Garcia Richard wins battle for Dist. 43 State House seat

Democrat challenger Stephanie Garcia Richard has edged out incumbent Republican Jim Hall in the pitched battle to represent District 43 in the House.

With some of the votes still being tallied, Garcia Richard has garnered 7, 092 (51 percent) versus Hall's total of 6,782 (48 percent).

As of 7 a.m. roughly  83 percent or 25 out of 30 preceincts had been counted.

"It looks like she won by about 300 votes," Hall said this morning. "I expected her to win by about 100 or so but I have not been able to find the results from all the precincts. The Secretary of State website has not been updated since last night. But I think it's a done deal."

Hall said he felt the difference in the race was the turnout in the La Cienega section of Santa Fe where twice as many people came to vote than they did in 2010 when the late Jeannette Wallace edged Garcia Richard by 210 votes.

"There was no way I could overcome that."

Garcia Richard, who admitted to not getting any sleep Tuesday night, admitted she was a little bit in shock.

"I am humble and grateful and I am ready to get to work," Garcia Richard said. "This involved a lot of people who worked very hard to make this happen."

District 43 encompasses not only Los Alamos County and portions of Santa Fe County but it also includes portions of Sandoval and Rio Arriba County.

There were some voting problems in Sandoval County with long lines and there still has not been word on Rio Arriba County.

"This district is so diverse," Garcia Richard said. "But there are issues that affect everybody like tax reform, relieving the burden on the middle class and education reform. It's time to get to work on these issues."

Garcia Richard, who is a teacher at Pojoaque Elementary School, said she will have no problem serving in the legislature.

"There have been other educators who have also served," Garcia Richard said. "We have a plan in place this year where there is a long-range substitute who will take over. It is just like taking a leave of absence."

Hall, meanwhile, said he doubts he will run for office again.

"There are a lot of other things I can do," Hall said. "I have a friend who I will work with on investing strategies and I plan on traveling with my wife and visiting my grandkids. I am looking forward to seeing what happens."

Garcia Richard was optimistic about her chances Tuesday night after the polls closed.

"It's not official until it's official, but according to our numbers, I am optimistic."

Hall sat in a chair at the Dixie Girl Restaurant and said he was not optimistic.

Hall was awaiting word at that point on precincts in Sandoval and Rio Arriba County.

"They had lines three hours long in Sandoval County," Hall said. "I am getting a call later about those precincts. I am thinking, though, that there will be about 300 votes against me in Sandoval."

As expected Hall carried Los Alamos 5,553 votes to 4,766.



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