Voters swarming county office

Political Notebook

The Curry County clerk’s office is busy these days.
County Clerk Mario Trujillo said last week 320 people have voted early at his office for the June 1 primary. Also, his office has mailed out 159 absentee ballots.
Those figures, he says, are higher than other primaries.
“Well I do know that it has been busy in here,” he said. “There’s been a real steady flow of voters. It’s been busier than it ever has been before for a primary.”
Trujillo said he shuffled some things around in his office to deal with the more than 300 voters who have come in since the first week of May.
On Saturday, a voting site opened in North Plains Mall, in the Clovis Police Department substation.
Trujillo said he hoped the site in the mall would make things easier on his office.
“We are outgrowing our space here,” he said.
It’s not difficult to figure out why a lot of people are voting — the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s race between incumbent Brett Carter and challenger Matt Chandler is attracting a lot of attention.
“I’m sure the DA race has increased the momentum quite a bit,” Trujillo said. “But that’s not the only reason. Early voting has been around for a while and people have caught on to it. But the DA race does have a little to do with why more are voting earlier.”

Kernan, Palmer speak out
Rep. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, and her Republican opponent for Senate District 42, Lovington’s William Palmer, are hitting the airwaves in what’s becoming one of the more interesting and hotly contested seats in the state.
Two weeks ago, both candidates appeared on KENW, an area television program, and discussed their issues.
Palmer had an interview on radio stations KINF in Roswell and KZOR in Hobbs last week.
Kernan was interviewed on Roswell radio stations KBIN radio and KNIX recently.
Palmer said supporters on both sides are creating a sticky situation for both candidates.
“I don’t think there’s anything between myself and Gay,” he said. “Our supporters are going off the deep end though.”
The race heated up recently after Palmer received an endorsement from the Right to Life organization.
“I think them endorsing me surprised Gay somewhat,” he said.
Kernan said she’s also pro-life.
“I want to make sure that my position is very clear,” she said. “I don’t support federal funds for abortion and don’t support cloning. The only area I don’t agree with Right to Life is with terminally ill patients. I believe in the philosophy of the Hospice organization. The Right to Life organization believes that you should never hold food or water from a patient and I disagree with that. That is the only issue I disagree with it.”
Palmer will be in Clovis during the next two weeks knocking on doors, he said.
Kernan said she spent time during the last few weeks in Portales, Clovis and Texico.

Rep. Ruiz will be missed
Last week, the New Mexico Legislature lost one of its favorite people. Rep. Ray Ruiz lost his battle with cancer.
Rep. Brian Moore, R-Clayton, whose district expands into many areas of eastern New Mexico, said Ruiz will be missed by many.
“Ray was one of my favorites,” he said. “He was in the Legislature for a half year before I got there. His wife and my wife were friends. I didn’t agree politically with him on a lot of things, but I thought he had a lot of integrity. You got straight answers from him. It’s just a devastating loss.”
Harriet Ruiz has expressed interest in being named to take over her late husband’s seat. Ruiz was an Albuquerque lawmaker.
“That would be kind of neat,” Moore said. “She would do a great job. It’s kind of surprising.”

GOP chair wants audit
The newly elected chairman of the state Republican Party says he wants an audit of the party.
Allen Weh, the New Mexico GOP party chief wants to straighten out some questions about spending within the party.
Moore said the audit is a good idea.
“I think everyone always needs to know what’s going on,” he said. “I think they are doing what anyone would do. They want to know what’s going on and where the party is at.”
While the GOP party faces an uphill battle, in needing to overcome controversy of in-house bickering, Moore believes that Weh was the right choice.
“People are real excited about him,” Moore said.

In the money
According to colorofmoney.org, a Web site that looks at how much people in cities across the country give to political parties, Republicans give a lot more money to federal campaigns than Democrats in Clovis.
The Web site says in the last federal election — 2002 — total individual federal campaign contributions in the city of Clovis hit more than $137,000.
Of those who gave, 83 percent were Republicans and 17 percent were Democrats.

Dates to remember
• May 29: In-person and absentee voting ends.
• June 1: Primary Election Day.

Elections online
Looking for more New Mexico election news? Go online to www.sos.state.nm.us/Election/ElectionInfo.htm

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