Bernalillo County Primary Voter’s Guide (2016)

LAST UPDATED: 5/28/2016


Local elections are often ignored, but they are also the elections that will have the most impact on your daily life. This primary election is important because for many positions you are actually electing the person that will serve, either because they are running unopposed, or because of the demographics of their district the other party has no chance of winning.

I tried to find as much information as I could about the candidates and wrote this up to hopefully save time for others (and myself in the future). As I find more information, I will continue to update it at least until early voting.

Key Information

NM is a closed primary. You must register as a Democrat or Republican in order to vote.

You can register or change your party online, but must do it by May 10th. You can also download a sample ballot.

Absentee voting starts May 10th and you can vote in person at the Clerk’s Annex location,1500 Lomas Blvd. NW.

Early voting across the county starts May 21st.

Election is June 7th.

Party Preference

With the ease of online registration/party change I encourage everyone to register Democrat with a few exceptions. You can easily change back to your preferred party if it is not Democrat. The Democratic primary has more contested county and state positions you can vote for. For most people, on the Republican side the only contested primary is county treasurer.

Exceptions to registering Democrat:

  • You feel strongly about voting for one of the Republican presidential candidates, even though the election is essentially over.
  • You want to vote for one of the Republican candidates for county treasurer.
  • You live in State House District 24 and want to vote in the contested Republican primary.
  • You live in State Senate District 19 and want to vote for one of the four Republican candidates.

If you are in Bernalillo County and none of these reasons apply to you, switch your party to Democrat in vote in their primary to have the most impact on the election. You can easily switch back to your preferred party afterwards.


I have attempted to list any applicable history for the position, the incumbent, if the winner will face a challenger in the Nov. election, each candidates website, if I can find it, and applicable information. The applicable information is where my bias will come it, as far as what I choose to include or not, but I will try to keep opinions out of it. If you have interviews, questionnaires or other things I can add, let me know in the comments.


Public Regulation Commissioner – District 1

The PRC is responsible for a significant amount of regulation in NM for public utilities, telecommunications and transportation. There are no other declared candidates for PRC district 1, so the winner of the primary is currently unopposed in the November election. District 1 is most of Albuquerque. ABQ Journal profile.

Karen MontoyaCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, incumbent, has served 1 term.

Cynthia HallCampaign WebsiteBallotpedia

District Attorney – 2nd Judicial District (Bernalillo County)

The district attorney decides who to prosecute, who not to prosecute, what pleas to offer or not offer, etc. This position seems even more important with the recent issues with APD. How well do they work together with the police force vs. how do they hold the police force accountable. Kari Brandenburg has been the DA for the last 16 years and is not running again, so this will be the first time there will be a new face in the office in a long time.

Raul TorrezCampaign Website

Edmund PereaCampaign Website

An article by NM Political Report discuss the issue of the DA and APD interaction and provides a sentence from each candidate.

Recording of the KUNM discussion with the candidates.

ABQ Journal summary of the race.

District Court Judge (2nd Judicial District – Division 9)

ABQ Journal profile.

Bernalillo County judge. It doesn’t look like either candidates has served as a judge before.

Cindy LeosCampaign Website, Ballotpedia

John GrubesicCampaign Website, Ballotpedia

Judge of Metro Court (Division 2)

ABQ Journal Profile.

Christine RodriguezCampaign Website, Ballotpedia

Karlos UlibarriCampaign Website, Ballotpedia

Judge of Metro Court (Division 3)

The winner of this primary is currently unopposed in the November election. ABQ Journal profile.Renee TorresCampaign WebsiteBallotpedia 

John DuranCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, incumbent. Served as Judge in Division 8, but lost re-election in 2014. He ran as a Republican in 2014.

County Clerk

Maggie Toulouse Oliver has served and the clerk for the last nine years, but is now running for Secretary of State. ABQ Journal summary and update.

