Local GOP, Democrat offices are in full swing
San Juan County headquarters for both parties aim to educate voters on the issues and candidates and make sure residents are registered to vote in the Nov. 8 general election
- There are 70,008 registered voters in San Juan County, including 31,659 Republicans, 21,914 Democrats and 13,941 unaffiliated.
- The San Juan County Republican Party's headquarters are located at 1819 E. 20th St. in Farmington
- Residents can visit the San Juan County Democratic Party's headquarters at 719 W. Main St. in Farmington.
FARMINGTON — With election season in full swing, the local headquarters for the Republican and Democratic parties are sharing information about candidates in national, state and county races.
There were 70,008 registered voters in San Juan County as of Friday, according to the San Juan County Clerk’s Office.
The clerk's office stated there were 31,659 registered Republicans and 21,914 registered Democrats. In addition, there were 13,941 registered voters who do not list a party affiliation and 2,494 who are members of other parties, including Independent, Libertarian and Constitution.
"People seem excited about this election," said Sean Sharer, chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party.
Since the Republican Party's headquarters opened on Aug. 25 at 1819 E. 20th St. in Farmington, volunteers have helped residents by sharing candidate information and campaign literature and helping residents register to vote.
Sharer said upcoming events include opening an office in Shiprock and hosting viewing parties to watch the presidential debates between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
"We're having a lot of people from the reservation coming in and asking for Trump signs and Trump stickers and things like that. They're showing interest," Sharer said.
So far, the office has distributed 500 Trump stickers and is waiting for a shipment of Trump buttons and bumper stickers.
Sharer, who has been serving as party chairman for two years, said long-time party member Betty Berry has been instrumental in organizing and operating the office.
"Betty Berry really stepped up and is an amazing help," he said.
While the majority of local Republican candidates are running unopposed, a number are in races against Democrats.
Sharer said one hotly contested race is for the District 4 seat in the state House of Representatives, where incumbent Sharon Clahchischilliage faces a challenge from Democrat candidate GloJean Todacheene.
"She's done great things out there," Sharer said about Clahchischilliage. "She brings something to the state House that we don't want to lose."
Members of the Democratic Party of San Juan County are also watching the District 4 race.
Henry Silentman, chairman of the Democratic Party of San Juan County, said the party looks forward to winning the seat in November.
"She's been a tribal official, county official," Silentman said about Todacheene. "She brings a lot of experience with working with different governments.
MP Schildmeyer, the party's vice chair, said Todacheene is one of five Democratic candidates running in the local races.
"Which is exciting for all of us," she said adding San Juan County Commissioner Wallace Charley is the only Democratic who holds a seat in the county.
"We would like to add to that total, so to actually have five candidates running with an excellent chance of winning, that's why it's exciting," Schildmeyer said.
The office will host a lecture from Fred R. Harris, a former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, at 6 p.m. Thursday. The event is free but donations of two bags of parade candy are encouraged.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.