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Pinto wins race for District 3 Senate seat; Muñoz and Shendo also victorious

Granddaughter of longtime senator elected to first full term

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
Sen. Shannon Pinto

FARMINGTON — After being selected to complete the unfinished term of her late grandfather, state Sen. John Pinto, in 2019, Democrat Shannon Pinto seemed headed for a full term for her state Senate District 3 seat tonight, rolling to an apparently comfortable victory over her Republican challenger, Arthur Allison.

By 11 tonight, Pinto had 67% of the vote to Allison's 33%.

Pinto said she had to wait to vote at the Tohatchi Chapter, arriving just before the polls closed at 7 p.m. and finally getting to cast her ballot at 8 p.m. as the last person in line. She said she was anxious to see the final vote totals, but she said her impression was that turnout was good in the district.

"I'm glad everybody voted and the people have spoken, despite everything with COVID going on," she said.

Pinto credited her victory to the name recognition and trust her grandfather established with voters in the district over his long tenure in the seat. She also said she was disappointed the pandemic kept her from doing any door-to-door campaigning, but she hoped her performance in office over the last year would be enough to demonstrate to voters that she was the right person for the job.

"I was hoping to be able to get out there, but with the (infection) numbers going back up, I couldn't do that," she said. "I just stuck with what I needed to do with the state's business."

District 3 includes the northwest corner of New Mexico, extending to the Colorado and Arizona borders. It covers Shiprock and the southwest corner of Farmington, while extending south to the northern side of Gallup.

Pinto won the right to advance to the general election by defeating Shawn Nelson in the Democratic primary, while Allison — a cabinet secretary for Indian Affairs from 2011 to 2015 under then-Gov. Susana Martinez — was unchallenged in the GOP primary.

George K. Munoz

In other contested state Senate races that included parts of San Juan County, incumbent Democrat George Muñoz rolled to an apparent win over Republican challenger Angela Olive in District 4. Muñoz captured 69% of the vote, while Olive earned 31%.

The district includes the southwest corner of the county, extending into McKinley and Cibola counties.

And in District 22, incumbent Democrat Benny Shendo Jr. rolled past Republican challenger Susan Aguayo. Shendo totaled 64% of the votes, while Aguayo received 36%.

Benny Shendo Jr.

The district covers the southeast corner of San Juan County, extending into Rio Arriba, Sandoval, McKinley and Bernalillo counties.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.