The recent Albuquerque and Las Cruces municipal elections, along with other races nationwide, could signal a warning for Republicans in the 2018 elections. The pendulum looks to be swinging from Republican gains during the Barack Obama years to Democratic gains in response to Donald Trump, according to Brian Sanderoff, the president of the Albuquerque-based Research & Polling, Inc.
“I think the political mood right now benefits Democrats,” he said. “And I think part of that is due to the fact that a Republican is in the White House, has lower approval ratings and all the dynamics that go with that.”
In New Mexico, 2018 will be an important election year with the governor’s race, a U.S. Senate seat, three U.S. congressional districts and a number of other statewide positions up for grabs. Locally, Tim Keller’s comprehensive victory in Albuquerque for mayor, the flipping of a previously Republican-held Albuquerque city council seat and the progressive sweep of the Las Cruces city council show how national shifts are reflected in New Mexico politics. “That’s American politics, du jour, that it goes back and forth,” University of New Mexico political science professor Lonna Atkeson said.
Nearly as many people voted in the Albuquerque runoff election Tim Keller won on Tuesday as voted in October’s eight-way election, according to unofficial numbers from the Bernalillo County Clerk’s office. According to the city’s unofficial numbers, 96,813 voters cast ballots in the runoff between Keller and Dan Lewis—a 28.7 percent turnout among registered voters. That’s close to the 97,000 who cast ballots in the first round of voting on Oct. 3, a 28.8 participation rate among registered voters. UNM professor of political science Lonna Atkeson said she was surprised by the high turnout and cited Keller’s “incredible ground game.”
“His volunteer base was huge and he was getting volunteers to get other volunteers,” she said.
Tim Keller will be Albuquerque’s next mayor. Keller won the mayorship in a runoff election Tuesday night, easily defeating Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis. Also on Tuesday, Cynthia Borrego won a seat on the city council, defeating Robert Aragon in a runoff election. With the Democrat winning, the party expanded its support on the council. “Tonight our city has awakened and our city has spoken and we have truly come together,” the Democrat told a crowd of supporters.
UPDATE: Our liveblog is done for the night. The archive remains below, and you can read our story on Tim Keller’s victory. We’re back again tonight with another liveblog on election night. This time, it’s a very short ballot—for most voters in Albuquerque, just one question: Tim Keller or Dan Lewis for Albuquerque mayor. We will stick around until the bitter end tonight.
The City of Albuquerque Board of Ethics Rules & Regulations unanimously found that Tim Keller violated the city’s elections and ethics codes, but it did not impose any penalty. The board decided the case involving in-kind donations Monday, the day before voters cast ballots in the runoff election. Keller faces Dan Lewis after the two received the most votes in the first round of voting last month. Keller’s campaign received public financing, but his campaign accepted money as “in-kind” donations. Candidates who qualify for public financing are not allowed to accept private donations.
A poll just days ahead of Albuquerque’s mayoral runoff election shows Tim Keller has a sizeable lead—and is above the 50 percent mark. The poll, conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal, shows Keller, the current State Auditor, leads City Councilor Dan Lewis 53 percent to 34 percent among likely voters. The run-off election will take place Tuesday after no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the first round of voting in October. In that eight-way race, Keller received just under 40 percent of the vote, and Lewis, just under 23 percent. The poll shows that 13 percent of likely voters are still undecided.
ALBUQUERQUE – With cuts and bruises on his face, back and shoulders, Jerome Eskeets frantically told police about the violent assault he barely survived the night before. In his 30s, Eskeets had been sleeping in an empty lot on Albuquerque’s west side with friends and relations, Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson, who like Eskeets were Dine’, as members of the Navajo Nation call themselves. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth. Soon after talking to Eskeets, police found Gorman’s and Thompson’s bludgeoned bodies. The 2014 crime shocked Albuquerque, the state and occasionally made national news as the cases against the three defendants eventually arrested in the brutal killings — youths Alex Rios, Nathaniel Carrillo and Gilbert Tafoya — worked their way through the court system.
It’s hard to slog through an election without hearing about endorsements. Friends, former opponents and local celebrities pepper social media with their support of one of the two candidates in the Albuquerque mayoral runoff. Lauren Poole is one local celebrity who has attached her name to mayoral candidate and State Auditor Tim Keller’s campaign. Poole is most often recognized for her honestly ignorant but affable character Lynette. Last week, she lent her character’s voice to a campaign video for Keller.
An ethics complaint against Albuquerque mayoral candidate Tim Keller is headed back to a city ethics board after initial disagreement over the correct jurisdiction. Filed by former mayoral candidate and current Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson, the complaint alleges illegal coordination between Keller’s campaign and an independent fundraising group. Chief Hearing Officer Stanley Harada ruled that the issue should go to the city’s Board of Ethics, writing that under the city charter, he does not have jurisdiction in the matter. Johnson’s attorney, former Republican National Committeeman Pat Rogers, filed the complaint and insisted it should go to a city hearing officer and not the city’s Board of Ethics. From the start, Keller’s lawyer Molly Schmidt-Nowara said a hearing officer was not the correct jurisdiction.
Campaign ads often use hyperbole to sway voters, but in recent weeks one Albuquerque mayoral candidate appears to have included misleading statements in his campaign material. Albuquerque City Councilor and mayoral candidate Dan Lewis has not held back on dark, ominous TV ads that say his opponent State Auditor Tim Keller will be soft on criminals. Lewis has cited an Albuquerque Journal editorial endorsing him for mayor in campaign materials, but he also claimed the paper criticized one of Keller’s votes while the Democrat was a State Senator. What Lewis cites is actually an opinion article written by a prominent Keller critic who helped fund other anti-Keller ads. Earlier this month, Lewis’ campaign announced the release of a TV ad attacking Keller for two of his votes in the state senate.