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


ABQid Demo Day

Last Friday was the ABQid Demo Day and it was a packed house at the Epicenter. I rarely get to see these type of activities, but my wife let me use some of my paternity leave to check it out.

The energy and excitement of these events blows me away every time. The presenters, sponsors and audience create an atmosphere that makes it real easy to believe a lot of great things are happening and going to be happening in Albuquerque.

This event allowed the 10 companies from the second ABQid accelerator class to pitch their company in 6 minutes. They all did a great job on their pitches and I feel lucky to have gotten to watch this.

The Pitches

Equiseq (Paul Szauter) – I can’t remember where I first heard about Paul Szauter, but I have been interested in his technology since he first introduced it as ElectroSeq with the goal of $100 full DNA sequencing. I love biotech and DNA research, so I was particularly interested in his company. As much as I want to see $100 DNA sequencing, I think he made a great pivot into Equiseq to put his technology into a completely new field with horse breeding.

He did a great pitch to start off the demo day and if I had remembered to vote, I would have voted his the best. It may be my bias towards biotech, but I think he has the most potential of making a big impact with his company.

Equiseq, @Equisec1

Bounce Chat (Gordon Schaeffer) – Like biotech I am also a big fan of location based apps and augmented reality apps. Bounce Chat is a location based app where you can send out a message only to people who are within a set physical distance from you. I love the potential for this and one can easily picture it being a staple marketing item for events, conferences, parties, etc. My only problem with it is I can’t play with it. Like the similar startup Glif, it is IOS only so I can’t review it or promote it until it is on Android, but if you have an iPhone you can check out the app. They won the community vote.

BounceChat, @BounceChat

Close Threads, Trisha Terhar – Close Threads brings the boutique clothing market online. The goal is to allow small shop, custom atmosphere and allow them to compete online. You can sign up for early access at their website.

Close Threads, @CloseThreads

As Girls Grow, Akamee Baca – As Girls Grow is creating a subscription product that combines STEM lessons, with physical toys that demonstrate the lesson, and online stories and community to support it. It seems like a great model to get girls interested in engineering or for home schooling parents to teach STEM concepts. This is getting to be a crowded field with more and more subscription based STEM ideas, I recently subscribed to Hacker Boxes for myself and kids. Maybe the focus on girls will be their niche.

It seems a bit over the top though. The stories and characters and digital component to it seems like a lot of work without a lot of value added unless it truly works as a hook to get girls interested and staying with the product.

As Girls Grow, @AsGirlsGrow

Explore Media, Elan Coehlo – Their pitch was primarily about ARVRUS a 3D video player website that can be branded by companies. It seems that this was and idea they made or refined at the accelerator and what they are looking for as the massive growth part. From the pitch (and their website) they are doing a lot of virtual reality stuff without a specific focus (until now?). I was left with more questions about the company than excitement for the company based on the pitch and unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick around to talk to them or see their VR headsets. There is a VR Cafe event as part of Tech Fiesta this year. It is September 14, at Stereo Bar and looks like a fun event.

Explore Media, @ExploreMedia360, ARVRUS

iTherapyDocs, Lisa Brow – They are looking to provide software to for companies billing to Medicaid that ensure the proper documentation and paperwork are submitted so companies get properly paid and not accused for fraud. Seems like a hard problem navigating the laws and requirements. It was a great pitch, even if it isn’t exactly an exciting problem to solve.

iTherapyDocs, @iTherapyDocs

OAC Gallery, Sarah Biondi – A simple concept: buy art online. There is a lot of potential with deals with interior decorators and designers. I wonder if production companies and home stagers would find it useful also. If they can get a reputation with the type of companies that need high quality, matching artwork quickly, then they could build strong reputation. It is already up and running, check it out.

OAC Gallery, @OACGallery

Pressure Analysis Company, Michelle Urban – This is an exciting company, basically they have a cap worn on the head to detect impact, record it, and produce analytics on athletes. I haven’t heard of them before, but they have quickly become one of my favorite startups and one I hope to watch. It is easy to picture a world in 5 or 10 years where football, from the NFL to high school, require independent monitoring of player head impacts. You could also picture a world where a college athlete could provide all their analytics for every impact they had to NFL scouts and those that don’t were considered riskier draft picks. There are lots of scenarios where there is a need for tens of thousands of cranium impact monitors and the accompanied data storage and analysis.

