Of the four seats open this year on the New Mexico Public Education Commission, the only contested race appears to be the write-in spot for District 10, representing the northern reaches of the state—including portions of Santa Fe County.
Two Democratic candidates, Tim Crone and Anthony Trujillo, are running write-in campaigns for the board responsible for advising the Secretary of Education and authorizing charter schools. Neither candidate could be reached for comment by press time. Crone is a retired humanities professor; Trujillo’s employment could not be verified.
Crone, however, has the support of the current District 10 Commissioner, Jeff Carr, who vacated the seat to run for Colfax County Commission. Crone also counts the New Mexico’s American Federation of Teachers as a supporter; he serves as its higher education vice president.
Crone attempted to make it onto the ballot but discrepancies regarding his address disqualified him. Both candidates’ campaign finance filings with the secretary of state indicate they have neither raised nor spent a single dollar toward their campaigns.
A winning write-in candidate must secure at least 2 percent of the votes cast in that jurisdiction, according to the Santa Fe County clerk’s office. And in this race, pundits say that requires more than 900 votes, although the state Elections Bureau did not respond to a request to confirm that figure. If an election doesn’t fill the seat, the governor appoints someone to it.
The other candidates for Districts 1, 4, and 9 are unopposed Democrats—to staff a board on which all members are already Democrats. The sole Republican commissioner resigned in May.
Editor's note: The Elections Bureau called after publication of this story to clarify that in a contested race, write-in candidates are not held to the 2 percent rule and instead the race goes to the candidate that secures the most votes.