Albert J. “Scooter” Mitchell defeated incumbent Judge Donald C. Schutte.
“I’m happy,” Mitchell said. Mitchell and his wife, Jeanette, and several supporters gathered at the Quay County Courthouse Tuesday night to check on the results.
Republican Mitchell won with 3,118 votes, or 56 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Schutte who garnered 2,428 votes or 44 percent of the votes, according to the prelimiary count from Quay, DeBaca and Harding counties.
Schutte and Mitchell have been in contention for the judgeship since the seat was vacated in 2007 following the retirement of Judge Ricky Purcell. Both submitted their names for the slot, and Schutte was selected.
Mitchell is a fifth-generation resident of eastern New Mexico and has strong ties to the ranching community.
Sign for sign, it appeared that the two attorneys were aggressively seeking the seat.
“I attribute to good old shoe leather. Scooter must have knocked on every door in Quay County,” said Bill Menges. the head of the Quay County Republicans.
“(Schutte’s) a great guy That was a tough one. I figured it was going to be closer than it was,” Menges said.
Schutte was at the courthouse also, but left soon after the Quay County results were released.
In Quay County Mitchell received 2,144 votes and Schutte received 1,805 votes.