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Garcia, Cassutt-Sanchez win Santa Fe City Council seats

SANTA FE — Michael J. Garcia and Jamie Cassutt-Sanchez will be joining the Santa Fe City Council, and Carmen Gonzales and Sarah Boses will be new faces on the Santa Fe school board, based on unofficial returns from Tuesday’s election.

In addition, Jody Pugh and Piér Quintana were elected to the five-member Governing Board of Santa Fe Community College.

Garcia won with more than 67% of the vote against Alysia Abbott for the east side District 2 City Council seat being vacated by Peter Ives, who served two four-year terms on the council. Garcia, 40, who works for AmeriCorps VISTA as a project manager, and Abbott, an archaeologist, were making their first runs for political office.

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Jamie Cassutt-Sanchez

In a race in which ranked-choice voting applied because there were more than two candidates, Cassutt-Sanchez, running against Xavier Anderson and Greg Scargall, got 57 percent first-choice votes. That negated any need for runoff rounds, in which the second choices of voters who preferred Anderson or Scargall would have come into play.

Cassutt-Sanchez, 34, with a background in health and wellness, replaces Mike Harris, who is not running for reelection, on the council in District 4.

Incumbent City Councilors Renee Villarreal in District 1 and Chris Rivera in District 3 were unopposed and retained their seats on the eight-member council.

Magistrate Judge Virginia Vigil also had no opponent and won a second four-year term.

The new city councilors and the judge will take their oaths of office in January, as will the new members of the school board.

Gonzales unseated Steven Carrillo, who served on the school board in school board District 1 — which includes precincts surrounding Atalaya, Acequia Madre, Chaparral, E.J. Martinez, Wood Gormley elementary schools and Santa Fe High School — for nearly eight years.

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Carmen Gonzales

Gonzales, who returned to her hometown after retiring as vice president for student success at New Mexico State University and who serves as Mayor Alan Webber’s education adviser, won with 64% of the overall vote against Carrillo.

In District 2 — which includes Amy Biehl and El Dorado community schools, Capshaw Middle School and Capital High School — Boses had 68% of the vote in her race against John Triolo.

Boses, 39, a registered nurse with two children attending El Dorado, will take Maureen Cashmon’s place on the five-member school board.

School board secretary Rudy Garcia, who also is a county commissioner, was unopposed in District 4, which covers schools on Santa Fe’s south side.

Quintana won in a three-way race for Position 5 on the Santa Fe Community College Governing Board.

Quintana had 39% of the vote, compared with 36% for Miguel A. Acosta and 25% for David Dannenberg.

In the Position 3 race, Pugh got 55% of the votes cast. The other candidate was Ruth Howes.

This was the first time that the municipal, SFPS school board and SFCC governing board elections were held on the same day. The Local Election Act passed last year moved the school board and governing board elections from the spring of even-numbered years to November of odd-numbered years.

The act aimed to increase voter turnout and reduce voter fatigue by consolidating elections.

But with several candidates running unopposed, no County Commission races on the ballot and lacking a high-profile race such as mayor, turnout for Tuesday’s election was relatively low.

Some Santa Fe County voters also voted to approve or reject a 2-mill property tax to fund vocational programs at Northern New Mexico College’s El Rito campus. Voters in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties living within the boundaries of the Pojoaque Valley, Española, Mesa Vista, Jemez Mountain and Chama school districts were favoring the tax by 62% to 38%, with almost all precincts reporting.

In Albuquerque’s City Council races, incumbents Trudy Jones and Pat Davis prevailed in their respective races. City Councilor Isaac Benton garnered 42% of the vote in his six-person race, but he was headed to a runoff with Zack Quintero because he did not get the necessary 50% of the vote. In Albuquerque’s District 4 council race, Brook Bassan and Ane Romero also appeared to be headed to a runoff.

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