Election day in Albuquerque!
Voters throughout Albuquerque will decide the makeup of the city council, whether a gross receipts tax increase to aid the BioPark should happen and a number of bond questions and city charter issues.
New Mexico Political Report will be here throughout the night—and throughout the city—to give you the latest results on the races.
Check in here periodically and at 7:00 p.m., the pace will pick up.
The newest posts will be up top, the oldest ones at the bottom.
“There are still about 1,000 uncounted votes” Chavez said.
Then he echoed the late Yogi Berra, saying, “It’s not over until it’s over.”
Chavez left his watch party, still without conceding. His campaign manager said he would talk to us in the morning.
There are now 49 of 53 vote centers reporting.
We don’t really call races, but it looks like there just aren’t enough votes for Israel Chavez to catch Brad Winter (he’s down by over 800 votes and 17 percentage points) or for Yntema to catch Davis (he’s down 1,764 votes and 43 percent).
And the Biopark is up 3,138 votes with about that much left to be counted.
Don Meredith might be warming up his vocal cords if not singing.
Hess “Hessito” Yntema isn’t formally conceding yet, but he told New Mexico Political Report that he expects Pat Davis* to clear 50 percent of votes tonight.
Yntema said that between Davis’ public financing and the spending of an outside political group that supported him, District 6 may have been the most expensive in city council history.
The political committee, Albuquerque Forward, had nearly $15,000 in its bank account as of Oct. 2, just days before the election. Yntema said the group, which supported Davis, was responsible for at least five mailers in his district.
This is on top of the $32,000 Davis received after qualifying for public campaign financing.
“I think the outside group was devastatingly effective,” Yntema said.
Because of this, Yntema said he doesn’t suspect Davis will work on campaign finance reform in city hall.
Davis, however, said he supports Common Cause’s plan to allow publicly funded candidates who are out-raised opportunities to raise money and get matched with public money.
Davis also faced attacks from an outside group over his position on abortion, as well as two anonymous robocalls attacking him.
Davis added that while the outside groups attacking him weren’t following city campaign rules, Albuquerque Forward did.
No mayor on the ballot, two uncontested city council districts, no high profile ballot initiatives? Super, super low turnout. #nmpol
— Matthew Reichbach (@fbihop) October 7, 2015
In 2011, there were also two uncontested city council seats (Rey Garduño and Debbie O’Malley). But there was the big red light camera question. That had about 10,000 more votes. 9:54 p.m. The watch party for Israel Chavez is still going strong and his supporters are staying optimistic despite the lead of about 15 points by his opponent Brad Winter. Chavez said he doesn’t intend on calling it quits until the city finishes counting all of the ballots. Winter, as we reported earlier, has already headed home for the night from his get-together earlier tonight. -Andy Lyman 9:49 p.m.: A big batch of votes just came in; 35 of 53 vote centers are not reporting, as of 9:40 p.m. And they show that Pat Davis* is nearing 70 percent in the three-way race in District 6 and holds a 1,500 vote advantage. District 4 remains about where it has been all night, with incumbent Brad Winter ahead by around 15 percentage points. His lead is now 467 over Israel Chavez. The tax ordinance question for the BioPark is edging towards 58 percent in approval, with a 10,894 to 7,902 lead over those who oppose the gross receipts tax increase. And Charter Amendment 1 and 3 continue to look like they’ll pass while Charter Amendment 2 has the ‘against’ starting to expand its lead, 9,179 to 8,613 or 51.59 percent to 48.41 percent. None of the bond questions have less than 60 percent of support with the storm system leading the way with nearly 82 percent support. If there’s one thing Albuquerque voters love, it’s bonds for storm systems! -Matthew Reichbach 9:26 p.m.: City Council candidate Pat Davis* took a moment to speak to the crowd at his election watch party, thanking his campaign team and supporters.
“This is a city council race that determines the future for Albuquerque—whether we’re going forwards or backwards,” he said. Davis said no other city council seat “comes with the legacy” of progressives like District 6, alluding to predecessors Martin Heinrich, now a U.S. Senator, and outgoing Councilor Rey Garduño. Davis also praised his opponents Hess “Hessito” Yntema and Sam Kerwin. He called college student Kerwin “very smart” and said the district would be hearing from him for a long time. Davis also mentioned a recent appearance by Yntema at a neighborhood association meeting where Yntema assured attendees that he wasn’t a shill for the Republicans. Davis credited ABQ Forward for pushing Yntema to do this, which he said was “an incredible feat.” Davis currently leads with 67 percent of the vote with 12 of 53 vote centers reporting. He warned supporters that it could still be a few hours before full election results are in. -Joey Peters 9:18 p.m.: I just got off the phone with District 4 incumbent Brad Winter and he is headed home to watch the results. He’s just like Chavez, said he’s not calling the race yet. “We just have to wait and see,” Winter said. He told me he spent the evening with fellow City Councilor Trudy Jones and some of her supporters at a restaurant in the Northeast Heights. He said it was a small crowd of about 20 people and that they all recently left. -Andy Lyman 9:07 p.m.: To all of those who predicted low turnout (that’s everyone), you’re right. That said, it looks like a little over 11,000 votes have been counted so there is still a ways to go.
Voter turnout for #ABQ election very low: total of 28.8k votes (8.24%). Turnout in 2011 was 12%, per ABQ City Clerk Natalie Howard.
— KOB 4 (@KOB4) October 7, 2015
9:05 p.m.: Numbers continue to trickle in but not much is changing. Brad Winter remains ahead by nearly 16 percentage points, Davis has more than two-thirds of the votes and the BioPark approval is going up, nearly at 57% now.
There are 12 of 53 vote centers reporting, as of 8:56 p.m.
