With all of the 69 polling places reporting, incumbent Judge Jason Greenlee, recommended by the bipartisan Judicial Nominating Commission and appointed by the governor in 2013, was defeated by Kenny Montoya, now a private attorney who spent nine years as head of the New Mexico National Guard.
The primary decides the race because no Republican filed for the post.
Montoya pulled an unofficial total of 13,822 votes, or 51.24 percent, to Greenlee’s 13,153 votes, representing 48.76 percent of the vote.
Newly appointed Children’s Court Judge Marie Ward won despite challenges from two experienced attorneys, Sandy Barnhart y Chavez and Harold Atencio in the Democratic primary.
She had a nearly 400-vote lead, with 11,738 votes to 11,349 for her closest challenger, Barnhart y Chavez.
Ward, a former Family Court hearing officer, was one of four names submitted to the governor by the Judicial Nominating Commission for a vacancy. She was appointed to the 2nd Judicial District Court position March 7 by the governor.
Barnhart y Chavez, an attorney on leave from Children, Youth and Families Department, came up with 40 percent of the vote and Ward with 41.4 percent. Atencio, a specialist in adoption law, came in third with 18 percent.
Ward will face former District Judge Samuel Winder, a Republican, in the general election.
Attorney Jill Martinez maintained a nearly 2-to-1 lead over Joshua Boone in the Democratic primary for a chance to run against incumbent Republican Metropolitan Court Judge John Duran in the November general election.
Incumbent Probate Judge Misty Willow Parks bested her primary opponent Dominic Levi Lafayette in the Democratic race and will keep her job since no Republican filed for the part-time position.