Sandoval, Blackburn take county commission seats

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Veteran politicians Robert Sandoval and Frank Blackburn were victors in the Curry County commissioner races on Tuesday.

Sandoval defeated Fidel Madrid and Edwin Perales II during the Democratic primary election to fill the District 1 commission seat being vacated by Edwin Perales Jr.

Sandoval received 132 votes. Madrid finished with 100 votes and Perales II garnered 46 votes.

Perales II is the son of Perales Jr., who was ineligible for re-election due to a two-term limit.

Sandoval, a sitting Clovis city commissioner, said he is in awe that he will be the first person in Clovis history to serve on both commissions simultaneously.

“I’m very excited at the new challenges I will be facing,” Sandoval said. “I feel I have served the city well and I hope to do the same for the county.”

A retired postal worker and National Guard veteran, Sandoval, 70, said his first priority will be to get the county commissioners to expand their horizons.

“I’ll only be one of five commissioners,” Sandoval said, “but my goal is to get the commissioners to see things in a new light.”

Sandoval also plans to address jail overcrowding and what he believes is the need of an overpass on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard during his term.

Blackburn triumphed over Dusty Leatherwood for the Democratic bid in District 3. Blackburn will replace current County Commissioner Kathrynn Tate. The final vote was 115 to 90.

Blackburn, a longtime farmer and rancher who previously served two terms as county commissioner, said he hopes to improve road conditions and alleviate jail overcrowding during his term. He said he would like to be more aggressive in obtaining funds for the road department and plans to support alternative sentencing programs for inmates.