Please note: San Jon’s Therese Schleizer vote count corrected to 29. Sentence added to Nitin Bhakta’s quote.
By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Tucumcari voters elected two new commissioners, replaced a commissioner and kept a third, and retained the city’s municipal judge by a margin of more than 4 to 1 over his closest challenger, unofficial vote totals show.
Municipal Judge Joe Dominguez retained the bench, garnering 471 votes. Challengers Gary Southern and Danford Cross received 85 votes and 72 votes, respectively
One incumbent commissioner, District 3’s Ernest Dominguez, lost his seat. Dominguez was defeated in a three-way race, losing to Ruth Ann Litchfield. The third candidate was Edward Perea. Litchfield received 96 votes to Perea’s 40 and Dominguez’s 15.
In District 5, where incumbent Mayor Amiel Curnutt did not run, John Mihm was elected over three other candidates. Mihm received 172 votes. Lorenzo Emillio received 36 votes. Nitin Bhakta received 32 votes, and Wilfredo Gonzalez received one vote.
District 4 Commissioner Robert Lumpkin easily retained his seat in an 83-32 victory over challenger Thomas Even.
In San Jon, the only other Quay County community in which there was a contested position, Mayor Billie Jo Barnes maintained her seat, defeating Darrell Musick, 28-15. Therese Schleizer ran unopposed for her village council seat, receiving 29 votes, according to Village Clerk Cynthia Lee.
In Logan, all three village council candidates ran unopposed, Mayor David Babb, 63 votes; Apolonio Ramirez, 67 votes; and Rosemary Lower, 64 votes, according to Angelina Cordova, village clerk-treasurer.
In House, incumbents Judy Morrow and Hilous Hargrove ran unopposed. There were 12 votes cast, Anita Allen, village clerk reported, but she did not have totals for each candidate.
In Tucumcari, Ruth Ann Litchfield said she was excited by her victory in the District 3 race.
“I’m very pleased,” she said. I’ll do the very best I can do. I appreciate all the votes I got from my district.”
Edward Perea said Litchfield, “did a super job. She deserves to win. She was a good candidate and will be a good commissioner.”
Incumbent Commissioner Ernie Dominguez said, “The voters had a choice and they made it. I will support Ruth Ann in any way I can. I was glad to serve for the year I was in office, and I have no regrets. I feel good about what we accomplished in the past year. We have to move beyond negativity and keep going forward.”
In District 5, Mihm, the winner, said simply, “I am ready to serve.”
Lorenzo Emillio, one of his opponents, said, “If I lost to anyone, I wanted it to be John. He’s a great man and he’ll do an excellent job.”
Emillio pledged to support Mihm “ in any way I can,” he said, adding the citizens of Tucumcari need to get more involved and support the city, too.
Nitin Bhakta, another of Mihm’s opponents said he was “very disappointed” in the election results. “I congratulate John on winning,” he said. “Everybody wanted John. I’m disappointed but it was a good experience.”
District 4’s incumbent Lumpkin, who retained his seat, said he was “pleased it came out like this.”
His opponent Thomas Even said, “The people have spoken. It is what it is. I will continue to do what I have to do to make my business successful, and to help the city when I can.”
Dominguez was not available for comment. Opponent Danford Cross said, “I am glad to have had the privilege to run.” Gary Southern, Dominguez’s other opponent, was not available for comment.
San Jon Mayor Billie Jo Barnes said, “I am very happy I won. I can keep doing what I was doing.”
Her opponent Darrell Musick was not available for comment.