By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Voters in Tucumcari’s City Commission District 2 ousted their commissioner Jimmy Sandoval Thursday, according to unofficial returns.
Commissioner Dora Salinas-McTigue, District 1, survived a recall vote, according to the unofficial vote count.
Voter turnout in both districts was low. Sandoval was recalled by a vote of 60 for his recall and 50 against, according to unofficial returns Salinas-McTigue retained her commission seat by a vote of 42 for her recall and 49 against, the unofficial returns indicated. City Clerk Angelica Gray read the preliminary returns to a gathering of supporters of both commissioners at City Hall Thursday.
Both Salinas–McTigue and Sandoval were elected in 2012 to serve terms that end in 2016.
“They won by lies,” Sandoval said. It was proven they were liars. They are still liars.”
Sandoval said he would be more specific at the commission’s next meeting Jan. 9.
Salinas-McTigue said, “I’m happy I won, but our work is just starting. We’re going to be starting to address some issues. We’ll be fixing things, and it is not going to be business as usual.”
While Salinas-McTigue said she would wait for the Jan. 9 meeting to deliver more details, she said Tucumcari is “under a microscope” in Santa Fe but would not mention any specific state agencies that might have the city under scrutiny, saying she would have more information at the Jan. 9 meeting.
Petitions calling for the recall of both commissioners started circulating about three weeks after the commission voted to fire City Manager Doug Powers on Sept. 26. Those petitions and another seeking the recall of District 3 Commissioner Ernest Dominguez, succeeded in garnering enough signatures to require a recall.
In Dominguez’s case, however, the petitions were not submitted to City Hall in time to warrant a special election, since that election could not have been scheduled to be less than 60 days from the general election scheduled for March.
Powers was reinstated to the city manager post two weeks after the vote to dismiss him. Dominguezvoted to dismiss Powers in September, but changed his vote two weeks later, and changed the majority vote to retain Powers. Mayor Amiel Curnutt, District 5, and Commissioner Robert Lumpkin, District 4, voted against Power’s firing both times.
While petitions were approved for distribution against Curnutt and Lumpkin, these petitions were never returned to City Hall.