2020 New Mexico primaries: Doña Ana County Commission districts 2 and 4 contested

Michael McDevitt
Las Cruces Sun-News
Voting polls open up at the Doña Ana County Government Center in Las Cruces on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

This story was updated at 9:35 a.m. May 27 to include information on District 5 candidate Robert Bruce Flora.

LAS CRUCES - Three Doña Ana County Commission seats are up for election this cycle. The New Mexico primaries are June 2, but early and absentee voting is ongoing now.

District 2

Commissioner Ramon Gonzalez is running for a second term, having been elected in 2016. Gonzalez served as the first mayor of Anthony, N.M., after its incorporation in 2010. He taught for 44 years with the Gadsden Independent School District.

Gonzalez said he's helped get roads paved within District 2, tried to secure funding for wastewater projects for colonias and on an episode of the radio show "Speak Up, Las Cruces," he took credit for pipeline owner Kinder Morgan paying to relocate some district residents after an oil spill near Berino.

Doña Ana County Commissioner Ramon S. Gonzalez at the commissioners' meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

Gonzalez said he supported the restructuring of the county fire district to better comply with insurance standards.

Challenging him in the Democratic primary is current Anthony Mayor Diana Murillo-Trujillo. She is an advocate for youth mentorship and people with disabilities. She said during her tenure as mayor she helped improve streets, drainage and recreational activities by working with the board of trustees to pass Anthony's first Quality of Life General Obligation Bond.

Murillo-Trujillo faced legal action in 2016 from three former city employees who alleged she misused public funds and resources and then retaliated against them, forcing them out of jobs. At the time, the mayor called the allegations "misinformation because nobody has been terminated."

Diana Murillo-Trujillo, the mayor of Anthony, talks about the programs in the city that take kids into the Organ Mountain Desert Peak National Monuments for field trips, Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at a press conference announcing the results of a poll asking the public about their thoughts on the OMDP national monument.

When reached by the Sun-News May 23, Murillo-Trujillo maintained she did nothing wrong and said the case has been settled.

There are no Republican or Libertarian candidates running for the seat.

District 2 includes the county's borders with Texas and Mexico, including the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. It also includes Sunland Park, Anthony, plus the unincorporated communities of Chaparral, Santa Teresa, La Union and Chamberino.

Some primary candidates for the crowded Doña Ana County Commission District 4 race. From top left: Sam Bradley, Debra Hathaway, Susana Chaparro, Richard Reynaud.

District 4

The District 4 race is crowded. Three Republicans, three Democrats and a Libertarian are vying to win the seat that will be vacated by Commissioner Isabella Solis, who recently switched from Democrat to Republican. Solis is choosing to forgo a second term to instead run for state representative in District 37.


  • Sam Bradley:Bradley is a former professor, former Sun-News sports editor and former news director of Adams Radio Group of Las Cruces. He was accused of inappropriate relationships with students when he taught at Texas Tech University, but he has disputed that university's investigation. Bradley has said New Mexico's budget needs to reduce its oil dependency and is running to improve roads, grow small business and increase health care access.
  • Susana Chaparro: Chaparro is a former county magistrate judge and now owns a court interpreting and trial consulting firm. She's also board president of domestic violence shelter La Casa Inc. Chaparro is running to improve infrastructure, increase renewable energy usage and invest more in police and emergency services. During her time as a judge she faced allegations she used her position on behalf of some family members. She later resigned and agreed never again to seek judicial office. She has said she made some mistakes but said some of the allegations are false.
  • Debra Hathaway: Hathaway is a retired U.S. Army Civilian and is currently vice president of the Doña Ana County Federation of Democratic Women. She's also worked in the nonprofit sector. Hathaway is running on a platform that includes a living wage, affordable education, access to health care and a sustainable and clean local economy.


  • Buck Bonner: The Sun-News was unable to reach Bonner at the phone number he filed with. State Libertarian Party chair Chris Luchini told the Sun-News they've had the same problem.


  • Stacie Michelle Durham: Durham is an Organ resident who recently graduated from New Mexico State University after she said she went back to school. On an episode of the radio show "Speak Up, Las Cruces," Durham said she thinks increasing the number of roadways to small communities of District 4 could help spur economic development.
  • Jesus O. Oropeza:Oropeza is a Las Cruces resident and an entrepreneur who does house flipping and home remodeling. Oropeza said he's a U.S. Navy Veteran and he's running to improve local roads, which he said is key to bringing more business to the district. He told "Speak Up, Las Cruces" he was against gun control and said he wanted to create more ways people can see county commission meetings online on or television.
  • Richard Reynaud: Reynaud worked at White Sands Missile Range and now runs a small business that provides stormwater pollution prevention plans for local construction projects. He opposes the state's red flag gun law, wants to strengthen the powers of federal immigration authorities and disagrees with the state's $12 minimum wage law. Reynaud dislikes identity politics. He wrote in his campaign announcement, "Social Justice is nearly indistinguishable from Socialism."

District 4 includes the East Mesa, Hacienda Acres, Organ, Moongate and the eastern part of Las Cruces.

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District 5

Commissioner Manuel Sanchez, a Democrat, is running to keep his appointed seat. Sanchez was appointed commissioner by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to fill a vacancy in spring 2019.

Doña Ana County Commissioner Manuel Sanchez, center, speaks out front of a U.S. Border Patrol Station in Las Cruces on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Flanking from, from left, are U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-NM, and New Mexico Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena, D-Mesilla.

Sanchez said his achievements include helping get a local veteran benefits he deserved and new access to bus service for northern county residents. If reelected, he's focused on bringing more business to the county, retaining graduates, increasing green energy and improving the standard of living in colonias, many of which lie within District 5.

More primary races of interest:

Challenging Sanchez on the Republican side is Robert Bruce Flora. Flora grew up in Missouri and served for 20 years in the U.S. Air Force both stateside and overseas in technical roles. Later he worked at New Mexico State University as an electronics technician for 19 years. Flora has lived in Radium Springs for 25 years.

He's running on a platform to bolster small business and jobs, maintain public safety and make county government open and transparent.

District 5 makes up the northwest portion of the county and includes Hatch, Rincon, parts of Radium Springs and the northwest edges of Las Cruces.

Michael McDevitt can be reached at 575-202-3205, mmcdevitt@lcsun-news.com or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.