2023 NM elections a mixed bag, key conservative wins in school board races

On Tuesday, New Mexicans headed to the polls for the 2023 local elections, where they voted on municipal and school board races, as well as ballot questions.

In some areas of the state, conservatives saw gains for school board seats, with Republicans Shannan Wright, Brandy Murphy, and Craig Danekas defeating three leftist incumbents on the Alamogordo Public School Board — shifting the board from a 4-1 leftist majority to a 4-1 conservative majority, with leftist Amber Ross being the only one left on the board. She is not up for reelection until 2025. The far-left American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Alamogordo union chapter endorsed all three victorious candidates’ incumbent opponents.

However, in Albuquerque, Republican school board member Peggy Muller-Aragón lost a close race by two percentage points behind Ronalda Tome-Warito. With 10,400 votes counted at that point, Muller-Aragón secured 4,149 votes, while Tome-Warito received 4,404. The Albuquerque school board election featured eight candidates competing for three school board seats, although it is traditionally a seven-member panel. 

However, despite their success in the race against Muller-Aragón, the teachers union did not appear to retain current board President Yolanda Montoya-Cordova’s seat, leaving the teachers unions without a majority on the board.

On the Albuquerque City Council, Councilor Brook Bassan, a Republican, appeared to defeat a Democrat challenger narrowly. In an open seat, Republican Dan Champine defeated Democrat Idalia Lechuga-Tena. 

In another election race, the mayoral contest in Las Cruces required six rounds of ranked-choice voting to determine the winner. Eric Enriquez, a former fire chief and moderate Democrat, emerged victorious in the sixth round, securing 52.32% of the vote and defeating current District 1 City Counselor Kasandra Gandara, who received 47.68% of the vote. 

The mayoral race in Las Cruces featured seven candidates vying to replace the long-time Mayor Ken Miyagishima, who did not seek reelection. 

In Santa Fe’s city council races, the results indicated no major upsets in the political balance on the City Council. The election took place in a year when far-left Democrat Mayor Alan Webber was not on the ballot, but his performance remained a significant topic of discussion. Candidates were asked to grade the mayor during forums and were scrutinized for their level of support for him. Many candidates distanced themselves from the mayor, whose popularity had waned due to various factors, including issues with city audits and the removal of the Plaza obelisk, known as the Soldiers’ Monument.

Notably, the results revealed that the City Council would maintain its current political balance. While some candidates received support from Mayor Webber, others positioned themselves as critical of his administration, emphasizing the need for more accountability. Some vowed to provide oversight of the mayor’s administration if


11 thoughts on “2023 NM elections a mixed bag, key conservative wins in school board races”

  1. Sick and Tired of Bad Candidates

    I have zero sympathy for Peggy and Steve Cecco. Peggy thought she had it in the bag, Cecco was a lazy terrible candidate and the Bernalillo County Republican Party was non-existent. This election falls squarely on the candidates and the party for failing to engage the parents in a full GOTV push.

  2. For me I am so disappointed in the election outcomes. Republicans did not come out to vote. Also, all the Bonds passed including one that continues to tax people at $2.00 for every $100 they earn to pay for some crazy things. The one for the parks just floored me. To improve expand and on and on when the parks are being destroyed by the homeless with garbage needles drugs. Wha the heck is wrong with people.

  3. Deming has new Mayor Mikki Michelle Shillito realtor possibly Democrat since ballots did not have a D or R after candidates names.

    It’s name recognition vs party affiliation now?

    A Popularity contest?
    Who decided on eliminating those D’s and R’s after the candidates name?

    1. These are supposed to be non-partisan races. Of course that leaves it up to the parties to issue the appropriate dog whistles. Talk to who is running the party in your county.

      1. It will NEVER be “non-partisan.” They want you to think they are, but they’re not. These people follow party allegience like everyone else. In BernCo, we now have far leftist Ronalda on the School Board. The woman has a degree in “Social Justice” and campaigned on giving kids more “rights” at the exclusion of parents. I think it’s pretty transparent what side of the aisle she’s on.

        Peggy Aragon DID campaign. The problem I saw was that not enough Republicans got out to vote. When I voted, I expected to see more women/women with kids at the polls. I saw lots of Gen Z’ers and old white men. BernCo had all of the bonds passed….those are going to affect property taxes, and I’d bet that the majority of those who voted yes are not property owners who are directly affected.

        Elections are held every November in every state of the union. It’s not the party’s responsibility to tell you to go and vote — you should know this! And it isn’t hard to research a little to find out what seats are up for election and who your candidates are.

    1. I keep asking that question myself. What is going on and why haven’t we heard if there is enough support to impeach the ungodly evil so called governor. She is the worst.

  4. Here is the truth people…Republicans are playing checkers running for school boards, while Dems are playing 3d chess running for – and winning in the legistlature. Almost ALL authority has been striped from the school boards in NM (see Floyd school board case where the Governor had the authority to remove the whole board on a whim). What conservative need to do is focus on the legistlature.

    1. Yes, we all need to stand up and stop the destruction of NM by the ungodly and the evils of the Democratic Party has has turned to be a socialist/communist party. We as conservatives need to be strong and get out the vote.

  5. critical to think

    Low voter turnout. The information for Republican candidates are available, more good candidates are needed to run. Did any of you
    volunteer, knock on doors, make calls, work at the polls, poll challenge,
    donate…someone else will do all of that. Sign the Referendum, get involved and do something.

    1. Sweet As Strawberry Wine

      You are on point here! Everyone complains, but so few want to get involved to inspire change. Conservatives did well in the Albuquerque City Council elections. I want some analysis so we can adapt to winning more seats.

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