BernCo Voters Reject Treasurer Tag Team Duo
BY ABQ FREE PRESS STAFF
Bernalillo County Treasurer Manny Ortiz will be cleaning out his desk at the end of the year after losing his re-election bid in the Democratic primary to Nancy Bearce — a political newcomer.
Also likely to be leaving will be his investment officer, Patrick Padilla — himself a multi-term former treasurer. Not yet clear is whether a third Democratic challenger for the job — Christoper Sanchez — will be hitting the bricks. Sanchez has worked for the Treasurer’s office for seven years.
Bearce, a neighborhood activist and long-time health benefits administrator, netted 25,580 votes, while Sanchez garnered 15,261 votes and Ortiz and Padilla split the remaining 25,062 votes cast in the Democratic primary, according to unofficial results from the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office.
Ortiz was the subject of a “no confidence” vote by the Bernalillo County Commission after the investment strategy he and Padilla pursued led the county to nearly miss payroll several years ago. The cash squeeze they created forced the county to sell off long-term investments at a $17 million loss. Their failings led the County Commission to hire an outside investment firm to do their jobs for them.
Ortiz and Padilla are the subject of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into whether they violated SEC rules and favored certain brokers. An audit of their activities by the Office of the State Auditor concluded laws were likely broken. Both Ortiz and Padilla have denied wrongdoing and said their investment strategy was working.
In November, Bearce will face Republican Kim Hilliard, who rolled over Christopher Mario Romero 28,635 votes to 7,967 votes in the GOP primary, according to unofficial results.
Heavily financed Raul Torrez, a former federal prosecutor, won the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s race over Edmund “Ed” Perea, a former Albuquerque police officer, by nearly 2-to-1 margin in a race in which 64,683 votes were cast.
Torrez, who received support from a PAC controlled by international hedge fund manager George Soros, will face Albuquerque attorney Simon Kubiak, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.
Linda Stover defeated Roman Montoya in the Democratic primary for Bernalillo County Clerk 37,158 to 28,635, according to unofficial results. In the general election in November, she will face Maryellen Ortega-Saenz, the only Republican to file.
In the Democratic primary race for the Public Regulation Commission seat representing the Albuquerque Metropolitan area, incumbent Karen Montoya lost to challenger Cynthia Hall by a wide margin — 25,976 to 19,508 — in a contest in which Hall characterized Montoya as being too close to the Public Service Company of New Mexico, which the five-member elected PRC regulates.
The And the Losers Are… is available on Free ABQ Marketing