Many races unopposed

By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun

Sue Moore spent Tuesday night at the Quay County Courthouse, doing what she’s done every two years for the last 42 years.

This time it was different, but not necessarily better for Moore.

Moore won the probate judge race Tuesday night with 1,160 votes in an unopposed Democratic primary. She was one of five candidates who saw no primary opposition in the county primary races.

Moore said she has been to every county primary since 1964, save one when one of her children was in the hospital. Between her husband J. Bronson Moore winning victories as magistrate judge and her sister Johnnie Parish winning many bids for county treasurer, she felt she would be selfish saying her victory was her favorite primary.

“That’s hard for me to say,” said Moore, who faces no Republican challenger in November, “because my husband has been elected several times.”

Others were gaining campaigning experience for the first time, like County Assessor Janie Murray. Murray was appointed as tax assessor last year following the retirement of Betty Bone. Murray was the chief deputy assessor for the previous six years and has been with the office for 14 years.

In her first election bid, she earned 1,116 votes in the Democratic primary with purely a word-of-mouth campaign. After the election was over, she was congratulated by Magistrate Judge Edwin Bruhn, who shook her hand and joked, “You ran a good race.”

Bruhn, another unopposed candidate, does have a race to worry about in November after pulling 288 votes in the Republican primary. When Bronson Moore retired as magistrate judge, Bruhn was appointed by Gov. Gary Johnson in 2001. Bruhn won re-election in 2002 and is hopeful to do the same in 2006. He’ll go against David Joel Garnett, who won a three-person race in the Democratic primary.

“Now we know who is in our race,” Bruhn said. “I hadn’t put up a lot of signs because I ran unopposed, but more signs will be showing up.”

Bruhn said many of his supporters have asked for campaign signs, but he opted to hold off for the most part until primaries had finished.

Jim Witcher had the same attitude after winning an unopposed campaign for sheriff. He will go against Undersheriff Joe Schallert, who defeated Juan Barreras in the Democratic primary. Witcher said his upcoming campaign would have been similar regardless of the opponent.

“For me, it hasn’t (changed),” said Witcher, who claimed 251 votes. “I still have a race to run. I’m glad people exercised their right to vote. I just wish more of them did.”

In the primaries, 1,417 Democrats voted and 403 Republicans voted. The difference in vote totals could be attributed to two factors — Quay County’s higher number of voters registered as Democrats (3,600, compared to 1,804 Republicans) and the lack of a race in the Republican primaries (Witcher and Bruhn were the only Republicans running in local races).

County Commission Chairman Franklin McCasland, running unopposed for District 3, took a victory with 375 votes.