Election 2014: Chase retains Division 4 magistrate judgeship

Steve Garrison
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Incumbent Democrat Trudy Chase beat challenger Melvin Sam, a Republican, for the Division 4 magistrate judgeship on Tuesday.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, with 5,110 votes cast, Chase won with 57 percent of the votes to Sam's 43 percent.

Neither Chase nor Sam could be reached immediately for comment.

Democrat Matthew Tso lost by an almost 2-to-1 margin to Republican Rena Scott for the Division 2 magistrate judgeship. With 3,129 votes cast, Scott had 67 percent to Tso's 33 percent.

Scott said that after 11 months of campaigning, she was ready for a rest.

"I am tired right now ... definitely going to sleep in on Saturday and watch some television with my grandkids," she said.

She said that she was looking forward to joining the bench at the Farmington Magistrate Court, filling a seat vacated by Judge Stanley King.

Tso did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chase, 37, has served since July as the presiding judge at Aztec Magistrate Court and was first elected to the bench in 2012. She formerly served as a social worker at the San Juan County Regional Medical Center.

Chase said she has developed a better understanding of the needs of local communities while serving on the bench and guarantees a fair hearing in her court.

Scott, 42, of Farmington, works as an independent living counselor in the Navajo Nation and has also served as president of a nonprofit agency that provides peer-based substance abuse treatment.

She said she believes in both rehabilitation and incarceration, but above all, her responsibility is to be impartial.

Four magistrate judge candidates were elected without opposition in Tuesday's election: Republican Connie Johnston in Division 1, Republican Mark Hawkinson in Division 3, Republican James Mosberger in Division 5 and Republican Barry Sharer in Division 6.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.