Two candidate forums set for this week

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Election season is taking hold in Clovis, with a pair of candidate forums this week.

The March 2 city election is featured in Tuesday’s KTQM/KWKA radio forum.

Also, the state’s five Republican gubernatorial candidates will descend on Clovis Thursday for a forum sponsored by the High Plains Patriots.

Bob Coker, station manager of KTQM/KWKA, said nine of the 11 candidates in the five municipal races are slated to appear in the 6 p.m. forum broadcast on KTQM 99.9 FM and KWKA 680 AM.

The stations are accepting questions prior to and during the forum.

Listeners can call 762-4411, 762-4412 or 762-4413, fax 769-0197 or e-mail ktqm@plateautel.net.

“We don’t put them on live,” Coker said. “We have people who take the questions. Grant McGee is our moderator, he asks the questions.”

Expected to attend are candidates for County Commission District 1, Juan Garza and Brenda Miller; District 3, Leo Leal and Fidel Madrid; District 4, Dan Stoddard and Randy Rodriguez; and municipal judge, Bonnie Bryant, Jan Garrett and Steven L. Garcia.

Len Vohs, who is running unopposed in District 2, and District 4 candidate Furgus Tunnell each will both be out of town on prior commitments.

Garrett and Garza will be the only incumbents at the forum.

Each candidate will receive two minutes to make an introductory statement, followed by questions. The forum will wrap up around 8 p.m., Coker said.

There are normally about 25 to 30 different questions submitted, with some repeats, Coker said. Sometimes, there are questions he would say come out of left field.

“Most of them are generally on target with what the citizenry is concerned about,” Coker said. “In some of the more heated races, the questions kind of get wild, but I don’t really expect that.”

Thursday’s 7 p.m. forum at the Lyceum Theater features all five Republican candidates for governor in the June 1 primary — Janice Arnold-Jones, Pete V. Domenici Jr., Susana Martinez, Doug Turner and Allen E. Weh.

Kim Runyan, vice president of the High Plains Patriots, said the forum is an introduction to the candidates, since none of them are from the eastern area of the state.

“There will be open questions from the audience,” Runyan said, noting the event is free with a pair of open microphones available. “People can see what candidate they might like best for the primary that comes in June.”

Runyan said the lone Democrat on the ballot was invited but the current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish declined, saying she planned to wait and debate the Republican winner emerging from the primary.

Each candidate, Runyan said, will be given the chance to make a five-minute opening statement. The forum is expected to last until 9 p.m.