Newcomer ousts incumbent commissioner - Albuquerque Journal

Newcomer ousts incumbent commissioner

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

It looks like the Bernalillo County Commission will get a mini-makeover come January.

Eric Olivas

District 5 incumbent Charlene Pyskoty’s reelection bid appears to have fallen short as unofficial primary results show challenger Eric Olivas has upset her for the Democratic nomination.

Pyskoty’s loss means that the five-member commission will have two new members next year since there is also no incumbent in the running for District 1, the only other commission seat contested in the 2022 election cycle.

Olivas, a 31-year-old first-time political candidate who owns a small landscaping and plumbing company, amassed 53.3% of the vote compared to Pyskoty’s 46.7%. He will now advance to the Nov. 8 general election. Olivas said he’s confident his message will resonate with general election voters in a district that had traditionally leaned conservative prior to Pyskoty’s election.

District 5 is the county’s easternmost district, though its boundaries now stretch into Uptown Albuquerque following last year’s redistricting.

Judy Young

“I’m not somebody that’s extreme; I own a small business and I know what it’s like to sign the front and the back of a check, so I think I fit the district very well,” Olivas said Tuesday night. “… There’s a lot of working men and women here; I’m going to listen to them and talk to them about how we can work together on solutions.”

The outcome of the District 5 Republican primary was much closer.

Retired educator Judy Young earned 41.8% of the vote compared to mechanical engineer Wayne Yevoli’s 39%, according to unofficial results. Michael Eustice Jr. ran a distant third.

Young credited her sustained work in the community for powering her to primary victory, and said she feels she will appeal to both Republicans and Democrats now that she turns her attention to the general election.

“The most important thing that I will stand on is that I am under the people’s rule. … The people who control the commission are the public, so I will acquiesce to the public because the public is my boss,” she said Tuesday night.

Barbara Baca

In District 1 — which spans the North Valley out to the county’s western border — voters are deciding how to replace their current representative, Democrat Debbie O’Malley, who cannot run again due to term limits.

Barbara Baca on Tuesday emerged victorious in the district’s Democratic primary. A retired city administrator and daughter of a onetime county commissioner, Baca earned over 73% of the vote, according to unofficial results, easily outpacing Comcast employee Erin Muffoletto.

Baca advances to a general election race against Republican Michaela Chavez, who had no competition in the primary.

Elsewhere in county-level contests, Damian Lara defeated Stephen Sais in the Democratic primary for county assessor.

Damian R. Lara

Lara, a former deputy county assessor, amassed just over 60% of the vote, something he attributed to the vision he laid out for the office on the campaign trail.

No Republicans filed as candidates for assessor, meaning Lara would be unopposed in November unless an independent candidate or write-in candidate emerges.

After 20 years working in key support roles for other elected officials, Lara said Tuesday he looks forward to the opportunity to be the final decision-maker in the assessor’s office.

“It feels very humbling,” Lara said of the primary results. “I’m almost in shock and denial, I think.”

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