Javier Gonzales, former state Democratic Party chairman, won a substantial majority Tuesday to become Santa Fe’s new mayor, while voters in Rio Rancho will have to return to the polls next month to decide a runoff for mayor and one council seat.
Gonzales took more than 43 percent of the vote in the three-way Santa Fe race that also included City Councilors Bill Dimas and Patti Bushee. Dimas and Bushee will retain their council seats as Gonzales takes over as mayor.
“This campaign was never about me, it was about us,” Gonzales told supporters late Tuesday night. He thanked incumbent mayor David Coss and a host of past and present city councilors who supported him.
“I stand before you humble … I am ready to accept the responsibility and honor of being your mayor,” Gonzales said as cheers of “Javier” filled the crowded ballroom at the Hotel Santa Fe.
In Rio Rancho, Greggory D. Hull and Mike Williams will face off in the mayoral race because neither was able to get the required 50 percent of total votes cast.
“We are not disappointed with the results,” Hull said, adding that he plans to continue to run a strong campaign.
Williams, a longtime city resident, said the runoff will give voters a choice between “someone who has had their heart in the city for 29 years or someone who has just moved here.”
Hull, a former city resident, had been living on the West Side of Albuquerque for several years before moving back to Rio Rancho in July.
The other mayoral candidates were former Rio Rancho Mayor Jim Owen and R. Morgan Braden.
In the Rio Rancho District 5 council race, incumbent Timothy Crum lost his bid for re-election. The runoff will be between Shelby Smith and Thomas R. Buckner. District 3 incumbent Tamara L. Gutierrez fell to challenger Cheryl Ann Everett by a slim margin. In District 2, Dawnn Robinson was the clear winner, defeating Darlene D. Collins and Sandra Jean Atwood.
In the municipal judge race, incumbent G. Robert Cook held on to his position, beating Ramon M. Montaño and Jeffrey A. Goen.
Rio Rancho City Clerk Steve Ruger has said the likely date for the runoff election is April 15, but the date will have to be set by the City Council.
In Santa Fe, voters approved all nine proposed amendments to the city charter, including the so-called “strong mayor” proposal to make the job full-time with more pay, more power and more responsibility. Also approved were allowing the mayor to vote on all items before the council, instead of just to break a tie; creating independent auditing and council redistricting boards; and establishing “the rights of all to earn a living wage.”
In other New Mexico election results:
• Corrales: Scott Kominiak won the mayoral race, beating Christine Allen, according to unofficial results. Kominiak will replace Phil Gasteyer, who ran for the District 3 council seat with no challenger. Incumbent Ennio Garcia-Miera held on to his council seat in District 1, and District 4 incumbent John Alsobrook held on to his. Voters rejected both bond questions relating to the wastewater collection line.
• Bernalillo: Mayor Jack Torres ran unopposed. Councilor Dale Prairie held on to his seat and Ernestina Dominguez will take the seat left vacant by Santiago Montoya, who is stepping down.
• Tijeras: Town Council incumbent Tina King was defeated by a single vote by newcomer Jake Bruton. Also, incumbent councilor Felix Garcia defeated David Wilson.
• Edgewood: Incumbent Councilors Chuck Ring and Rita Loy Simmons held on to their seats. Voters also approved two bonds, one for $67,000 toward construction of an animal control shelter and $3 million for improving roads.
• Estancia: The town’s next mayor will be Ted Helsley, who defeated Anthony Master. In the council race, current trustee Cory Dryden and J. Morrow Hall will be seated on the board for four-year terms. In the municipal judge race, Bruce Dile defeated Ronald Saavedra.
• Moriarty: Kimberly Garcia and Larry Gallant won four-year terms on the council.