While voters went to the polls in Las Cruces on Tuesday, candidates were working to ensure their supporters turned out, and some were making last-minute pushes to win undecideds.
Richard Hall, a candidate for the District 4 seat on the City Council, showed up at one of the busier voting sites in the city, downtown’s Branigan Library, at 10 a.m. to bring burritos to campaign volunteers. While the two women ate, Hall held up a sign promoting District 1 candidate Eli Guzman and waved to passing motorists. Hall’s wife Lupe held a sign promoting her husband’s campaign.
Hall is facing two other candidates for the open seat on the council — Jack Eakman and Gilbert Vasquez. Hall said he was “feeling great” about his chances.
“Beautiful day, perfect weather, hopefully lots of people will turn out,” he said.
Meanwhile, Guzman’s opponent, Kasandra Gandara, and 12 supporters were knocking on doors and reminding people to vote.
“I’m currently transporting some elderly ladies to the polls who did not have rides,” said Gandara’s campaign manager, Angélica Rubio. She said she was “really optimistic about today’s turnout and results tonight.”
There were 20 people in line to vote at Branigan Library at 10:15 a.m. About 250 people had already voted there. Election watchers said that site had a steady stream of voters from the time voting began at 7 a.m.
Some other voting locations weren’t as busy.
At 10:50 a.m., Paul and Robin Hutchins were voters 109 and 110 at the Frank O’Brien Papen Center on the south side of Las Cruces. Both voted to give Mayor Ken Miyagishima a third term in office, but they sounded lukewarm about doing so.
“I think there should be term limits,” Robin Hutchins said. But she was turned off by a super PAC’s support for one of Miyagishima’s opponents, Miguel Silva. GOAL WestPAC has hammered Miyagishima in negative mailers and robocalls.
“I don’t like the idea of that,” Robin Hutchins said.
District 2 Councilor Gregory Z. Smith voted at the Papen Center just before 8 a.m. Later in the morning, Smith said he wasn’t campaigning. He was preparing for three city meetings he would attend in the afternoon.
Smith, who is being challenged by Philip VanVeen, said his campaign was giving rides to voters who needed them. “I’m feeling very good,” Smith said.
In west Las Cruces, there had been 315 voters at the Doña Ana County Government Center by 11:15 a.m. Two volunteers with Hall’s campaign sat on lawn chairs nearby, talking with people outside the voting center.
Meanwhile, back at Branigan Library, Francisco Olivas stood on the corner of Main Street and Picacho Avenue holding up a sign for the third candidate in the mayor’s race, Gina Montoya-Ortega.
“She’s young, she’s aggressive, and the bottom line, she’s a solid character,” Olivas said.
One of Hall’s volunteers, Melanie Pardo, held a sign promoting Hall’s candidacy and waved to motorists.
“He’s a really great man,” Pardo said. “I really love what he stands for.”
Sabrina Maese was standing next to Pardo holding a sign promoting Guzman’s candidacy.
“I like low taxes and trying to help the community, safer streets,” Maese explained.
Polls close at 7 p.m. If you haven’t yet voted and are looking for information about the candidates and where to vote, click here.