In a battle of first-time political candidates, Republican George “Walt” Benson has defeated Democrat Wende Schwingendorf in the race to represent District 4 on the Bernalillo County Commission.
Benson, 44, an Albuquerque native who owns a waste management business and two Albuquerque ice cream shops, earned 51.6% of the votes cast to Schwingendorf’s 48.4%, according to unofficial results.
Benson has run on a platform that includes addressing crime, and has said that fixing those problems could help keep talented New Mexicans from fleeing to other states.
Benson will represent District 4, which includes parts of Northeast Albuquerque and the West Side. The district’s current commissioner, Lonnie Talbert, could not run again due to term limits.
Democrats Steven Michael Quezada, an incumbent, and Adriann Barboa, a progressive activist, also won their commission races this year. They each prevailed in their June primary and faced no Republican opposition on this fall’s ballot.
The three winners join Debbie O’Malley and Charlene Pyskoty — Democrats who secured their seats in the 2018 election — to fill out the five-member commission.