What’s with all the election signs?
As an elected Hobbs City Commissioner, Marshall Newman takes lots of phone calls from his constituents on a variety of city issues.
Lately, he has received calls on why there are still election signs seen throughout the community?
“We’ve still got some folks out there who don’t realize that there’s a runoff in one district commission race and for (municipal) judge,” Newman said during the March 19 Hobbs Commission meeting, “and they’re calling me wanting to know when they are going to take their signs down.”
Well, Commissioner Newman, hopefully the signs will come down immediately after April 10, because that’s Election Day for the city’s first-ever runoff election.
Due to a 2010 revision in the city’s charter, a municipal election candidate must receive at least 40 percent of the vote. If no one hits that mark, a runoff election is required, with the top two candidates running against each other. That was the case following the March 6 election as the candidates in the municipal judge and District 5 commission races failed to hit the needed percentage mark.
In the District 5 commission race, Dwayne Penick, with 30.9 percent of the vote and Scot Youngblood (22.92 percent) were the two top finishers. Municipaljudge incumbent Ben Harrison came close at 39.09 percent. He faces off against second-place finisher Shannon Carter-Arguello, who tallied 25.89 percent of the vote.
To make matters more confusing for voters, election signs for the Lea County Magistrate Judge Division 2 primary between incumbent Willie Henry and challenger Mike Stone have popped up. The primary has nothing to do with the runoff election. It is scheduled for early June and will be handled through the Lea County Clerk’s office in Lovington.
Still, the mixture of election signs has confused some Hobbs voters.
“We have gotten some phone calls asking where voters can go for magistrate judge, thinking that our early voting and runoff election is for the magistrate judge,” said Hobbs Deputy Clerk Mollie Maldonado. “We had to clarify that it’s only for the municipal judge. We have heard about how the election signs are colliding together and it’s creating confusion on who is running for what election.”
The City of Hobbs has doubled its efforts to notify the public of the runoff election. Additional newspaper and radio advertisements and a greater social media presence have been seen and heard.
“We wanted to make sure everyone is aware that the municipal election is not over and which candidates are moving forward to the runoff election,” said Hobbs Clerk Jan Fletcher. “So all of our ads state it is a runoff and there is a listing of the candidates.”
Maldonado said she heard reports of the runoff election candidates being congratulated and consoled for either winning or losing their respective races.
“So they are having to clarify to people that the election is not over and that they still have a chance to win,” Maldonado said.
The municipal judge race is open to all Hobbs voters, while the District 5 race is only for those living inside the district’s boundaries. District 5 is located in northern to northwestern Hobbs. To search for the district’s area, a map is provided on the city’s webpage. Visitand look under “city commission.”
Absentee and early voting for the Hobbs Municipal Runoff Election takes place through April 6. Voters can visit the Hobbs City Clerk’s office inside the Hobbs City Hall, 200 E. Broadway, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. As is the case with all Hobbs municipal elections photo Identification is required. Election day is scheduled for Tuesday, April