No big surprises in local races

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By David Giuliani

As expected, San Miguel County Democrats performed well in Tuesday’s general election.

Some thought state Rep. Richard Vigil, D-Ribera, who has served for a decade, was vulnerable because he faced two opponents in the Democratic primary and didn’t get past 50 percent.

But Vigil proved his detractors wrong. In his District 70, which is made up of San Miguel and Torrance counties, he pulled in 70 percent of the vote against his Las Vegas Republican opponent, Mel Root, a retired educator who got 30 percent.

In fact, Vigil almost did as well as state Rep. Thomas Garcia, D-Ocat, whose opponent apparently didn’t have any campaign whatsoever. Garcia won 73 percent to Republican Sylvia Olson’s 27 percent.

In the two contested County Commission races, the Democrats easily prevailed. In District 5, local lawyer Nicolas Leger beat rancher Fred Romero in District 5 with 74 percent to 26 percent. Leger won everywhere with the exception of Romero’s home precinct in Trujillo.

In the Pecos-based District 2, Democrat Marcellino Ortiz took 79 percent to Mary Bridget Maloney’s 21 percent.

District 4 Commissioner David Salazar, a Democrat, ran unopposed.

Plenty of other Democratic candidates ran unopposed — state Sens. Phil Griego and Pete Campos, County Treasurer Alfonso Ortiz, Melanie Rivera for county clerk, District Attorney Richard Flores and Matt Sandoval for district judge.

In countywide results, Treasurer Alfonso Ortiz appeared to be more popular than Flores, Sandoval and Rivera, getting the votes of 10,638 people, more than the others.

More than half of San Miguel County’s 21,648 registered voters participated in the election. More than a third of all voters voted straight Democratic.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama got nearly 80 percent of the county’s vote, while 83 percent supported Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tom Udall over Republican Steve Pearce.

But some Democrats didn’t fare as well. Jerome Block, the state Public Regulation Commission candidate, got 59 percent to Green Party candidate Rick Lass’ 41 percent in San Miguel County. Block received much unfavorable publicity after he admitted lying about holding a non-existent rally in San Miguel County.