FARMINGTON — Nate Duckett, the city's new District 4 councilor, feels great.
"I just told all these people here how much I appreciate their belief in me," he said from Fire House Java & Cuisine on Tuesday night after unofficial results from the city clerk showed he had won. He was there with more than 20 of his supporters to wait for the election results.
"And now we take everyday one at a time," he said.
Duckett received 1,097 votes, and his opponent, Debra Mayeux, received 500.
"I credit my support group, I credit the people of Farmington," Duckett said, "and I look forward to the opportunity to serve my city."
Corey Freeman, Duckett's friend since they played high school football together, waited at the coffee shop Tuesday before the results were known. He said he voted for his friend because Duckett is a good leader. Duckett, he said, won't shy from issues on council.
Also, he said his friend is personable, smart and caring. "Very caring," Freeman said. "That would be the biggest thing. He really cares about his community, his friends. I look up to him."
Martin Bayless, another of Duckett's high school friends from their days of four-wheeling in the desert, couldn't vote for Duckett because he lived in the wrong district. But he supports Duckett, he said.
"Not to compare Nate to his predecessor — assuming he wins — but both of them were open-minded and willing to listen," he said. Bayless added that those qualities will make his friend a leader on a city council.
Duckett has lived on and off for 11 years in Farmington, and he has a wife, daughter and son. He owns Nathan Duckett Farmers Insurance Agency.
He has said his top priority as a councilor is to maintain communication with his constituents and build positive relationships on city council. He has also said he will work with local organizations, such as Four Corners Economic Development, to create a plan to bring more business to the city over then next 20 years.
"Service first," he said during the campaign, needs to be the city's motto. To improve city services and operations, staff should mail surveys to residents that are similar to those the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department mailed in early January, he has said.
Mayeux said she wanted to partner with her constituents, rather than lead them.
She said she is disappointed, but she accepted the possibility of losing when she filed. She compared campaigning to auditioning for a play.
"You're putting yourself out there to play a role, and this role is to help the community," she said. "It's up to the people to decide who they want to play that role."
During the campaign, Duckett said the city's — and region's — greatest challenge is long-term economic stability. The region could lose many high-paying jobs when San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant shut down some coal-fired units, so the city needs to support its existing business and "aggressively pursue" new industries, he said.
Duckett's campaign received $1,200 from Oil and Gas Corporation President Drew Degner, $1,000 from AutoMax General Manager Thomas Hawkins, $1,000 from Farmington firefighters and $750 from Councilor Gayla McCulloch's family, according to his finance reports. At $10,911.80, he received more contributions than any of the city's eight other candidates. He spent $10,476.58, according to the reports.
Mayeux received $5,338.66 in campaign contributions, and spent $4,387.77, according to her reports.
Before the votes were tallied, Duckett's 9-year-old daughter, Hannah, waited with her mom in the coffee house. She wasn't nervous, she said. She walked door-to-door with her dad and saw the support.
"I don't know how my dad couldn't win," she said.