New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller led all mayoral candidates with 39.35 percent of the votes Tuesday night in the Albuquerque race for mayor, but will still face Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis in a runoff election next month. Lewis beat out Albuquerque attorney Brian Colón for second place by about 6.5 percentage points according to unofficial results with all 53 voting centers reporting.
Keller would have needed to get 50 percent of the votes to avoid a runoff election.
Keller spoke to a couple hundred supporters outside his campaign headquarters with about half of the votes counted, but enough to show him with a clear lead. Keller thanked his family, campaign staff and the handful or organizations that endorsed him.
“This is my home town and this is one of my proudest moments to stand before you today,” Keller said.
Lewis, who received 22.93 percent of the votes, spent most of his campaign separating himself from conservative Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson. Late in the election he gained support from Ricardo Chaves, who dropped out of the race days before the election.
Lewis told his supporters he would get to work on the runoff election “starting tonight.”
“We’ll have a whole new era of leadership in this city,” Lewis said. “That’s what we’re starving for, we’re desperate for and we will lead this city to thrive.”
Johnson received 9.63 percent of votes Tuesday.
Keller will now likely spend the next several weeks trying to gain support from Colón voters.
The question now is if Colόn and other left-leaning candidates will endorse Keller or not.
Colόn did not respond to requests for an interview Tuesday night.
Other candidates received less than ten percent of the total vote. Gus Pedrotty received almost seven percent of vote.
Pedrotty wouldn’t say if he would back Keller or Lewis in the runoff election, pointing out each candidate has six weeks to convince voters they are the best choice for mayor. When asked if he would wait to make a choice, Pedrotty told NM Political Report, “I think we all should.”
Michelle Garcia Holmes finished with about four percent of votes, ahead of Ricardo Chaves and Susan Wheeler-Deichsel, who each received less than one percent of votes.
This is the first time in over two decades that there is no incumbent involved in the race. In 2001, incumbent Jim Baca lost to Martin Chavez (who had previously served as mayor from 1993 to 1997). Chavez then won a reelection campaign in 2005, but lost to Richard Berry in 2009. Berry won reelection in 2013 but did not run for a third term this year.
Updated with final numbers