New Mexico judicial elections, 2014
|Judicial election dates|
|Candidates by state|
|Supreme court elections|
- 1 Election dates
- 2 General election: Contested races
- 3 Retentions
- 4 General election: Uncontested
- 5 Primary
- 6 Process
- 7 Ballot measure
- 8 In the news
- 8.1 Two judges booted off bench in New Mexico
- 8.2 Judge drops out of New Mexico race
- 8.3 Newly appointed judge sues for the chance to keep her job
- 8.4 New Mexican magistrate post decided by coin toss
- 8.5 Appointed judges not always elected in New Mexico
- 8.6 Candidates debate qualifications in preparation for primary
- 8.7 Crowded races and the question of marriage licenses
- 8.8 Primary candidates filed in New Mexico
- 8.9 New Mexico Court of Appeals race
- 8.10 New Mexico magistrate court election spotlight
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The New Mexico judicial elections consisted of partisan and retention elections. In 2014, 257 judicial candidates ran on general election day. Of those 257, 184 were incumbents. A total of 91 judges faced competition, and 80 were unopposed, guaranteed a new term.
- March 11: Filing deadline (primary)
- June 3: Primary
- June 24: Filing deadline (retention)
- November 4: General election
General election: Contested races
(I) denotes incumbent
New Mexico Court of Appeals, Seat 1
2nd District Court, Division 14
2nd District Court, Division 27
2nd District Court, Division 3
2nd District Court, Division 5
2nd District Court, Division 8
2nd District Court, Division 9
7th District Court, Division 1
13th District Court, Division 3
13th District Court, Division 6
13th District Court, Division 8
Bernalillo Metropolitan Court, Division 13
Bernalillo Metropolitan Court, Division 14
Bernalillo Metropolitan Court, Division 4
Bernalillo Metropolitan Court, Division 8
Catron County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Cibola County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Curry County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Curry County Probate Court, Seat 1
Dona Ana County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Eddy County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Eddy County Magistrate Court, Division 2
Guadalupe County Magistrate Court, Seat 1
Harding County Probate Court, Seat 1
Hidalgo County Probate Court, Seat 1
Lea County Magistrate Court, Division 2
Lea County Probate Court, Seat 1
Lincoln County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Los Alamos County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Luna County Magistrate Court, Division 1
San Juan County Magistrate Court, Division 2
San Juan County Magistrate Court, Division 4
San Miguel County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Sandoval County Probate Court, Seat 1
Sierra County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Sierra County Probate Court, Seat 1
Socorro County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Socorro County Probate Court, Seat 1
Taos County Probate Court, Seat 1
Torrance County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Torrance County Probate Court, Seat 1
Union County Magistrate Court, Division 1
Valencia County Magistrate Court, Division 2
Valencia County Probate Court, Seat 1
The following judges must face a retention election in order to keep their seat. In such elections, the incumbent judge is not being evaluated against an opponent. Rather, he or she simply receives votes of "yes" to retain or "no", do not retain.
|Click the arrows in the column headings to sort columns alphabetically.|
|New Mexico Court of Appeals||Cynthia Fry||74.0%|
|New Mexico Supreme Court||Edward Chavez||73.2%|
|New Mexico Court of Appeals||James Wechsler||73.2%|
|New Mexico Court of Appeals||Linda Vanzi||72.9%|
General election: Uncontested
The following candidates were elected or re-elected after running unopposed in the general election.
For candidate lists and results from the judicial primary on June 3, 2014, please see: New Mexico primary elections, 2014.
Judges in New Mexico are elected in either retention elections or partisan elections. A judge who was appointed to a vacancy must run in a partisan election in the next general election. The winner, then an incumbent judge, runs in retention elections after that.
In the retention elections, judges do not compete against another candidate, but voters are given a "yes" or "no" choice whether to keep the judge in office for another term. The retention elections are held on general election day. In a retention election, a candidate must receive 57% of the vote to be retained.
Filing deadlines for retention elections
New Mexico's judicial ballot measure made a procedural change to the filing deadline for retention elections. The New Mexico Candidacy Declarations in Judicial Retention Elections Amendment allows the legislature to set the filing deadline for retention elections. As of 2014, that deadline was the same the primary filing deadline, per Article VI, Section 34 of the New Mexico Constitution. This measure passed.
It is not uncommon for states with judicial retention elections in the general election to have a different filing deadline for incumbent judges. Below is a table of the six states which have retention elections at all levels of the court system. According to the data from Ballotpedia, half of those states have the same filing deadlines, while half have later deadlines for judicial candidates.
|State||2014 filing - Legislative candidates||2014 filing - Judicial candidates|
|Alaska||June 2||August 1|
|Colorado||March 31||August 4|
|Iowa||March 14||July 23|
|Nebraska||February 18/March 3||February 18|
|Utah||March 20||March 20|
|Wyoming||May 30||May 30|
In the news
The following articles were current as of the dates listed, though new developments may not be included.
