Kernan likely winner

By David Arkin: CNJ correspondent

Hobbs lawmaker Gay Kernan late Tuesday looked as if she may hold onto her Senate seat.

Kernan held a 61-39 percent lead over opponent William Palmer for the Senate District 42 Republican seat, according to totals obtained through the Secretary of State’s Web site at 11:30 p.m.

Kernan had received 1,524 votes and Palmer 987. The totals were unavailable by deadline.

In Curry County, Kernan 48 percent or 139 votes, while Palmer had 51.9 percent or 150 votes. In Roosevelt County, Kernan had 63 percent or 155 votes, while Palmer had 37 percent or 91 votes.

The winner of the race will face no Democratic competition in November.

Kernan, 57, said she was pleased to be leading, but had not declared victory by 11:30 p.m.

“We don’t have all of the totals in yet but I’m comfortable with where I am in the race,” she said.

While Palmer, 41, a Lovington oil man, was also waiting for more votes to trickle in, he said he figured the chance of him pulling ahead of Kernan was pretty unlikely.

“I still want to see all of the votes,” he said. “But it’s going to be hard to overcome Gay’s lead. We’ll just have to see what else comes in.”

The election between Kernan and Palmer has been filled with words traded between supporters of the two camps, setting up a unique showdown on Tuesday.

“I’m not surprised at all that this is so close,” Kernan said. “I knew this would be this close and that’s why I was out working so hard to get votes. This is exactly what we thought this would be like. We will stay late tonight to find out who wins.”

Palmer also said he expected a close race.

“I prayed to God that I would get 50 percent, plus one,” he said.

Kernan, who is a school teacher, said she spent election day visiting different polling sites around the district, checking to see what turnout was like.

“It was really low everywhere,” she said.