ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Attorney Simon Kubiak and City Councilor Debbie O’Malley will face off this fall for the right to join the Bernalillo County Commission for a two-year term.
Kubiak won the Republican nomination without opposition Saturday during a meeting of the county Republican Party’s central committee. O’Malley won the Democratic nomination in the afternoon, over several other candidates, including attorney Sarita Nair and former City Councilor Miguel Gómez.
Kubiak and O’Malley are campaigning for the right to fill the unexpired term of Michelle Lujan Grisham, who resigned from the County Commission to focus on her run for Congress. The winner will take over in January to finish her term.
Lujan Grisham’s immediate successor, however, will be appointed by Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican. That person will serve through the end of the year.
Kubiak said he’s interested in the appointment and that he hopes Martinez takes into account his unanimous support in Saturday’s meeting. City Councilor Dan Lewis and County Commissioner Wayne Johnson supported his nomination, he said.
Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, represented commission District 1, which covers much of the West Side and North Valley.
Kubiak, an attorney who focuses on criminal defense and personal injury, ran and lost to Lujan Grisham two years ago. Kubiak lives on the West Side.
He said he would work to authorize the hiring of more sheriff’s deputies and address other public-safety needs.
Kubiak immediately on Saturday contrasted his position on the Paseo del Norte-Interstate 25 project with O’Malley’s, saying he would have voted for immediate authorization of city bonds for the project this summer. O’Malley, meanwhile, is one of three councilors who’ve held out for an election on the issue, which is required unless a supermajority of councilors approve the bonds.
Kubiak said he’d “do whatever it takes to immediately fund the Paseo-I-25 interchange and get it under way.”
O’Malley said she, too, supports the project but that voters ought to have their say. She said she supported dedicating the city’s entire $50 million bond proposal last year to Paseo, though other councilors ended up deciding to propose some of the money for a sports complex instead.
“I’m trying to get money for this,” she said.
O’Malley lives in the North Valley. She said she’d work hard to help neighborhoods on both sides of the river.