Padilla, Randall surge to victory in Aztec elections

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Voters cast ballots, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Aztec.

AZTEC — Incumbent City Commissioner Austin Randall and former mayor Michael Padilla Sr. have been elected to serve new four-year terms.

Three of the four City Commission candidates waited at the City Hall for the results to be posted on March 3. They were joined by family members and the current city commissioners as well as the municipal judge candidate.

Padilla defeated his opponent, Jessica Polatty, with a comfortable 411 vote lead. He received 615 votes while Polatty received 204, according to unofficial numbers that were hung on the wall of Aztec City Hall after the polls closed.

"I feel good about it," Padilla said after seeing the results. "I really do. I'm looking forward to working for the city."

He said he is excited to be back on the City Commission after choosing not to seek reelection after serving two terms in the 1990s.

Padilla said he appreciated that the race was a good race and didn't result in candidates badmouthing each other.

Meanwhile, Randall had a 388 vote lead over his challenger, David Porter. Unofficial numbers show Randall receiving 552 votes while Porter received 164. Mary LaRue Hunter received 84 votes. She had dropped out of the race, but her name still appeared on the ballots.

"I hope I'm doing something right," Randall said.

He said he will work to keep the city going in the right direction.

Municipal Judge Carlton Gray won another term in an uncontested race. He received 618 votes.

Aztec restaurants will also soon be allowed to serve alcohol on Sundays. The question was placed on the ballot for voters to decide on and passed on a vote of 542 favoring Sunday sales and 270 in opposition.

Aguirre, Walter win seats on Bloomfield City Council

Aztec was one of three San Juan County municipalities that chose to have its municipal elections on March 3. Bloomfield and Kirtland also had elections.

David Aguirre and George Walter will be serving as the newest members of the Bloomfield City Council. Unofficial numbers from the Bloomfield City Clerk's office show Aguirre receiving 204 votes while Walter received 194. The third candidate, Tony Herrera, received 147 votes.

Meanwhile, Tom Wethington will be the next mayor of Kirtland and Alex Uhl will serve on the town Board of Trustees. Both candidates ran unopposed.

Aztec experiences high voter turnout

Voter turnout in Aztec had surpassed the 2018 municipal election by more than 100 voters before polls even opened on Election Day, and a steady flow of voters visited Aztec City Hall throughout the day to cast their ballots.

Nearly 450 people voted early during the weeks leading up to the election. The 2018 election saw 332 people vote in Aztec and the 2016 election saw fewer than 500 ballots cast in the city, according to The Daily Times archives.

By noon the voter turnout — including the early voters — was nearing 600. By the time the polls closed at 7 p.m., that number had exceeded 800. 

The ballot in Aztec included two commission seats as well as the municipal judge. It also asked residents if they want to allow restaurants to sell alcohol on Sundays. 

A sample ballot hangs on the door of Aztec City Hall, Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

Farmington chose to have its elections coinciding with other nonpartisan elections in 2021.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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