Two judges booted off bench in New MexicoNovember 13, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: 2014 retention report
In New Mexico, judges must receive at least 57% of the vote in order to be successfully retained.
86 judges in New Mexico ran for retention in 2014. Two district court judges were not retained and must step down at the conclusion of their current terms. These two judges are Albert Mitchell of the 10th District Court and Sheri Raphaelson of the 1st District Court.
Judge Albert Mitchell, who was elected to the court in 2008, received a vote of 49.95% in favor of his retention. A group called the Committee for Law and Order campaigned against his retention, claiming that he had been too lenient on criminals and took too long to make decisions in certain cases. The group's advertisements each cited different case examples. The committee issued a statement after the election:
Judge Sheri Raphaelson was appointed to the court by Governor Bill Richardson in 2009. She just missed the required 57% mark, with 55.98% of the votes in her favor. She needed about 500 more votes in order to be retained. The New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission had recommended that she not be retained.
Judge drops out of New Mexico raceSeptember 11, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Party switches and the soaring cost of campaigning
Judge Camille E. Olguin, of New Mexico’s Thirteenth Judicial District, was on her way to retention to a new term. She would appear on the ballot unopposed, along with a “yes” or “no” option for voters to decided for or against her re-election. However, with about two months to go until the election, Olguin decided to retire instead.
Collins, regarding his nomination, state:
The 13th Judicial District covers the counties of Cibola, Sandoval and Valencia.
Newly appointed judge sues for the chance to keep her jobAugust 14, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Lawsuits about elections and continuing controversies
A recently appointed Democratic judge has challenged her party's decision to nominate someone else to run for her seat in November.
If Manfredi's challenge is rejected, she will only serve out the remainder of this year's term before handing the gavel to the winner of the November election. Republicans have nominated Cheryl Johnston as their candidate for the judgeship.
New Mexican magistrate post decided by coin tossJuly 17, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Big money in supreme court elections; local race decided by coin toss
Over a month after the June 3 primary election, the magistrate judge for Division 2 of the McKinley County Magistrate Court was determined by the flip of a coin. Kenneth Howard, Jr., who got to make the call, was the lucky winner.
Earlier this year, a justice of the peace in Texas was also decided by a coin toss. If you missed that story, you can check it out in the Election Brief from June 19.
Appointed judges not always elected in New MexicoJune 5, 2014
|Click for story→|
|Voters went to the polls June 3 for New Mexico's primary election. There were partisan races on the ballot for the district courts, magistrate courts and probate courts. The primary included a few tight races, foreshadowing many more interesting contests to come in November’s general election. Below are the details on the contested primary races for district court seats.
The Thirteenth Judicial District Court boasts the distinction of being the only district with a contested Republican primary. Republican candidate Allen R. Smith, who was appointed to the Division 3 seat on the court in April, beat his opponent, Paul E. Trujillo, 63.4% to 36.6%. On the Democratic side, Joshua J. Sanchez and Walter M. Hart faced off in hopes of moving on to the general. Sanchez came out on top with 63.4% of vote.
Candidates debate qualifications in preparation for primaryApril 3, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Who's qualified? Courts, candidates and special interest groups all want a say
Judges of the magistrate courts in New Mexico do not need to be licensed to practice law unless the population of their district is over 200,000. Taos County's 2013 population is estimated to be 33,035, according to the United States Census Bureau. Chief judge, Ernest L. Ortega, the Division 1 judge for the Taos County Magistrate Court does not have a law degree. Ortega was appointed in early 2006 by former Governor Bill Richardson and elected to the position later that year. He was re-elected in 2010, after running unopposed. This year, Ortega will have an opponent in the Democratic primary on June 3, Bob G. Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald's campaign has emphasized how he believes his law degree and legal experience make him better suited to the position. Fitzgearald told The Taos News that Ortega has been asked to excuse himself from cases because local lawyers lack confidence in him. Ortega only said he "get[s] excused sometimes by defense attorneys who think I’m too strict on certain types of cases". He also says he is generally happy with how quickly he gets through cases, but that "[i]f they want a lawyer, voters will elect one." Ortega and Fitzgerald are both Democrats. No Republican candidates filed for the race.
Crowded races and the question of marriage licensesMarch 20, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Controversy around judicial election laws
If there is no incumbent running for re-election, sometimes several candidates are often attracted to the election. For example, in Curry County, New Mexico, the current probate court judge, Kevin D. Duncan, is not running for another term. Four Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate have filed for that race.
