Emeterio Rudolfo, 44, is the Democrat candidate and Daylene Marsh, 54, is the Republican candidate to be judge in Division 6 of the Eleventh Judicial District Court, which includes San Juan and McKinley counties.
Marsh was born in Cortez, Colo. and has practiced law for 22 years. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Denver and a law degree from Texas Southern University.
She moved to Farmington seven years ago to work as an assistant district attorney in the office's drug division.
Rudolfo is from Albuquerque and received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of New Mexico. He has lived in Farmington for 15 years with his wife and two daughters.
Rudolfo practiced law in Albuquerque for two years and moved to Farmington and founded the Rudolfo Law Office in 1997.
"I wanted the opportunity to have more high-profile and complex cases," he said.
The Division 6 seat was vacant for about six months after District Judge Thomas Hynes retired before his term was ended.
Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Marsh in September.
Since she was appointed to the bench, Marsh said she has primarily presided over juvenile criminal cases and domestic cases, such as divorces.
Rudolfo said he didn't seek the governor's appointment because he wanted to focus on his campaign and his current clients.
"Once I become judge, I will to devote my time to it," he said.
By accepting the governor's appointment instead of focusing on her campaign, Marsh said it shows voters she's committed.
"I owe the taxpayers to be serious about my position," she said.
Marsh said her advantage is that she's defended and prosecuted suspects.
Prior to moving to Farmington, Marsh had her own general-practice firm in Galveston County in Texas.
"When you go into a courtroom you see two tables, and I've sat at both tables in my career," Marsh said. "I won't have a one-sided point of view."
Marsh is a Sergeant in the New Mexico National Guard and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. She is still active and works a weekend a month in the guard.
She served two tours in Iraq while an assistant district attorney.
Rudolfo pointed to his experience handling serious court cases across the state and his strong ties to the Farmington community as a reason to vote for him.
He has defended clients in five murder trials, including one death-penalty case, he said.
In addition to working as an attorney, Rudolfo is on the board of directors of the Boy's and Girl's Clubs of Farmington, he's served on the Farmington Community Relations Commission and Farmington and San Juan College labor boards. He's also volunteered at his church and his daughters' schools.
"I think those things show that I care about our community," Rudolfo said. "I think civic-mindedness is important. I have that quality and I've demonstrated it over the years."
Rudolfo said good judges must have a desire to learn and to be fair. He said working as both a defense attorney and prosecutor is not mandatory.
"If you demonstrate a good work ethic and a conscientious approach to your job, than whatever role you are in you are going to work just as hard," Rudolfo said. "I have vast experience in courtrooms around the state. I feel that has exposed me to different areas of law and different judges. And that experience has allowed me to understand what it entails to be a good or great judge."