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Hull, Williams in runoff; 2 incumbents lose seats

Mayoral candidate Morgan Braden, right, was in front of Meadowlark Senior Center Tuesday morning, seeking votes. With him were Virgil Pease, holding a Jim Owen sign, and Jean Montoya, with a Cheryl Everett sign. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)
Mayoral candidate Morgan Braden, right, was in front of Meadowlark Senior Center Tuesday morning, seeking votes. With him were Virgil Pease, holding a Jim Owen sign, and Jean Montoya, with a Cheryl Everett sign. (Rio Rancho Observer—GARY HERRON photo)
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Gregg Hull and Mike Williams are headed to a runoff to determine the city of Rio Rancho’s next mayor, while Shelby Smith and Thomas Buckner will battle it out in a runoff for the city council seat in District 5, according to unofficial election results Tuesday night.

Incumbent Tim Crum appeared to lose his bid for re-election in District 5, finishing third in the four-way race, while Cheryl Everett apparently edged out incumbent Tamara Gutierrez in District 3 by 11 votes.

Dawnn Robinson emerged the winner in the three-way race for the District 2 City Council seat.

Meanwhile, in the only other citywide race, incumbent Robert Cook was re-elected to a second term as municipal judge, easily outdistancing his two opponents.

The city requires a runoff 35 to 45 days after the election canvass if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the total votes cast in his or her race.

City Clerk Stephen Ruger is expected to recommend a runoff date of April 15 when the council decides when to schedule the runoff at its March 12 meeting, city spokesman Peter Wells said.

Voter turnout was 12 percent this year, the same as during mayoral election of 2010, according to figures provided by the city. It was 10 percent in the municipal election for three city council seats in 2012.

Hull, Williams comment

Hull, a political newcomer in Rio Rancho, received 43 percent of all votes cast for the four candidates in this year’s mayoral race. Williams, a former city councilor and mayor, received 30 percent.

Hull said late Tuesday he’s highly confident about his chances in the runoff, given his 13 percent edge over Williams on Election Day.

“We had it in our plans that the odds were high there was going to be a runoff,” Hull said. “At this point we need to kind of put our game plan together and execute.”

Williams, in an interview, said he thinks he can overtake Hull.

“I think it’ll be no problem when … people realize you’ve got a candidate who’s been here 29 consecutive years and has had his heart in the city volunteering in positions, as opposed to someone who comes from outside the city and wanting the top executive job,” he said.

News reports surfaced late in the campaign that Hull moved back to Rio Rancho from Albuquerque last summer, shortly before announcing his candidacy.

Williams said he hopes the council doesn’t set the runoff for April 15, tax return day.

Former Mayor Jim Owen received 14 percent of the mayoral vote. C. Morgan Braden received 13 percent of the votes for mayor.

Council races details

The District 3 council race was the only two-candidate race in this year’s election, with Everett ousting Gutierrez with 51 percent of the vote. Gutierrez received 58 percent against Denny Muzzey when she was elected to the post in 2010.

Robinson took 54 percent of the vote for District 2, according to unofficial results, preventing a runoff against either newcomer Darlene Collins, who had 32 percent, or businesswoman Sandra Atwood, who had 14 percent.

In District 5, Smith, a former police officer and Navy SEAL, was the top vote-getter, receiving 33 percent of the vote. Buckner finished with 26 percent, edging out Crum, who had 25 percent, by six votes. Business owner Paul Howell received 16 percent.

Crum ran unopposed for his city council seat in 2010.

Municipal judge race

Cook returns to the municipal court bench with almost 60 percent of the vote, defeating Ramon Montaño, a former Las Vegas, N.M., school board member, who had 24 percent, and former police officer Jeffrey Goen, who had 16 percent.

City of Rio Rancho Municipal Election 2014 Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election: (Winners/runoff participants in red)

Mayor

Greggory Hull ……………………………………3,010

Michael Williams………………………………..2,057

R. Morgan Braden…………………………………872

Jim Owen……………………………………………986

City Council, District 2

Dawnn Robinson…………………………………..507

Darlene Collins…………………………………….302

Sandra Atwood…………………………………….129

City Council, District 3

Tamara Gutierrez (incumbent)………………….496

Cheryl Everett………………………………………507

City Council, District 5

Thomas Buckner…………………………………..286

Timothy Crum (incumbent)………………………280

Shelby Smith……………………………………….370

Paul Howell…………………………………………181

Municipal Judge

Ramon Montaño…………………………………1,540

Jeffrey Goen………………………………………1,049

G. Robert Cook (incumbent)…………………..3,844

Source: Rio Rancho City Clerk’s Office

 

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