Roman MontoyaCampaign Site

Linda StoverCampaign Site

County Treasurer (Democrat)

This is a four way race on the Democratic side and the position has a lot of history. Patrick Padilla served as treasurer from 2005 – 2012 (and 1990-1993). Manny Ortiz served as treasurer from 2013 to the present, he was Padilla’s investment adviser, but then when he won Padilla became his investment adviser. Ortiz and Padilla have been involved in a fight with the county commissioners. The commissioners were worried they didn’t have the cash flow to meet bills because of too many long term investments. The county sold the investments at a huge loss to make sure they had money. The commissioners and treasurer have been on bad terms since with Ortiz suing them all now. Both Ortiz and Padilla are running for the treasurer’s office. ABQ Journal Summary of the race.

Manny OrtizCampaign Website, incumbent.

Patrick Padilla – Unable to find campaign website, has served 12 years as County Treasurer previously.

Christopher Sanchez – Campaign Website, accounting manager in the treasurer’s office.

Nancy BearceCampaign Website

County Treasurer (Republican)

I can’t find campaign pages for either of the Republican candidates at this time. The ABQ Journal Summary of the race includes a profile for Kim Hillard.

Kim Hillard

Christopher Romero

County Commissioner – District 2

The incumbent Art De La Cruz is not running. There are currently three Democrats and one Republican running for the seat. ABQ Journal profile of the Democratic candidates.

Adrian PedrozaCampaign Website

Robert ChavezCampaign Website

Steven QuezadaCampaign Website

State House and Senate

Get a sample ballot or look at the Senate and House maps to determine if any of these primaries are applicable to you.

State Representative District 21

House district 21 has a three way Democratic primary. The winner will run unopposed in the November election. The incumbent, Idalia Lechuga-Tena has was appointed in November 2015. ABQ Journal profile of the race.

Idalia Lechuga-Tena – Incumbent, Campaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Amanda Kinkaid – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Debra SarinanaCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

State Representative District 24 (Republican)

The incumbent is not seeking re-election so the winner of this primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary (above).
ABQ Journal profile of the race.Christina HallCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile 

Ryan BoyleCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

State Representative District 25

The winner of the Democratic primary will run unopposed in the November election. ABQ Journal write up of the primary race.

Christine Trujillo – Incumbent, Campaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Chris Berkheimer – Unable to find campaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

State Representative District 69

House district 69 is a 4 way race for the Democratic primary. There is no incumbent and the winner will run unopposed in the November election.

Terry Fletcher – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia

Harry GarciaCampaign Website, Ballotpedia

Ben Shelly – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia, Indian Country Today Media Network profile

Lloyd Felipe – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia

State Senator District 17

The winner of the democratic primary will run unopposed in November. ABQ Journal Summary of the race.

Mimi StewartCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile, incumbent

Shannon RobinsonCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

State Senator District 19

District 19 has a four way Republican primary and will face a Democratic opponent in November. There is no incumbent. ABQ Journal Summary of the race and Edgewood News candidate profiles.

James White – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Jim WilderCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Anthony ThorntonCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Herb Gadberry – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

State Senator District 22

Only a small part of the large district 22 is in Bernalillo County. There winner of the Democratic primary will run unopposed in the November election. ABQ Journal Summary of the race.

Benny ShendoCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile, Incumbent

Sandra Jeff – Unable to find campaign website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

State Senator District 23

The winner of the Democratic primary will face the Republican incumbent in November. ABQ Journal Summary of the race.

Joy GarrattCampaign Website, Ballotpedia, ABQ Journal profile

Joe ChavezCampaign Website, Ballotpedia

Startup Roundup – Accelerators and Pitches

Here are a list of startups from the last couple of months for everyone to check out and follow!

ABQid expanded to Santa Fe and in February started their first group of companies through the program. The six startups in SFid are:

The IGNITE Community Accelerator also started up a new class in February. The 13 companies are:

  • Fresco New Mexico – Food truck.
  • Lobo Cell Phone Solutions – Cell phone repair.
  • Medical Debt Resolutions, LLC – Consulting for medical debt.
  • MyTap Inc. – Beer recommendation engine.
  • Shop for NM Kids – Marketing and fundraising to help New Mexico kids.
  • The CBD Botique – Products with cannabidiol extract.
  • Trail Quail – App for hiking and biking trails.
  • Another Mother Kombucha – Kombucha tea.
  • Cool Nerves Technology – Cooling shirts for medical conditions.
  • Essence de Café – Coffee extract provider.
  • JobPlacer – Connecting freelancers and businesses.
  • Quetzal Co-op – Food truck.
  • Stellate Studio – Tesselation art app.