A New Mexico Supreme Court ruling from December 2013 deemed it unconstitutional to deny marriage to same-sex couples. Judge Kevin D. Duncan has since stopped performing marriage ceremonies completely, pointing to a lack of clarification as to whether or not he is allowed to. "There was nothing passed by the Legislature or anything telling us whether we could or not," he said. New Mexican municipal, probate, and district judges can perform marriage ceremonies, but are not required to. Clovis Municipal Court Judge Jan Garrett has also stopped performing the ceremonies. Due to religious beliefs, she will not marry same-sex couples. She also quit doing marriage ceremonies altogether, explaining, "I am not going to discriminate against anybody in anything I do." It will be interesting to see if the issue becomes important to the election of Judge Duncan's sucessor, and to other judicial races across the state.
Primary candidates filed in New MexicoMarch 13, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Close races, scandal and removal from the ballot
Major party candidates have filed to run in the New Mexico primary election on June 3.
Gov. Susana Martinez only recently appointed Matthew Justin Wilson to the Division 6 position in October 2013. He is a former domestic relations hearing officer for the First Judicial District, and will be running for a full term as a district judge. He has two other Democratic opponents in the June 3rd primary--David Thomson and Yvonne Kathleen Quintana. Thomson is previous judge for the First District Court. He was appointed in March 2010, but was defeated by T. Glenn Ellington in the primary later that year. Quintana ran for the Division 5 position of the same court in 2010. She lost to incumbent Sheri Raphaelson in the Democratic primary. With no Republican competition, the Democratic primary will decide the winner.
New Mexico Court of Appeals raceFebruary 20, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: Wisconsin primary concludes as the rest of the nation is just heating up
New Mexico magistrate court election spotlightFebruary 13, 2014
|Click for story→|
|See also: JP Election Brief: The Election Brief is back!
Judge Richard B. Wellborn will be running for election to the Dona Ana County Magistrate Court in the 2014 election. He was appointed to the position in October 2013 by Governor Susana Martinez to fill the vacancy created by Judge Richard L. Silva's retirement. He will run in this election in hopes of serving a full term.
You can view Wellborn's campaign website here (timed out).
- Politics1, "New Mexico"
- New Mexico Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Election Candidate Guide for Major Party Candidates"
- New Mexico Secretary of State, "2014 Candidate Forms - 2014 Election Calendar"
- American Judicature Society, "Judicial Selection in the States: New Mexico," archived January 11, 2014
- New Mexico Compilation Commission, "New Mexico Statutes, Article VI, Section 33," accessed April 25, 2014
- New Mexico Legislature, "Brief Analysis of Proposed Constitutional Amendment 3," accessed August 7, 2014
- New Mexico Secretary of State, "General Election Results 2014"
- New Mexico Candidacy Declarations in Judicial Retention Elections Amendment (2014)
- Quay County Sun, "Committee seeks to remove Mitchell from district bench," October 21, 2014
- Quay County Sun, "Preliminary results: Shafer elected sheriff, Mitchell voted out," November 4, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation, "Final Recommendation: Albert J. Mitchell, Jr."
- New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation, "Final Recommendation: Sheri A. Raphaelson"
- Santa Fe New Mexican, "Voters remove Judge Sheri Raphaelson," November 5, 2014
- Albuquerque Journal, “Judge drops out of election, affecting Rio Rancho ballots,” September 10, 2014
- Rio Rancho Observer, “Judge drops out of election, affecting Rio Rancho ballots,” September 10, 2014
- New Mexico Secretary of State, “2014 General Election Contest/Candidate List,” accessed September 11, 2014
- Cibola Beacon, “Judge Olguin Not Seeking Retention,” September 9, 2014
- Albuquerque Journal, "Judge sues over nomination practice," August 6, 2014
- Daily Journal, "Newly appointed judge files lawsuit seeking to appear on general-election ballot," August 5, 2014
- US News, "Heads up: New Mexico county magistrate wins election by the flip of a coin," July 10, 2014
- Washington Post, "In most states, tied elections can be decided by a coin toss," July 14, 2014
- New Mexico Secretary of State, "Unofficial Results, Primary Election 2014," June 4, 2014
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: New Mexico," archived October 6, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Quickfacts Taos County, New Mexico," accessed April 2, 2014
- The Taos News, "Lawyer challenges Taos judge on legal training," March 25, 2014
- Clovis News Journal, "Curry County candidate filings for June 3 primary," March 11, 2014
- Clovis News Journal, "Several county judges not performing marriages," archived March 19, 2014
- New Mexico Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Election Contest/Candidate List"
- Miles Hanisee campaign website
- Campaign website
- Democratic Party of Dona Ana County, "Richard Wellborn Seeks Retention as Magistrate Judge," January 19, 2014
- Las Cruces Sun-Times, "Peter Goodman: Judicial candidates switch parties ahead of election," January 12, 2014
- Las Cruces Sun-News, "Judge in agreement with Goodman column," January 26, 2014