The thing I love the most how much of a product of UNM this is. The tech was created and licensed by UNM to a UNM alumni creating the company and testing being done with the UNM Lobos and Duke City Gladiators. This is just a great example of all the pieces, so far, coming together to build a company with a lot of potential.

Pressure Analysis Company, @ePACtech

sheSPIRE, Renay Moya – I was not terribly excited about this startup. It seemed like personal mentorship wasn’t something that could scale to be a large profitable company. However, Renay gave the most passionate and personal presentation of all the pitches. She did an amazing job and I can now see the growth potential where sheSPIRE is a combination of eHarmony + LinkedIn for connecting those in need of a mentor with a personalized mentorship. Explained that way it is easy to see how it can position itself for rapid growth.

sheSPIRE, @sheSpire

Teeniors, Trish Lopez – Teeniors was the second most personal speech and a great example of how this company creation process in Albuquerque can work. I mentioned earlier this year that Teeniors won the Startup Women’s Weekend. From there they kept the idea alive and were accepted into the ABQid program and now they have come out with it with a company that has clients and is growing. Teeniors connects teenage mentors with seniors that need personal help with technology or computers. I am not sure how this scales as a company, there does not seem to have any potential for high growth. That said, I think Teeniors could be one of the most important companies for changing Albuquerque for the better. It is certainly the one I want to see succeed the most.

Trish told the stories of the seniors and teenagers who had been paired together and it is amazing to picture how life changing and how meaningful to the teenagers and to the seniors something a company like this can be. It feels such an amazing emotional niche. Teens who want to be respected, helpful, useful, appreciated and valued. Seniors, who need help with technology and a personal connection or time with people. I am really excited to see if they can connect teens and seniors on a much larger scale.

Teeniors, @Teeniors

So far I haven’t found any videos of Demo Day, but there were lots of people filming so I am hoping to start to appear soon.

The next chance to watch pitches in Albuquerque is at Pitch Fiesta 4.0 on September 17th,

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.

Helping to Build Startups in Albuquerque

There has been a huge showing of support and enthusiasm for creating a successful startup culture here in Albuquerque. The primary reason I made this blog is that I saw all these people contributing and making things happen and the excitement washed over me as well. I want to do whatever I can to help make Albuquerque a top place for startups.

Albuquerque as a ‘startup city’ is going to be judged based on how many startups are created and how many are successfully funded, but not everyone can create a company and even less can fund one. Here is a list of ideas I came up with about what we can all do to help.

Go to Tech Events 

The easiest event to attend is 1 Million Cups. It happens every Wednesday and they have two local companies present. You get learn about them and how the community can help the company.

The Albuquerque Tech Fiesta happens in September and is packed with exciting events. TedX and the Mini Maker Faire usually bookend the week.

Attend a startup weekend, hackathon, or other pitch festival which provides an entire weekend of excitement (and dedication).

Keep an eye open for other events. There always seems to be something exciting happening, like the Hour of Code event, a TedX Salon or a new startup launching.

These events are better with more people and will continue to grow as interest increase. The best part is how much you will learn, the amazing people you will meet and the fun you will have.

Join a Local Club

There are a lot of tech an entrepreneur groups that have formed. QueLab, Hautepreneurs, ABQ Web Geeks, and Open Hack (which is looking for a new place to meet), are just a few. Some are free, some aren’t, but they won’t exist without people joining them.


I think every event and group above is volunteer run, so they of course need volunteers to run these programs. Shameless plug forthcoming – I am looking for volunteers to help setup a Coder Dojo in Albuquerque as well.

Use Local Products

Most people know about the shopping local and the small business campaigns and how they benefit the community more than shopping at a chain. However, I don’t think most of us think about that when it comes to a lot of the other products we use, particularly websites and apps.

For example, if you are setting up a business and need a POS System? Try Lavu. Want a dose of local news? Before checking out Google news or Buzzfeed, see what is on NewsCastic. If you are setting up an event and need ticketing see if HoldMyTicket works over one of the others.

Give Local Website and Apps a Try

Even if you don’t think you will use them give the products a try. In most cases they are free and simply using the app could help. That is one more unique impression on a website or one more download. They add up. Leave a review on an app store and it is even better.

Send feedback and provide constructive criticism. You get to be in a unique position to help them shape the product. New products always need beta tests, Plug.Solar is running a beta right now.

Talk about Startsups

Tell your friends of family about a startup product or job that might interest them. Spread the excitement and be constructive with criticism. Great things are happening here.