito chapter house sites will be open 9 am to 5 pm June 3.

Any registered McKinley County voter may vote June 7 at any of the sites listed below:

Red Lake Chapter House, Shepard Spring Rd., Navajo

Navajo Estates Fire Station, 19 C Sunset Valley Rd., Yah-ta-hey

Hilltop Christian School, 2 A Deerfield, Tse Bonito

Mexican Springs Chapter House , 18 miles north on 491, Mexican Springs

Tohatchi Elementary School, 100 Chuska Rd., Tohatchi

Twin Lakes Elementary School, N. Hwy. 491 Twin Lakes

Coyote Canyon Chapter House, 9 miles East of Hwy. 491, Navajo Rt. 9 on Mile Marker 9, Brimhall

Standing Rock Chapter House, 28 miles east of Crownpoint, NM Route 9

Whitehorse Lake Chapter House, 28 miles east of Crownpoint

Ojo Encino Chapter House, Star Lake Road, Ojo Encino

Baca Chapter House, State Hwy 122, Prewitt

Smith Lake Chapter House, 1299 Hwy 371, Smith Lake

Fort Wingate Fire Station , 290 McGaffey Lake Road, Fort Wingate

Catherine A. Miller Elementary School, Challenger Road, Churchrock

Rock Springs Chapter House, E Rock Spring Rd., Yahtahey

Manuelito Chapter House, 26 Hunters Point Rd., Manuelito

Pinedale Chapter House , 523 Hwy N 11-49 Churchrock

Breadsprings Chapter House, B017-001 Rodeo Rd., Breadsprings

David Skeet Elementary School, Route 45 Jones Ranch Rd., Vanderwagen

Ramah Fire Station, #4 Tietjen Ave., Ramah

Mariano Lake Administrative Building, 237A Mariano Lake Loop Dr,. Mariano Lake

Whispering Cedars Fire Station, 2111 A Suite 21A Iyanbito Rd., Fort Wingate

Iyanbito Chapter House, 2111 A Suite 21A Iyanbito Rd., Fort Wingate

Tsayatoh Multi-Complex Building, West TseYaToh Rd., TseYaToh

Becenti Chapter House, SR 7009 & NM 371, Crownpoint

Dalton Pass (Nahodishgish) Chapter House, West Navajo Rt. 9, Crownpoint

Casamero Lake Chapter House, 1037A Count Rd. 19, Prewitt

Gallup Southside Fire Station, 1800 S Second St., Gallup

Gallup Northside Fire Station, 911 W Lincoln Ave., Gallup

Gallup Eastside Fire Station, 3700 Church Rock St., Gallup

Gallup Westside Fire Station, 707 Rico St., Gallup

County Courthouse Rotunda, 207 W. Hill Ave., Room 100, Gallup

Rio West Mall, 1300 W Maloney Ave., Gallup

UNM Gallup Branch Gym, 705 Gurley Ave., Gallup

Larry Brian Mitchell Rec, Marguerite Franco Dr., Gallup

Zuni Tribal Building, 1202 B State Hwy 53, Zuni

Zuni Blackrock Fire Station 04, Third Street, Zuni

Red Rock Chapter House, 79 Refuge Rock Rd. #A, Gallup

Thoreau Fire Station, 109 Hwy 371 Thoreau

Crownpoint Election Office, Intersection of Hwy 9 and Chaco Blvd., Crownpoint

By Holly J. Wagner
Sun Correspondent