FARMINGTON — A few races in Tuesday's primary election could determine the ultimate winner — including who will be San Juan County sheriff — because the victors in those races will likely face no competition in the November general election.
Three Republicans are competing for the sheriff's job and there are no Democratic contenders.
"It's not finalized, I guess you would say, until the November election," County Clerk Debbie Holmes said. But unless a write-in candidate in the general election earns more votes than the winner of the primary, this election will determine who is the next sheriff, she said.
"It's important," she said, of this year's primary election.
Thirty-four polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today in Farmington, McGee Park, Aztec, Bloomfield, Shiprock, Blanco, Kirtland, Nenahnezad, Cedar Hill, La Plata, Gadii'ahi, Beclabito, Sanostee, Crystal, Two Grey Hills, Newcomb, Sheep Spring, Naschitti, Lake Valley, Nageezi, Huerfano and Burnham.
Only voters registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote in the primary election, Holmes said.
In the contested county races, primary voters will chose their party's candidate for District 1 county commissioner, a District 4 Public Regulation Commission member, divisions 1 and 2 magistrate judges, and state representatives for districts 1, 4, 5, 9 and 65, according to the county's sample ballot.
Contested races other than the sheriff's that could be decided today — barring a successful general election write-in candidacy — are Division 1 magistrate judge, District 4 Public Regulation Commission, and districts 5, 9 and 65 state representative, according to the sample ballot.
Contested state-wide races will determine the Republican candidate who will challenge U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, and the Democratic candidate who will challenge Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
To shorten the wait, voters can go to the county clerk's website to view each polling place's estimated wait time. Holmes said it will the first time the county is making that information available.