Candidate’s campaign intent questioned

By Tonya Garner: CNJ Staff Writer

His opponents claim Edwin Perales II is unfairly trying to capitalize on his father’s political success.

Not true, Perales II says. He can’t help it if he has the same name as his father, two-term Curry County Commissioner Edwin Perales Jr.

“I’ve been Edwin Perales since kindergarten,” Perales II said. “The only place that reads Edwin Perales II is my birth certificate.”

Robert Sandoval and Fidel Madrid, the other Democratic candidates in the race for the District 1 county commissioner’s seat in Tuesday’s primary, say Perales II has intentionally run a low-profile race in hopes voters will confuse him with his father.

Perales II’s campaign signs, for example, do not distinguish the 20-year-old college student from his father, who holds the County Commission seat through Tuesday’s primary. The blue-and-white rectangular signs simply state, “Vote Perales for county commissioner.”

Perales II has also declined to participate in a candidate forum sponsored by a local radio station and a question-and-answer session conducted with candidates by the Clovis News Journal.

“Personally I have nothing against Perales II,” Sandoval said. “He has the right to run just like everyone else. But the voters deserve to know who the candidate is and where he stands on the issues.”

Perales II said he is not relying on his surname for votes.

“My dad (Ed Perales Jr.) has taught me so much,” Perales II said, “and I believe people will vote for me because I want to follow in his footsteps.”

Perales II spoke with the CNJ when he first announced he was running for office, saying he is running for county commissioner because he has always had an interest in politics and believes it is time for the younger generation to get involved.

In a brief interview on Wednesday, he declined to say why he would not participate in the radio forum or the Q&A with the CNJ.

Sandoval said he has sought votes by making numerous daily phone calls to constituents, and the Perales name has come up often in the conversations.

“I have spoken to several people who believe Ed Perales Jr. is running again,” Sandoval said, “because of the way the (political) signs read.”

Madrid agreed the signs are deceiving and will most likely garner votes for Edwin Perales II strictly on surname recognition.

“I think most people know the son is running,” Madrid said, “but the signs are misleading.”

Perales Jr. let out a frustrated sigh when asked about his son’s critics.

“We have the same name,” Perales Jr. said. “It’s as simple as that. I haven’t told anyone I’m running again.”