The Rio Arriba County election has a new write-in candidate in the race for District Two County Commissioner: Dale Salazar of Hernandez.
Salazar hopes to convince enough people to write his name on the ballot on Nov. 8 to upset Democratic candidate Alex Naranjo, who won the five-person primary race in June by 11 votes.
Salazar filed his candidacy just in time for the June 30 deadline, saying that he didn’t participate in the primary election for commissioner because he was busy working as sheriff candidate Billy Merrifield’s campaign manager. For his write-in candidacy, Salazar has raised $300, according to a July 5 campaign finance report.
“I’m not a politician,” Salazar said, “but I know what I can do and try to do with the other county commissioners to try to make our county a better place for everybody.”
Salazar runs Leroy’s Excavating, Inc., which he said has been in his family for nearly 40 years. He also coached various youth football and baseball teams in Española for years.
“I’ve grown up all my life in the Española valley, born and raised in Hernandez,” Salazar said. “I’ve seen all the issues that have plagued our society and our county in the last few years, and and it was time for me to put my hat in the race. I care deeply about our community, and its time to help constituents not just in my district but in the whole county.”
As far as potential priorities on the county commission, Salazar mentioned recent disruptions in trash collection service from North Central Solid Waste Authority and establishing equal, quality pay for county employees. He believes a “fresh face” and “new ideas” could help to “move the county forward.” Salazar said he has not received any endorsements.
The Democratic primary election for District Two County Commissioner — a seat currently held by Christine Bustos — was a tight race of five candidates. A vote recount on July 11 returned the same results as the original count of the June 7 election: 629 votes for Alex Naranjo and 618 for Ruben Archuleta, with Bustos, Ralph Martinez and Gloria Gonzales finishing with less than 500 votes. The race has no Republican candidates.
Salazar is the only write-in candidate still running for a Rio Arriba County position in the general election.
Chris Tommy Gurulé filed to run as an independent candidate for Rio Arriba County sheriff in March, but Gurulé said in a July 21 phone call that he had dropped out of the race due to lack of support.