In the end, newly elected Mayor David Lansford said it seemed to matter less what he thought of the president than some key local issues in Clovis.
Lansford breezed to an easy victory Tuesday over incumbent Mayor Gayla Brumfield by garnering almost 63 percent of the votes. The final was 2,914 to 1,718.
Lansford and all newly elected city commissioners will be sworn in tentatively on Monday, according to City Clerk LeighAnn Melancon. Lansford will chair his first commission meeting as newly elected mayor on March 15.
Lansford, 53, appearing at city hall minutes after his win became obvious, said he believed key issues such as the city’s purchase of the former Colonial Park Country Club and attempts to use public money to renovate Hotel Clovis were a big part of Brumfield’s losing the election. The hotel proposal was defeated last year in a contentious referendum.
Lansford stressed there were no hard feelings and said he would welcome working with Brumfield, 58, anytime.
“I think Gayla has a heart for Clovis,” Lansford said. “Obviously. She’s worked hard for the citizens of Clovis most of her adult life.”
Lansford said he was surprised by the wide margin of his victory.
In the closing weeks of the race, Lansford threatened to withdraw if the CNJ disclosed his activities last year with a fringe religious and political group, ATLAH Media Network in New York. He later changed his mind and stayed in the race, but said he felt disclosing his activities was unfair and would prompt others to label him “a whack job.”
Lansford participated in ATLAH’s mock treason trial of President Barack Obama and wrote articles for its online publication, calling Obama an illegitimate president under the Constitution and “the carnal manifestation of evil,” claiming Obama’s election was part of a CIA conspiracy.
“I think everybody in this country has their opinions,” Lansford said on Tuesday night. “And I think the great thing is America is where you can freely express your opinions.”
Lansford also said he doesn’t believe his views on the president will affect federal funding needed to complete the estimated $500 million Ute Water Project — a plan to pipe water from the Ute Reservoir in Quay County to Clovis, Portales and other communities.
Noting Brumfield’s 1,718 votes, Lansford said it was obvious lots of people didn’t support or agree with him. But, he said, that would not stop him from working with any of those who voted against him if it meant making Clovis a better place to live and work.
Brumfield, contacted at home, said she was disappointed and a “a little surprised.”
“I had a great four years,” Brumfield said. “We did some things that should have been done over the previous 12 years.”
Brumfield said she was surprised that someone with Lansford’s extreme views of the president managed such a large margin of votes. She added, however, that she wouldn’t have done anything different.
“I would not change my campaign,” she said. “I ran a good, clean, positive campaign.
“I guess,” said Brumfield, “the city made their choice.”