Castleberry prevails

Kathi Holland votes Tuesday at Zia Elementary School. A fourth-grade teacher at Zia, Holland said she used the election to teach her students about civic issues and the importance of voting. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

With his father by his side, Duane Castleberry arrived at the Curry County Courthouse to quietly watch as the final results for District 1 magistrate judge were posted.

The magistrate judge race was one of two local contested races decided during Tuesday’s General Election.

Castleberry, a Republican and local business owner, upset Democratic incumbent Doug Miller with 57.5 percent of the vote.

“I’m really proud of the victory and the good, clean campaign,” Castleberry said. “I respect Doug Miller and the job he has done (as magistrate judge).”

Castleberry swept Miller with a final vote of 5,195 to 3,842. Humble and quiet, Castleberry showed his excitement with a wide smile. The soon-to-be judge said he plans to get his affairs in order to prepare to take his position in January.

Miller was not in attendance at the Curry County Courthouse, and the Clovis News Journal was unable to contact him after the results were finalized by county officials.

Magistrate judges assist district judges prepare cases for trial and may decide some criminal and civil trials when both parties agree to a hearing by a magistrate judge instead of a district court judge. The position is part-time in Curry County.

While Castleberry chose to arrive at the courthouse as the final results were posted, probate judge candidate Gloria Wicker arrived early and watched intently as each precinct was posted.

Wicker, the Democratic candidate for probate judge, was defeated by Republican Kevin Duncan.

Wicker watched with a downturned mouth as the final results were posted.
“I’m disappointed,” she said. “I had so much encouragement from people so I really thought it would go another way.”

Duncan earned 5,842 votes to Wicker’s 3,185.

“I’m happy, very happy,” Duncan said. “I’m thankful and appreciative and I think it will be good.”

Probate judges work part-time. They transfer the property of the deceased, referring to either the deceased’s will or, in the absence of a will, in accordance with New Mexico’s laws of interstate succession. Curry County probate judges also perform wedding ceremonies.