The 2nd Ski Lift Pitch took place at the beginning of this month, here are the winners:

  1. UbiQD – Quantum dot manufacturer.
  2. Dig & Serve – Underground, pop-up dinning experiences with local food.
  3. BounceChat – Distance based messaging.

A bunch of Albuquerque startups went to SXSW again this year. The Sunport blog and Startup Spot with Sonja have some pre SXSW info on attending. While there Cultivating Coders, @CultivatingCoders, won the Tech.Co Startup of the Year award.

Check out all these local startup, follow them on social media and try out their products!

In other accelerator news, ABQid is accepting applications for their summer cohort until April 22nd and the first Haute CELERATOR program started March 1st, but continues to accept applications.

Another Demo Day…

…another date with my lovely wife. Wednesday, was Creative Startups demo day for their 2015 accelerator class. It was held at the Factory on 5th, an appropriate place for creative company demos and my wife’s home away from home at the Albuquerque Aerialist Collective.

As an aside my wife started a blog about returning to aerial acrobatics after pregnancy, check it out.

Albuquerque Business First has a nice write up of the introduction by Roxanne Blair and Gary Oppedahl.

The most impressive part was likely the report on the first Creative Startups class:

There were nine companies who gave quick 2 minute pitches about their company and they all had demos setup just past the free beer by Santa Fe Brewing!

The nine companies:

  • 12 FPS – A marketing company around more subtle advertising. I love the inspiration for their company name and logo.
  • Beyond Buckskin – A company selling curated fashion and jewelry designed by Native Americans.
  • FAR Botanicals – Natural body care products promoting truth in advertising.
  • Inmerssion – Virtual worlds and artificial intelligent art displays and games.
  • Mezel Mods – A Rio Rancho company making custom pinball accessories for the $100 million and growing pinball industry.
  • The Art of Revolution – Creating more engaging and meaningful campaigns for non-profit advertising.
  • The Right Margin – A unique web app designed for writers, by writers to make the book creation process better.
  • Ver Con Las Manos – Creating beautiful 3D works of art from famous pictures to help provide art for the visual impaired.
  • Walls Of Benin – African inspired PJs and clothing that provides benefits back to the African continent.

Eric Renz-Whitmore did several Periscope interviews with the companies you can view here:

Inmerssion – The Right Margin  FAR Botanicals


October Link Roundup

Here is just a bunch of links to great things in Albuquerque I thought I would share.

A lot of exciting things happening in Albuquerque, things just never calm down here come fall.


ABQ Solar Startup Launching Product

I have been following Plug.Solar since they won the ABQ Scrappy Startup competition and then won a pitch contest in SXSW. One of the reasons I have been following them is I believe (or hope) they will be the first success story to come out of the cities focus on startups and all the hard work and capital that has gone into building the innovation central. Hopefully, the first of many.

They have now launched their SunPort product on Kickstarter and are halfway through the campaign and 1/3rd of the way from being funded. If you haven’t checked it out go do so and considering supporting them. This is the chance for them to take the next leap for their company.

They have been rebranding a lot so it can be hard to find some of the information on their site, but I think the ATM example on this page is the best explanation. Hopefully the link won’t go bad. They also have an app for your phone (ios, android) which will use SunJoules to offset charging your phone.

In the feature picture I am charging my phone with a solar panel while using their app and offsetting it with SunJoules. I guess if we continue the ATM analogy that is like going to an ATM and then lighting all the cash on fire?

Check out the SunPort and their app, leave reviews, and support a local startup with a great idea trying to make it!


Live From Albuquerque

One of the new podcasts I have started listening to is the Brawling Brothers Board Game Podcast. It is a fun podcast, but one thing that really caught my attention was the intro. Go pick an episode and listen to the first 30 seconds.

I love this kind of thing. It is just a random fun promotion of Albuquerque in a positive light. It creates an association between Albuquerque -> Balloon Capital and Burquenos and board games.

If you enjoy board games go listen to the whole thing. It is an entertaining podcast and these guys seem to be an awesome part of the Albuquerque community. Although, parts of their podcast may be not safe for work.