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What Las Cruces voters thought of the 2024 primary election

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What Las Cruces voters thought of the 2024 primary election

Jun 11, 2024 | 5:45 am ET
By Leah Romero
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What Las Cruces voters thought of the 2024 primary election
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Primary election polls close at the City of Las Cruces City Hall Tuesday evening, June 4, 2024. (Photo byv Leah Romero / Source NM)

From low voter turnout to a majority of primary candidates running unopposed, Doña Ana County primary elections were lacking in participants.

Polls in Las Cruces were mostly quiet on June 4 with only a few lines of voters forming in the morning hours and stragglers rushing to turn in their ballots before 7 p.m. Presiding judges at several locations said traffic was steady throughout the day, but not busy.

Based on unofficial voting numbers released by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, turnout was at the lowest it’s been for a primary election since 2020. Data show only 14,770 Doña Ana County voters mailed in their ballots, voted early or voted in person on Tuesday, a nearly 5% decrease from 2022 turnout.

There were 36 primary races this election, outside of the presidential election. Only six were competitive and only the race for Third Judicial District Attorney had more than two candidates.

The lack of options among candidates impacted voting decisions for some, including Las Cruces voter Francisco Lemus. 

“If I see just one individual running for one particular office I just leave it blank,” Lemus said. “I steer clear of those individuals.”

Lemus said he prefers to see at least two or three candidates in a race. He said he has lived in New Mexico for about a decade and has noticed that he often sees uncompetitive races.

On the other hand, Penny Payne said the lack of candidate options had no effect on her approach to voting Tuesday.

“I think that we have less candidates, less qualified people, because politicians are put through the wringer so much,” Payne said. “So people are like, ‘yeah, I can make more money doing something else. Why go through that?’ But I just respect it when people do.”

What Las Cruces voters thought of the 2024 primary election
A polling location at the Sandoval County administrative office. (Danielle Prokop / Source NM)

She said she typically votes for people she knows about in races to which she’s paying attention. Otherwise, she votes for whichever candidate is a woman.

She said she used to only vote for candidates of one party, “but party lines are a bit blurred for me at the moment.”

Dan Soltero said he was concerned about the “split” between an unopposed Republican candidate for DA and Democrats having to “fight all the way, all the way to the end.”

“I was concerned that the (Democratic) party is not consolidated,” Soltero said.

Four candidates ran in the Democratic district attorney race in Doña Ana County, with Fernando Macías coming out victorious. He will appear opposite Las Cruces attorney Michael Cain in the November general election.

Results

County Clerk 

Doña Ana County Clerk Amanda López Askin solidified her position as Democratic nominee for the county office in the November general election. She earned over 8,000 votes in the primary race compared to her opponent, Andrew Ostic, who received about 1,300 votes. 

López Askin will face Republican candidate Cheryl De Young in November.

County Commissioner for District 2

Democrat Gloria Gameros ousted incumbent Diana Murillo from the Doña Ana County Commissioner seat for District 2. She won the race by only 67 votes. Gameros will face Republican candidate Lorraine McCullough in the general election.

Murillo continues to serve as mayor of Anthony, New Mexico.

House District 32

State Rep. Jennifer Jones (R-Deming) will face Democratic opponent Linda Alvarez in the November general election. Jones ran unopposed, however, Alvarez beat fellow Democratic opponent Andrew Hernandez III. Alvarez beat Hernandez by one vote, or 52% to 48%.

The district represents parts of Doña Ana, Hidalgo and Luna counties.

House District 35

Rep. Angelica Rubio (D-Las Cruces) came out of the primary election victorious. She beat fellow Democratic opponent Gabriel Duran Jr. with 61% of the vote. No republican candidate ran in the primary election, meaning Rubio will represent House District 35 for her fifth consecutive term.

Rubio’s district represents parts of central Las Cruces and north toward the Village of Doña Ana.

House District 53

Democratic candidate Jon Hill ousted incumbent Rep. Willie Madrid in the Democratic race for House District 53. Hill won 60% of the vote. Madrid has represented the district, encompassing parts of Doña Ana and Otero counties, since 2019.

Hill will face Republican candidate Elizabeth Winterrowd in November.