UPDATE: Velasquez lead in state Senate race back to 3 votes over rival (and uncle) Sanchez
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The ultra-close and ultra-competitive Democratic Party primary race for state Senate between Maxine Velasquez and Clemente Sanchez shifted by one vote Monday (June 11) as election officials in McKinley and Socorro counties counted provisional ballots.
Velasquez and Sanchez have run a contentious race in Senate District 30 and as we learned late last week, the two Democrats are not only political rivals but are related to one another: Sanchez is the uncle of Velasquez, although the two candidates do not have much of a personal relationship.
After last Tuesday’s primary on June 5, Velasquez had a 3-vote lead on Sanchez in the district that sprawls over four different counties in west-central New Mexico.
Last Friday, we reported that Valencia County tallied its provisional ballots and discovered one extra vote for Sanchez, cutting Velasquez’s lead to 2 votes.
Today (Monday, June 11), Capitol Report New Mexico contacted the county clerk in Socorro County, Becky Vega, who told us that Velasquez picked up one vote in provisional balloting. We also reached the director of elections in McKinley County, Rick Palochak, who said a tabulation of his county’s provisional ballots on Monday showed zero votes for Sanchez and Velasquez.
That means the lead for Velasquez is back to 3, with Cibola County still having to tally its provisional ballots, which is scheduled for Wednesday (June 13).
We’ll see what happens then although it appears practically certain that the race will go to a state-ordered recount since the margin will be within one-half of percent of the total votes cast in the election.
For background on the Sanchez-Velasquez race that saw Democratic Party incumbent David Ulibarri ousted, click here.