FARMINGTON — Sean Sharer narrowly defeated long-time incumbent Mary Fischer on Tuesday to become the city's District 2 councilman.
Linda Rodgers, who was appointed councilwoman for District 1 in August, also secured her seat on the council Tuesday, defeating challenger Thomas J. Hawkins.
Sharer, 31, is operations manager at CBF Services, a debt collection agency in Farmington, and the son of New Mexico Sen. Bill Sharer, R-Farmington. He is chairman of the San Juan County Republican Party.
"I knew it was going to be close — Mary Fischer is a tough competitor — but we had a great team," he said.
Sharer said he knocked on 2,000 doors during his campaign.
Fischer, 67, was first elected councilwoman in District 2 in 1982 and served until 1986. She was re-elected in 1992. She recently told The Daily Times she believes the biggest issue facing Farmington is economic uncertainty.
Fischer was challenged in the election by three candidates — Jacob Beckham, Charles B. Pacheco and Sharer.
Sharer received 248 votes of 499 total cast ballots, or 49.7 percent, according to the unofficial results.
Fischer received 210 votes, or 42.1 percent.
Pacheco, 54, received 21 votes, or 4.2 percent. Beckham, 27, received 20 votes, or 4 percent.
Sharer and his family watched the election results as they were posted Tuesday night at Farmington City Hall. At one point, he led Fischer by nine votes with two-thirds of the ballots tallied.
"I've worked real hard," he said, pacing the lobby. "I have. I've never put so much work into something."
Fischer congratulated Sharer on Tuesday night. She said he and his fellow council members will face tough challenges ahead.
“I don’t envy anyone trying to find a solution to our economic woes,” she said. “It’s going to be brutal. I hope the council can come together and try to hold on.”
Fischer said this was her last campaign.
“It’s been a pleasure for me to serve all these years,” she said. “While I’m disappointed in tonight’s race, I have nothing but thanks to my supporters, my friends and the community, which has always been good to me.”
Rodgers, 51, was appointed by Mayor Tommy Roberts to the council in August to replace Dan Darnell. She is the chief financial officer of Process Equipment and Service Co. Inc. and a graduate of New Mexico Highlands University.
Rodgers received 328 votes of 577 total cast ballots, or 56.8 percent.
She was challenged by Hawkins, who received 249 votes of the total cast ballots, or 43.15 percent.
Rodgers said Hawkins ran a great campaign.
“He was respectful, and he was a good opponent," she said. "For this being my first race, it was great to run against him.”
Rodgers said she will focus on economic and infrastructure development on the council.
She thanked Fischer for her years of service.
“Mary has been a faithful and dutiful servant for many years, and it was a close race,” Rodgers said. “I would like to congratulate all the candidates in the campaign. It's tough work to run for office and all the candidates should be commended for a job well-done.”
Sharer and Rodgers will join Gayla McCulloch and Nate Duckett on the Farmington City Council.
Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.