Senate winner remains unclear

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer

New Mexico Sen. Clint Harden said Saturday he is confident his narrow lead will stand and he will retain the District 7 senate seat.

Even so, the Clovis Republican with a 37-vote lead over challenger Robert Frost, D-San Jon, said he is not yet willing to proclaim victory.

He said he is waiting to see the results after Colfax County canvasses its 10 provisional ballots on Monday and Frost’s next move, which feasibly could include a recount. The 10 provisional ballots are the last to be counted, Harden said.

Frost said he has not decided what his next move is, but said he will be watching the results closely Monday morning.

The Saturday tally had Harden leading 8,989 votes to 8,952, The Associated Press reported.

“I feel comfortable that I have enough votes to win, based on what I’ve learned over the last couple of days,” Harden said.

Frost was traveling the northern counties of the district Saturday taking down campaign signs.
“I don’t know that anybody really knows (who won),” Frost said. “I wish I knew too.”

Frost said he understood provisional ballots were still outstanding in Taos County, but emphasized he didn’t know how many provisional ballots were still out or if there were enough to sway the election.

According to the Secretary of State’s Web site, Frost won Quay, Harding, Union, Taos and Colfax counties, while Harden took Curry and San Miguel counties.

Harden said he was confident in the numbers delivered by the district’s county clerks.

Harden trailed most of Tuesday night until Curry County reported all precincts, which gave him the slight lead on Wednesday.

“I just think the county clerks in this district are just good, solid public servants,” he said.

Harden is the business administrator and owner of Twin Cronnie in Clovis. He was appointed to the state Senate in 2002 by former Gov. Gary E. Johnson.

Frost has been the owner and manager of a ranch since 1962. Former political experience includes serving on the San Jon School Board and as former president of New Mexico Cattle Growers Association.