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Voters choose experience in county clerk’s office

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Unofficial results of Tuesday’s Republican primary indicate that Chaves County voters preferred experience for the county clerk’s office.

Although the race for the Chaves County clerk was the first campaign for public office for both Republican candidates, voters overwhelmingly chose Cindy Fuller, a six-year employee of the clerk’s office, as the GOP nominee. With no Democrats filing for the office, Fuller will be the presumptive winner of November’s general election for the office.

Unofficial results posted to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website Tuesday night showed Fuller with 5,862 votes to 1,725 for Barbara Gomez, or about 77% to 23%.

Fuller said Tuesday night’s election was one of the best-run elections by the clerk’s office since she started there in 2014 as elections bureau chief. She became chief deputy clerk in March. That has helped convince her that when she takes office, she won’t bring much change.

“I’ve been in office for six years and working under the current county clerk and we’ve just got a real good thing going. We can always improve and we’ll look at the things that we can continue to improve in the office, but we just have an amazing team right now. It’s just going to be business as usual, serving the citizens of Chaves County,” she said.

Fuller credited her campaign team with her win.

“I had such amazing people around me, I can’t take credit for that. They gave me creative ideas and we just ran with it,” she said.

She said she also wanted to thank God and her family, who she said also worked “tirelessly” on her campaign.

She also said she wanted to thank her opponent, Gomez.

“We both ran a clean campaign. She was a tough competitor,” she said. “I want to thank her for her willingness to step up to the plate, as well.”

Gomez, a long-time community volunteer and marketing events professional, was not deterred by defeat in her first-ever political campaign.

“I have an incredible team. We put together one heck of a campaign,” she said Tuesday evening as supporters gathered on the patio of Antigua Cocina Mexicana, 3601 N. Main St., for a watch party.

“They worked their butts off every single weekend. We’ve put up hundreds of signs and they’ll help me take them down once this is over. I will be disappointed for them,” she said.

She said while the campaign itself was not difficult, she was disappointed in the workings of local politics.

“You know what else I will be disappointed with? The political machine that is Roswell, the ‘good ol’ boys’ that don’t want any change. That’s what I will be disappointed in. They don’t want anybody different,” she said.

“My opponent has run on a platform that says experience matters. Yes, it’s important but that’s not the only thing that matters. You know what matters? Your love for this community, your desire to make this place better, treating people with respect, having an ethical mind and wanting to treat people ethically and not letting things slide,” she said.

“Parties like the Democratic Party, the Republican Party are always looking for new people to join them, but they don’t want new people, really, because it changes the composition of what they have,” she said.

“How is anybody going to get experience if they’re not going to let you in?” she questioned.

But Gomez hinted this won’t be the last campaign she expects to be involved in.

“I want to be part of a big picture. I don’t always have to be part of a little picture in Roswell. I want to be part of something bigger. Maybe I’ll be part of a bigger political movement, statewide, nationwide … whether I’m helping someone’s campaign or whether I’m asked to run for something else,” she said.

Gomez said she will continue to be involved in the local causes she has worked for such as Homes for Heroes, Kiwanis and an all-inclusive park.

“Winning or losing a race does not change me, and I’m not going to change for people. I’m still going to remain the same good person I was,” she said.

To keep up with coverage of this and other 2020 elections of local and regional interest, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/elections/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.