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Sandoval steps out of City Council race; Stubbs, Garcia react to change in election

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Art Sandoval told the Daily Record on Wednesday he is stepping out of the Ward 3 race for City Council. (Trevier Gonzalez Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

After filing for re-election Tuesday, Roswell City Councilor Art Sandoval told the Daily Record on Wednesday he is stepping out of the Ward 3 race.

Sandoval said he filed the necessary paperwork Wednesday morning with the Roswell City Clerk’s Office to officially withdraw from the Ward 3 contest.

Sandoval and challengers Richard Garcia, Tarra Morgan and Judy Stubbs also officially declared their candidacies for the Ward 3 seat Tuesday.

“Since my announcement for re-election, other opportunities have developed that would impact my ability to serve on the City Council,” Sandoval said in a statement he delivered to the Daily Record Wednesday. “Therefore, after four terms in office, I have decided to withdraw my name and not run for another term.”

City Clerk Sharon Coll confirmed Sandoval officially withdrew from the City Council race at 10:01 a.m. Wednesday.

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Sandoval, 44, who was born and raised in Roswell, told the Daily Record last week he was running for a fifth, 4-year term. He said last week he was the best candidate in the Ward 3 race, who wanted to see unity on the City Council, utilizing his experience and community involvement.

“I want to thank the people of the city of Roswell for the privilege of serving them and I feel truly blessed,” Sandoval continued in the statement. “I look forward to working for the betterment of New Mexico in a new way that will soon be announced and I’ll be pleased to share that with everyone at the appropriate time. I will complete my term of office and look forward to a new chapter in my civic duties. Thank you. God bless Roswell and God bless New Mexico.”

Sandoval’s term will expire in March, when voters will decide the mayoral race and five City Council contests, only one of which is an uncontested race.

Sandoval’s previous challengers shared with the Daily Record their reactions to the news of Sandoval’s withdrawal on Wednesday.

“I wish him all the best,” Stubbs said. “I know this has been a really hard decision for him to make. He and I are friends and so he gave me the courtesy of a call. I appreciate that. Like I said, I wish him all the best. It does change the dynamics of the election — or the campaigning, I guess. I am going to have to rethink a little bit.”

Garcia said, “I’m kind of surprised! I was out there putting signs up and I came in to get me some water. I had run out of signs and I noticed I had missed a couple of phone calls.

“I applaud Art for his service and I have the highest respect for him,” Garcia continued. “We had talked about it sometime back. We ran into each other at Hobby Lobby and we had talked about it. I told him we just have a difference of philosophy on how we differ from trying to move the city forward. I worked with him in the school system at Dexter. I’m surprised. Hell, I’m shocked, man! I thought for sure we’d run a good race. I thank him for his service and I wish him well if he runs for a higher office, the school system, or whatever he decides to do.”

Morgan could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Though the municipal elections are nonpartisan, Stubbs and Garcia, both Democrats, were asked by the Daily Record about what they thought about two progressives running for the City Council.

Stubbs emphasized the City Council should be nonpartisan according to state statute, and that party affiliation should not be relevant.

Garcia also said he believes political affiliation should not matter on the City Council.

“This is supposed to be nonpartisan,” Garcia said. “Everything is political. We know that. I run as a concerned citizen. I am running under no banner. There are good candidates on both sides. When one party rules, it makes it difficult to address issues of the other side. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me. I fight every day to agree to disagree. I have friends, Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, and Green Party, all over this state and city. My goal is to try to give an opportunity for that person, regardless of their affiliation, to do the best they can, not only for the citizens but to recognize we live in a great city.”

After the ballot placement drawing at 5 p.m. Thursday, candidates will hear the results and the March 6 election will continue to progress.

The City Council will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in the Basset Auditorium.

Editor Jeff Tucker can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 303, or at editor@rdrnews.com. City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.