Hatch Mayor Andy Nuñez defeats 3 challengers to win re-election
LAS CRUCES - Hatch Mayor Andy Nuñez was re-elected to another four-year term in Tuesday's election, defeating three challengers, according to unofficial results.
Nuñez, 82, received 74 votes to win the four-way mayor's race, according to the results.
Nuñez, a Republican, was challenged by current Hatch trustee Roberto "Bobby" Torres, who received 25 votes; former trustee Lloyd Burns, who received 18 votes; and Linda S. Alvarez, who received 19 votes.
Hatch is a small community north of Las Cruces with roughly 1,600 residents that has been dubbed the "Chile Capital of the World."
The Sun-News was unable to reach Nuñez for comment on Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, James Lynn Whitlock and Casey C. Crist were elected to Hatch board of trustees. Whitlock received 106 votes, while Crist, a write-in candidate, received 19 votes, according to the unofficial results provided by the Hatch clerk's office.
Whitlock and Crist were the only two candidates seeking election to board of trustees. They will each serve a four-year term.
Nuñez, a former state legislator, was appointed mayor in April 2013 by the Hatch board of trustees after the death of Judd Nordyke, who died of cancer while in his third term as mayor.
Nuñez was elected mayor in March 2014, earning 61 percent of the vote to beat Burns, according to Sun-News archives. Later that year, Nuñez defeated state Rep. Phillip Archuleta to reclaim the District 36 seat in the state House of Representatives — a seat Nuñez had previously held for about 12 years.
Nuñez was first elected to the House in 2000 as a Democrat. But after a falling out with the party's leadership, he ran as an independent in 2012 but was defeated by Archuleta.
In 2016, Nuñez lost the District 36 seat to former Las Cruces city councilor Nathan Small.
The same year, Nuñez faced criticism, especially from progressives, over discrepancies in his state legislative campaign finance reports. Alvarez filed an ethics complaint with the Secretary of State's Office, alleging Nuñez had double-dipped and over-reimbursed himself from campaign funds.