Gary McDaniel, Reed’s Republican opponent who had been appointed to the position by Gov. Susana Martinez, had led early in the polls, with a larger number of absentee and early voting ballots than Reed.
But it was Reed, with a final tally of 3,161 votes, or nearly 52 percent, that assured the Navajo candidate the magistrate position, which she expects to fill in January.
Reed, 35, is a member of the Navajo Nation. Magistrate Judge Division 4 represents county residents south of the San Juan River and includes parts of Bloomfield and Navajo Nation.
Reed, who works as a social worker for San Juan Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, said she hopes to use the magistrate judge position to effectively help people in need.
“I was born in Farmington and grew up in Kirtland,” Reed said when reached by phone Wednesday. “And it is my particular path I’ve led and with my passion and character that I want to help people. My heart has always been in it, to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Reed’s commitment to character and purpose informed - and buoyed - her campaign, she said.
“Mr. McDaniel called me this morning to congratulate me,” Reed said.
“We told each other all during the race, ‘This is a show of our character.’ We ran clean campaigns and I only have nice things to say about Gary.”
Reed said her social-worker skills will transfer effectively to the judge position.
“I believe there’s a strong correlation between the two jobs,” she said. “Being an active listener — to listen to the person before you, to assess the issue, how you can help, to identify what environmental conditions are having an effect — is critical. Despite our technology, we can lose sight of that.”
Asked whether winning her first campaign for elected office posed any particular challenges, Reed projected a confident tone.
“Come January, I will be ready,” she said. “I had my doubts from time to time, but my family, my education, my Christian faith — my path — provide a foundation I will use to make a difference in San Juan County.”