Unofficial returns from Tuesday's major party primary elections revealed apparent winners among more than 365,400 votes counted as of early this morning.
Santa Fe lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez led in Democratic Party primary for the 3rd Congressional District race with 41% of the tabulated votes in the 16 counties that the district reaches. Former spy Valerie Plame, also a Santa Fe resident, is holding second place with nearly 25% of votes.
On the Republican side, it appeared former weatherman Mark Ronchetti won the nomination handily for US Senate to face off with US. Rep. Ben Ray Lujun, who gave up the 3rd Congressional District seat to run for Senate. In the GOP contest for that nomination, votes for three candidates remained close.
The contest for 1st Judicial District attorney leaned in favor of Mary Carmack-Altwies in early returns from Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties, then her lead widened with Santa Fe County returns that arrived sometime after 10 pm. Carmack-Altwies was beating Scott Fuqua with about 65% of tabulated votes.
Katharine Clark came out on top in the five-way contest for Santa Fe County clerk, leading with 54% of votes. The next closest vote getter in early returns is Letitia Montoya at 16%.
Deputy County Treasurer Jenn Manzanares earned 49% of votes to lead the three-way race for the treasurer post. Lucinda Marker has 41% of unofficial votes.
In the challenge for the District 5 County Commission seat, the director of a nonprofit on homelessness, Hank Hughes, appears to have widely bested Floyd Trujillo, a member of the Turquoise Trail Charter School Governing Body, with 66% of votes to replace outgoing Commissioner Ed Moreno.
State House District 50's Democratic Party contest early returns numbered a low 1,110 votes, with incumbent Rep. Matthew McQueen, of Galisteo, only slightly leading challenger Rebecca King-Spindle with 51% of votes. The district includes parts of four counties, but the largest section is in Santa Fe County. But by the morning, McQueen's lead firmed up to a 73%. The winner of that race faces both a Republican and Libertarian contender in the November general election.
Among five Dems who sought to replace retiring state Rep. Jim Trujillo, the leader was Linda Serrato, a former Washington DC staffer to US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan who turned up 33% of the vote. The next closest contender was County Treasurer Patrick Valera, with 23%.
A former Santa Fe city councilor and Espanola mayor, Joseph Maestas held a lead of Brian Harris for the Public Regulation Commission District 3. Maestas, who is a civil engineer, carried 57% of votes.
Elections officials had warned the returns would be slow given the large number of absentee ballots sent in by mail. More than 376,000 New Mexicans had voted in the election as of the 5 pm update from the Secretary of State. Of those, 18% were cast on Election Day. In Santa Fe County, more than 38,000 ballots have been cast, with just 15% on Election Day.
Officials have about three weeks to complete certification and canvas of the election before results become official. Read all the returns on the secretary of state's webpage here.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver reported at 1 am that Santa Fe County was among six of the state's 33 counties with pending vote counts.
"I'm so proud of the incredible work that's been put in by New Mexico's election administrators and poll workers for yesterday's historic and unprecedented Primary Election that saw higher overall voter turnout than any Primary Election in recent memory," reads the statement in part. "My Office has been working in conjunction with the state's County Clerks, election vendors, and the US Postal Service since before the first cases of COVID-19 hit New Mexico in preparation for today's election and it's clear the hard work paid off."
Editor's note: An early version of this story mixed up the GOP race for US Senate and for Congress. We're sorry.