Nakamura beats Vigil in Supreme Court contest

The Associated Press and The Daily Times staff
Janice Browning looks over a sample ballot before voting on Tuesday at Farmington City Hall.

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura will keep her spot on the bench.

The Republican on Tuesday beat out Democrat Michael Vigil, who has served on the state Court of Appeals for 13 years.

Nakamura was first appointed to the high court last year by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. She filled a vacancy left by Justice Richard Bosson.

Nakamura is a longtime Albuquerque resident, a University of New Mexico law school graduate and an avid hot-air balloon pilot. She previously served as chief judge in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court before moving to the Second Judicial District Court in 2013.

Before graduating from law school, Nakamura was a political director for the state GOP, a staffer for former Sen. Pete V. Domenici and a special assistant on President Ronald Reagan's 1984 inauguration committee.

In the race for New Mexico Court of Appeals judge, Democrat Julie Vargas owned a narrow lead over Republican Stephen French. Vargas had 380,567 votes for 52.5 percent of the vote, while French had 344,496 votes for 47.5 percent.

In local races, Republican Lyndy Bennett defeated Democrat Marcella King-Ben in the race for Eleventh Judicial District Division 5 judgeship with 29,168 votes, or 67 percent, to King-Ben's 14,321 votes, or 33 percent.

Bradford Dalley drew 34,877 votes, running unopposed for another term the Eleventh Judicial District Division 1 judgeship.

Pat Cordell received 5,456 votes running unopposed in his San Juan County magistrate judge race.

Incumbent Rick Tedrow received 35,685 votes running unopposed as San Juan County district attorney.