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Local legislative candidates continue fundraising

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Candidates for area legislative and local races continued to receive and spend money in Chaves County in the final weeks of the primary season.

The Third Primary reports, filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, covered campaign fundraising and spending between May 5 and 26. Deadline to file reports with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office was May 28.

No Democrats or Libertarians filed to run for any offices on the ballot in November, but two seats on the Chaves County Board of Commissioners and the position of county clerk did have contested Republican primaries Tuesday.

County Comissioner Jeff Bilberry out-raised primary challenger Randy Robertson in the race for the District 3 seat on the Board of Commissioners.

Bilberry’s campaign took in $1,950 during the reporting period compared to Robertson’s $1,200. He also outspent Robertson $8,327 to $4,016, according to reports. Robertson ended the period with $2,822 and Bilberry with $1,004.

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Unofficial election results posted on the website of the New Mexico Secretary of State indicate that Bilberry beat Robertson in Tuesday’s primary, 56.48% to 43.52%.

Former County Commissioner Richard Taylor and Roswell City Councilor Barry Foster competed for the Republican nomination for the open District 4 seat on the board. Incumbent Robert Corn is unable to run for re-election because of term limits.

Taylor’s campaign raised $6,770 during the fundraising period, including $2,825 the candidate gave to his own campaign, the reports state. He also spent $8,471 and ended the campaign with $112 remaining on hand.

He went on to win the primary, taking 62.08% of the vote to Foster’s 37.92%, the Secretary of State’s website reports.

Foster did not receive any contributions during the fundraising period, according to reports, but spent $271. He ended the reporting period with $442.92 cash on hand with $1,500 in unpaid debt.

Barbara Gomez held a large fundraising advantage over Cindy Fuller in the Republican primary for Chaves County clerk.

According to reports, Gomez’s campaign took in $3,304 compared to Fuller’s $1,645. She also outspent Fuller $3,580 to $1,595. Fuller and Gomez ended the reporting period with $4,246 and $2,163 respectively in cash on hand.

Fuller prevailed in Tuesday’s primary, 77.26% to Gomez’s 22.74%, the Secretary of State’s website reports.

In the only local legislative race with a contested primary, incumbent Sen. William Burt, R-Alamagordo in Senate District 33, raised $5,600 during the reporting period to fend off primary opponent Christopher Hensley of Roswell. Hensley did not raise any money throughout most of May, according to reports.

Burt also outspent Hensley, $9,521 to $302. According to reports, Burt’s campaign ended the period with $36,490 in cash on hand and Hensley with $232.

Tuesday night, Burt defeated Hensley, 56.03% to 43.97%, according to unofficial results from the primary posted on the website of the Secretary of State’s Office.

Burt will face Democrat Denise Lang-Browne in La Luz in the general election. According to reports, Lang-Browne’s campaign received $334, spent $36.96 and ended the period with $496.82 cash on hand.

Democrat Kimble Lee Kearns of Capitan raised $450 and spent $1,090 so far in his bid to unseat state Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, in House District 59 in November. Kearns has $1,078 remaining in the bank.

Nibert’s campaign though, as of the filing deadline, had a large lead in cash on hand of $42,611. Reports state that he did not receive any contributions during the reporting period, but spent $1,290.

No other local legislative or county races had primary challengers or have general election opponents.

As a result, some re-election campaigns such as those of Republicans Chaves County Treasurer Charlotte Andrade; T. Calder Ezzell Jr., who represents District 2 on the Board of Commissioners; and state Sen. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell, in Senate District 32, issued statements of no activity, indicating they did not receive contributions or spend money during the allotted period.

Other campaigns though continued to rake in or spend cash.

The campaign of state Rep. Phelps Anderson, R-Roswell, in House District 66, did not receive any campaign contributions, but spent $336. He now has $4,915 left in the bank. He also has $100 in unpaid campaign debt.

State Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, in House District 58, received $700, spent $250 and has $12,557 left on hand, as of May 28.

House Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia, in House District 54, raised an additional $3,200 during the period. He also spent $35,500 and has $52,790 remaining in cash on hand.

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, in Senate District 27, hauled $4,500 in contributions. He spent $2,526 during the reporting period and ends it with $94,391 in cash on hand.

Longtime state Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, received one $750 contribution. Kernan then spent $1,732 and as of the filing of the report, her campaign had $15,982 remaining in her campaign war chest.

The only contribution made to the re-election bid of Dianna Luce of Lovington, district attorney for New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District, which includes Chaves County, and a Republican, was five cents from an interest credit from Lea County State Bank, according to reports.

Her campaign, which did not make any expenditures during the reporting period, ended with $2,771 cash on hand and $4,000 in unpaid campaign debt.

Chaves County voters will also have two district court judgeships on the ballot in November, both Democrats, who do not have general election opponents.

Judge Thomas Lilley, New Mexico 5th Judicial District Division II judge did not raise any money during the reporting period.

Lilley, a Democrat, was appointed in 2019 by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham following the retirement of Judge Freddie Romero.

According to his campaign reports, Lilley spent $7,200 and has $248 remaining in cash on hand. He also has $318 in unpaid campaign debt.

District Judge Jared Kallunki, also a Democrat, was appointed to the court’s Division VII seat earlier this year, after Judge Kea Riggs resigned when she was confirmed as a federal judge.

Reports state that Kallunki has not raised or spent any money and has no cash on hand.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com