Woods takes District 7 position

A low-key Pat Woods declared victory over challenger Angie Spears late Tuesday in one of the most bitter and closely watched races in New Mexico.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

District 5 county commission candidate Danny L. Powell, left, congratulates Pat Woods on his District 7 state senate win Tuesday night at a victory party at a private residence in Clovis.

The final vote was 2,283 to 1,991.

Woods, speaking at a victory party on Clovis' northeast side said it was time for conciliation in a race characterized by sharp divisions between himself and Gov. Susana Martinez, who had endorsed Spears.

"I'm optimistic that the same passions that energized this entire race can now be rededicated to uniting our community for the greater good," Wood said. "As the state senator for all of District 7, I intend to serve Republicans, Democrats and Independents with the same integrity and humility in the coming months and years."

Spears conceded the race about 10:30 p.m., saying, "I just gave Pat a call and told him congratulations."

Spears said she was surprised by the close margin, noting in the final days of the race "I think the temperature of the race was just too close to gauge."

A Clovis Media Inc. poll taken just days before the election concluded the contest was a dead heat.

It was a race characterized by sometimes bitter accusations between both camps.

In campaign mailings Martinez's political advisor Jay McClesky — also advising Spears — made much of Woods past donations to Democrats. In the last days of the race, Woods, a rancher, was attacked for accepting $1.7 million in agriculture subsidies.

Woods' literature spent most of the past two weeks painting McClesky as an outsider trying to divide the Republican party in eastern New Mexico and across the state.

At the height of it all, longtime state Rep. Anna Crook, who easily won renomination Tuesday, sent out a letter calling for an end to the "nastiness."

Woods, speaking slow and deliberate at a friend's home in Clovis, said he was disappointed the governor endorsed Spears so quickly. He said he expected the governor would have at least interviewed him before making a decision to endorse anyone.

"I have never wanted any kind of fight with the governor," Woods said. "I believe that the governor has a lot of good things in her agenda to do.

"I'm looking forward to meeting the governor and working with the governor."

Among the Martinez initiative's Woods said he supports are repealing a law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license and education reform. Woods added while he believes education is in trouble at many schools across New Mexico, "I don't know that we need to mess with the schools that are doing things right."

Woods said water issues and economic development in eastern New Mexico and across the state will be a focus from him when he takes office in Santa Fe.

Asked about her future political plans, Spears said, "I have a wonderful day job and a wonderful family."

Spears, clinical director of Team Builders counseling services, said she plans on concentrating on her work. She did, however, say she hopes to remain involved in politics and "bring a younger, more active voice to the Curry County Republican party."

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