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AZTEC — Rep. Rod Montoya, R-Farmington, predicts a strong group of GOP candidates will seek seats in the state House of Representatives and Senate this year. He said there will be Republican candidates in 100 of the 112 races for state Legislature positions.

“We have a real shot to win back the House or the Senate,” he said while filing his paperwork on March 10.

By the end of filing day, about 50 Republican candidates had filed for state Senate seats, and only two Senate races did not have a Republican candidate. More than 60 Republicans had filed for seats on the House of Representatives, and about 10 races did not have Republican candidates.

Meanwhile, approximately 70 Democratic candidates filed for House of Representatives seats, and a dozen races did not have Democratic candidates. On the Senate side, about 50 Democratic candidates filed paperwork and fewer than 10 races did not have a Democratic candidate. 

Montoya is hopeful that controversial policies pushed through the Legislature and signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over the past two years will lead to higher Republican voter turnout and help flip at least one branch of the Legislature from Democratic to Republican.

Candidates filed to have their names on the June 2 primary election ballots on March 10 at county clerk offices throughout the state. A full list of candidates can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Sharer, Neville unopposed for Senate District 1 and 2

Two incumbent state senators from Farmington remain unopposed as they seek re-election.

Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, has served as the senator from District 1 since 2001 and Sen. Steve Neville, R-Farmington, has represented District 2 since 2005. 

Three Democrats, one Republican file for State Senate District 3 

Shannon Pinto, a Democratic senator from Tohatchi, was appointed to the position last year after being nominated by the San Juan County Commission to take her grandfather’s seat as the state senator from District 3 following Sen. John Pinto’s death. She now hopes to be elected to the seat, but she will face at least one challenger in the primary election.

Shiprock resident Dineh Benally has also filed for the Democratic nomination, as has Gamerco-resident Shawn Nelson.

The winner will face Fruitland resident Arthur Allison in the general election. Allison is the sole Republican candidate. 

Two Democratic candidates, two Republicans file for Senate District 4

Noreen Ann Kelly of Church Rock is challenging incumbent Sen. George Muñoz of Gallup in the Democratic Party primary election on June 2.

Meanwhile, Milan resident Samuel Garcia Jr. is running against Angela Ruth Olive of Gallup in the Republican Party primary election.

Rio Rancho Republican challenges Shendo for Senate District 22

Republican Susan Aguayo has filed paperwork to run for the seat currently held by Sen. Benny Shendo Jr., D-Jemez Pueblo. She will face Shendo in the November general election.

House districts 1-3 have only one candidate each 

Montoya represents District 1 on the House of Representatives and serves as the House minority whip. He has been a member of the House since 2015. No one filed candidacy paperwork to challenge Montoya. 

The District 2 representative, Rep. James Strickler, R-Farmington, also will run unopposed in this year's primary election and likely will not have any challengers in November. 

Meanwhile, the District 3 seat will not have an incumbent candidate. Attorney and businessman T. Ryan Lane is seeking the Republican nomination for District 3. He currently serves as Bloomfield’s city attorney, and his family owns the popular Vanilla Moose ice cream shop in Aztec. Lane also has served on the Aztec school board. He will be unopposed in the primary election and likely will be unchallenged in the general election.

Current county treasurer challenges incumbent for House District 4

Incumbent Rep. Anthony Allison, D-Fruitland, will face current county treasurer and Kirtland Mayor Mark Duncan in the general election. Neither candidate has a primary election opponent.

Duncan has reached his term limits as county treasurer and chose not to seek re-election as mayor of Kirtland this year.

Meanwhile, Allison was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018.

Johnson, Lundstrom unopposed for House of Representatives District 5, 9

Rep. D. Wonda Johnson, a Democrat from Rehoboth, will be unopposed for another term representing District 5, and no opponents have emerged to challenge District 9 incumbent Rep. Patricia “Patty” Lundstrom, D-Gallup.

Lente faces Democratic challenger

Jemez Pueblo resident James Madalena has filed to challenge Rep. Derrick Lente of Sandia Pueblo for the Democratic Party nomination for the District 65 seat on the House of Representatives.

The winner will face Phillip Salazar of Dulce, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Isleta resident challenges incumbent Rep. Harry Garcia

Incumbent Rep. Harry Garcia, D-Grants, will face Isleta resident ReGina Zuni in the Democratic Party primary election for the House of Representatives District 69 seat.

The winner will face Republican Roy Randall Ryan in the general election. Ryan is a Grants resident.

District attorney, judge unopposed

Robert “Rick” Tedrow will run unopposed for another term as district attorney.

Curtis Gurley, who was appointed to the bench last year, is running unopposed in his election. If he wins this year, future elections will be retention elections without opponents.

Two Aztec residents vie for seat on county commission

Steve Lanier is challenging incumbent James "Jim" Crowley in the Republican primary for the District 3 seat on the San Juan County Commission.

Cole, Fortner will face off in Republican primary for County Commission

Erich Cole and Terri Fortner are running against each other for the Republican nomination for San Juan County Commission District 4. 

There is not an incumbent in the race because Jack Fornter, Terri Fortner's husband, has reached term limits.

Incumbent commissioner will have Democratic challenger in November 

Incumbent County Commissioner John Beckstead is running unopposed in the Republican primary but will face Maridee Walters, a Democratic candidate, in the general election for the District 5 seat.

Walters said she has been inspired over the last few years by the women “putting themselves out there to make a difference” but she did not think she could join their ranks until other people began encouraging her to run. She said she would like to see a more diverse group of elected leaders in San Juan County and to prove that elected leaders can work together across party lines.

County clerk, treasurer up for election

Tanya Shelby is unopposed in the Republican primary as she seeks another term as county clerk. She will face Democratic Party candidate Ricardo Damien Artalejo in the general election.

Current Deputy Treasurer Carol Taulbee, a Republican, is running for county treasurer. She does not have an opponent.

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

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