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Democrats dominate

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Election results breakdown

Undersheriff James Maiorano III rode to victory Nov. 8, besting challenger Lt. Elreno Henio for the McKinley County Sheriff post with 67% of the vote (12,401).

The races followed a statewide Democrat lean, as Henio was the only Republican on the ballot for county offices.

“It was a really clean race. Elreno Henio and I work together on a daily basis at the sheriff’s office. There were no negative ads, there was no scare campaigns between Henio and I, and I think that’s great,” Maiorano said. “He called to congratulate me, which I deeply respect.”

Maiorano’s top priority is getting the department staffed up once he takes over in January.

“It’s going to be very similar, since I’m already the undersheriff. Some of these duties and programs we’ve launched are going to continue,” he said. “One of our primary focuses is continuing to recruit, with nine current vacancies that we need to fill and hire those folks so we can provide the best services possible for our communities.”

The rest of the local offices on the ballot (listed below) were all but decided in the June primary election, mainly because there were no Republican candidates for most offices.

Bond measures for a new senior center and library/education facilities passed handily. Question 1 will bond $24.4 million for the senior center after passing with 78%  (12,875). Question 2 secures $19.2 million for academic, public school, tribal and public library resource acquisitions, with 74% (12,054); and Question 3, which passed at 77% (12,528), will provide almost $216 million for capital expenditures for certain higher education, special schools and tribal schools.

At press time, Buu Nygren appeared to have won the Navajo Nation presidency, ousting Jonathan Nez after a single term. Results of that contest are set to be certified Nov. 18.

In state races, Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham and Lt. Gov. Howie Morales will keep their seats on the strength of 12,783 votes, along with Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Attorney General Raul Torrez and Treasurer Laura Montoya. All won their seats with roughly two-thirds of the votes (ranging from 64% to 68%).

Democrat Joseph Maestas, who serves on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, bested Libertarian Travis Steven Sanchez for State Auditor, with 72% of the vote.

U.S. Rep Teresa Leger Fernandez held her District 3 seat with 69% of the vote (12,065), while District 2 challenger Gabriel Vasquez won with 73% of the vote (1,113), bumping incumbent Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell out of her job.

Other McKinley County winners set for a Jan. 1 swear-in are:

County Commissioner, District 1

The county Democratic Party nominated Danielle Notah to be the new District 1 commissioner after the primary winner, Ernest C. “Charles” Becenti III, won the race but withdrew. Her top concern is the ongoing issues at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital.

County Commissioner, District 2

Walt Eddy ran unopposed in the primary and won with 100% of the votes cast in the race. His main issue is inadequate or deteriorating roads and bridges. He’s also concerned about RMCH.

County Assessor

The Assessor oversees property in the county, including mapping, inventory and valuation for tax purposes. Edward Becenti Jr. won the six-way primary with 24% of the votes. He is Chief Deputy County Clerk and a 17-year veteran of that office. He’d like to see more of the Assessor’s Office staff trained as property appraisers.

Magistrate Judges

Brent A. Detsoi, Virginia A. Yazzie and Cynthia C. Sanders all ran unopposed for Districts 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Results are unofficial until Tolouse Oliver’s office certifies them, which is expected later this month.

Winners who are county employees will have to resign from those positions when they take office, County Attorney Doug Decker said.

By Holly J. Wagner
Sun Correspondent