3 compete for county clerk job

Phaedra Haywood | The New Mexican
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012 – 5/14/12

The Santa Fe County clerk is responsible for maintaining various county records and overseeing elections.

Four candidates are seeking the $65,500-a-year post being vacated by Valerie Espinoza, who can’t run again because of term limits.

One of them, Gilbert Garcia, appears to have stopped campaigning. Garcia hasn’t participated in forums, hasn’t filed a required campaign-finance report and didn’t show up for a scheduled appointment for a newspaper interview. But his name will still appear on the ballot.

The other three candidates include current Clerk’s Office employee Geraldine Salazar, Democratic Party organizer Tara Lujan and veteran political candidate Letitia Montoya….

Geraldine Salazar

Salazar arguably has the most varied professional experience. The County Clerk’s Office employee has a résumé that includes work as a division director at the state Department of Health, an outreach coordinator at a rape crisis center and a “team leader” at Whole Foods.

Initial reports show she has outspent her opponents almost 10-to-1, focusing heavily on print advertising to get the word out to county voters. Almost all of her campaign funds come from a $17,000 loan she made to her campaign.

Salazar has won the allegiance of at least some of her co-workers in the office, several of whom attended a Democratic Party forum to support her. Her boss, outgoing clerk Valerie Espinoza, donated $100 to her campaign.

Salazar said in a written statement that her “professional skills in management, budget, procurement, grant writing, training, public relations and expertise in handling complex issues” are the skills that will make her a good county clerk.

“My goals are to improve voter participation, ensure that public records will be maintained accurately and guarantee fair, efficient and secure elections on secret ballots,” she wrote.

Salazar said she opposes a requirement to present identification when voting and would support legislation to allow same-day registration for voters…



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