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FARMINGTON — Three Republicans are running to serve as magistrate judge for Division 1.

There are no Democratic or Libertarian party candidates, however, write-in, minor party or third-party candidates could file candidacy paperwork in late June.

The magistrate court handles cases involving landlord-tenant rights and traffic violations. The judge also presides over preliminary felony hearings. Magistrate judges sign off on search and arrest warrants for law enforcement officers. The incumbent candidate, Erich Cole, was appointed earlier in December and took the oath of office earlier this year to serve as magistrate judge for Division 1.

ELECTION GUIDE: San Juan County primary elections: What you need to know

Erich F. Cole

Cole has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Kaplan University in Chicago. He moved to Farmington to work as a pilot for Mesa Airlines. He has also served as a real estate broker and worked in the oil field safety industry. He joined the Farmington Police Department in 2011. Cole has also served as president of Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico.

Gary McDaniel

McDaniel formerly served as a magistrate judge after being appointed to the position in 2012. He has also served as a municipal judge in Aztec. He has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in San Juan County and has a bachelor’s degree in police science from New Mexico State University. McDaniel is a retired San Juan County Sheriff’s Office deputy. He also has experience working in the oil and gas industry, teaching at the high school level and working a farm and ranch near Bloomfield.

Frank Ernest Dart

Dart began working as a child advocate for abuse victims while in high school. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked for Farmington Police Department for about 18 years. Dart retired from the police department in 2013. During his time at the police department, Dart focused on investigating reports of child sexual abuse.  

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