While the 2012 canvassing of Chaves County election results did not change the ultimate outcome of any races, it rendered a closer race, by one vote, between Republican candidates Cliff Pirtle, a Roswell farmer, and Roswell Fire Chief Chad Hamill.
Pirtle is the presumptive Republican nominee for state Senate District 32. The district, which is currently represented by Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, encompasses Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties. The unofficial primary results show Pirtle as receiving 956 votes in Chaves County to Hamill’s now 924. As it stands now, Pirtle has received 1,018 total votes to Hamill’s 1009.
County Clerk Rhoda Coakley said Democratic voter turnout was 15.5 percent, Republican turnout was nearly 34 percent, with turnout in the county at 25 percent for the primary election.
With the County Commission’s permission, four members of the Absentee Board, two Democrats and two Republicans, counted seven qualified provisional ballots. Twenty-four provisional ballots in total were submitted to the county. A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there are questions regarding a voter’s eligibility.
The provisional ballots slightly modified the tallies of certain candidates. President Barack Obama received one additional vote, rendering his total to 1,146. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum received four and one additional votes respectively. Romney’s total for the county is now at 3,627 and Santorum’s is 458.
In the race for U.S. Senate, State Auditor Hector Balderas received an additional vote, taking his total tally to 684. Balderas’ Democratic competitor New Mexico Congressman Martin Heinrich remained in the lead with 872 votes. Republican and former congresswoman Heather Wilson gained five votes to Las Cruces businessman Greg Sowards’ one. Wilson has now received 3,463 votes to Sowards’ 1,581.
In the battle for a spot on the New Mexico Court of Appeals, Democratic Judge Monica Zamora received an additional vote to further secure her lead over Judge Victor Lopez. Zamora now has 930 votes to Lopez’s 541.
As for state House District 66, Rep. Bob Wooley, R-Roswell, the incumbent for the seat, received an additional vote against Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell. Kintigh won Chaves County with 884 votes to Wooley’s now 758. Wooley is the presumptive overall winner for the district, as he won both Lea and Roosevelt counties.
Judge Lisa Riley gained four additional votes to secure her current position as district judge for the 5th Judicial District, Division 9. Fellow Republican Les Williams received one additional vote. Riley has now received 3,601 votes and Williams 1,187.
In the race for district attorney for the 5th Judicial District, incumbent Janetta Hicks received two additional votes to Republican contender Janet Ellis’ four. Hicks received 2,899 votes and Ellis 2,020.
Current City Clerk Dave Kunko gained four additional votes to fellow Republican and Bureau of Elections Chief Stephanie De Los Santos Amaro’s two. Kunko has 3,506 votes to Amaro’s 1,565 in the race for county clerk.
The County Commission approved the canvass. Commissioners Kim Chesser and Dick Taylor were absent. The State Canvassing Board meets on June 26 with Secretary of State Dianne Duran’s office. Recommendations for official recounts will be made at that time.