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FARMINGTON — Steve Lanier, a newcomer to the political scene, defeated incumbent James "Jim" Crowley in the Republican primary on June 2 for the San Juan County Commissioner District 3 seat.

With a total of 3,235 votes cast in the race, Lanier received 1,956 votes while Crowley received 1,279, according to unofficial results from the San Juan County Clerk's Office website.

Reports from the clerk's office throughout Tuesday night showed Lanier holding a steady lead. His victory was secured when final results were posted at 11:58 p.m.

Lanier will likely win the general election in November since there are no Democratic or Libertarian party candidates. District 3 covers the northeast section of the county, including Aztec, Bloomfield and Cedar Hill.

"I want to thank Crowley for his service. For the four years that he has served, he's done some good things and I would like to carry on with some of the accomplishments that he has had and some of the stuff that he has started," Lanier said on June 3.

Lanier and Crowley, both Aztec residents, know each other, which Lanier noted in his comments.

"He's the kind of guy that's going to help me get started. He won't throw me to the fire, he'll help me carry on some of good things he has done over the last four years," Lanier said.

More Election 2020: Incumbent County Commissioner faces retired teacher, coach in Republican primary

Lanier, a retired Aztec High School teacher, explained on June 2 that it was a huge decision for himself and his family to run for office.

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"You have to weigh it all and when you get into the race with Facebook and all that, it's amazing the shots that you take when you're just trying to better the community," he said.

Crowley was elected to the county commission in 2016. In addition to the commission, he has served two terms on the Aztec City Commission and on the Aztec Municipal School District Board of Education.

"I appreciate the people of our county, they're great. I will finish out my term doing what I have been doing – serving well," Crowley said on the morning of June 3.

His ongoing work includes dealing with the county budget, working with the Public Service Company of New Mexico over the Energy Transition Act, replacing the San Juan Generating Station and addressing the Extreme Risk Firearm Protection Order, better known as the red flag law.

"The biggest one is probably the mental health initiative that I brought with the Stepping Up program and helping with mental health issues in the county," Crowley said.

He added that he will continue working with the Four Corners Economic Development to address the economy.

"I've had great support among people," Crowley said about his service on the commission. 

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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