8:59 p.m.: I spoke with former state representative Liz Thomson about her support for Chavez. She said he is a “hard worker who has good ideas.” While she does not live in District 4, she helped Chavez canvas during his campaign.
She said Chavez being a millennial—which was a part of his campaign—would be a good addition to the City Council. “We need more involvement from young people,” Thomson said.
Thomson is also running to retake a seat in the state House that she lost to Republican Conrad James.
As the numbers are coming in Winter is still in the lead.
As of 8:56 p.m., Winter was ahead of Chavez by about 15 percentage points with Chavez at 1,013 total votes and Winter at 1,395 votes. Still, the mood at Chavez’s party is positive.
There are a lot of smiles, handshakes and hugs. Chavez told me he is still waiting to see the final results and isn’t making any assumptions on how it will end.
“There are still too many uncounted votes,” Chavez said. -Andy Lyman
I should complain more often! Just minutes after the last update, it looks like around 1,000 votes came in, with 7 of 53 vote centers reporting and about equal number of absentees.
In District 4, Chavez is leading in day-of voting by 30 but he needs a lot more to catch Winter.
In District 6, Davis* doing even better with day-of numbers than early voting and also led in absentee votes.
The Biopark continues to head toward approval with 57.19% voting for the tax increase; only absentee voters (445 to 441) are behind it. It’s leading by 1,466 votes right now.
The closest one remains the Charter Amendment 2, the ballot requirements. Those against the amendment lead 4,917 to 4,773.
Update: Still waiting. It has been over an hour since we got the early and absentee vote totals (which may not even be all of the early and absentee, though it’s hard to confirm that right now). A long night for a low-turnout election without a lengthy ballot? Seems like it. -Matthew Reichbach
I spoke with Israel Chavez at his watch party and he is staying optimistic and says “it’s still early.” Regarding the number of absentee ballots counted on the city’s website, he seems perplexed as there is only one absentee vote each for both him and his opponent Brad Winter.
It’s a who’s who of the Democratic Party of New Mexico here. Former state representative Liz Thompson and Democratic Chair Deb Haaland are both here in support of Chavez. If Chavez, a Democrat, prevails, Democrats will have a veto-proof majority on the council. -Andy Lyman
7:58 p.m.: Text from Andy says he’s hearing that there aren’t many early or absentee votes left out there, just a few cards. Which would mean a really low turnout election as well as virtually nonexistent absentee votes.
Campaigns have been pushing voters to vote early instead of absentee, but this seems extreme. -Matthew Reichbach
7:48 p.m.: Outgoing District 6 City Councilor Rey Garduño said there’s plenty of ongoing public projects for his successor to work on.
Chief among them is establishing a library in Albuquerque’s International District. Garduño said he’s secured much of the funding for the project, and that a building would likely be built on Central Avenue between Wyoming and Louisiana.
He wants the future library to be full service like the downtown library with books written in plenty of different languages, noting that 42 languages are spoken at Highland High School. Garduño said the closest that part of the community has is the San Pedro branch library, which is located south of the district near Gibson Boulevard.
“I think the importance of a library is that it can really be an anchor to a community,” he told New Mexico Political Report.
Improving Zuni Road is another project that remains to be completed. Garduño said the city has left it behind after completing renovations of Coal Avenue, which splits off into Zuni west of San Mateo Boulevard.
Finishing renovation like wider sidewalks on Zuni would “give that part of the city a sense of importance,” Garduño said.
Garduño, a Democrat, endorsed Pat Davis* as his successor.
7:42 p.m.: I guess they heard us. Some results are up for early and absentee; no real surprises as Brad Winter leads Israel Chavez in District 4 1,142 to 798 and Pat Davis* leads Hess “Hessito” Yntema and Sam Kerwin 858-283-97.
Those voting for the Biopark tax ordinance lead 4,680 to 3,409. Charter Amendment 1 and Charter amendment 3 are passing by large margins while Charter Amendment 2 is narrowly failing, 2,855 to 3,823.
7:32 p.m. One explanation, but probably not the right one. Photo by @CaseyPurcella on Twitter.
Looked back at my liveblog from election night 2014 (Joey participated as well, back when he was at the Santa Fe Reporter) and Bernalillo County early and absentee numbers came in at 7:08 or so. Right now, the results page is showing the result totals as of 2:39 p.m.
It took until 8:47 p.m. for day-of numbers to start trickling in. Could be another long night.
Things are still moving slowly in District 4.
Israel Chavez told New Mexico Political Report he will be watching the numbers come in, but won’t be at his watch party for a while.
District 2 incumbent Brad Winter said he is picking up campaign signs before he settles in to watch the results.
Polls are closed!
Polls closed at 7:00 p.m., but anyone in line would be able to vote. Considering lines hadn’t been longer than 15 minutes all night, per the UNM website that tracks the lines, all the voters who wanted to cast ballots should have cast ballots.
I tried to get into the city council chambers to see votes being counted… but the doors were locked and the security guard was not there.
The city council races aren’t the only things on the ballot; there are also a lot of bond issues, the BioPark gross receipts tax increase and three proposed charter amendments.
The bond issues go toward things like road repairs, sewer repairs and other infrastructure upkeep stuff.
The BioPark gross receipts tax increase of ⅛ of one cent would provide an estimated $240 million over 15 years for upkeep, repairs and new exhibits and infrastructure at the BioPark.
The charter amendments include making ‘direct legislation’—or ballot initiatives—take place in regularly scheduled municipal or general elections. This would stop what critics say are costly special elections for single issues.
In Albuquerque’s District 4, which encompasses parts of the city’s northeast heights, City Councilor Brad Winter is running for a fifth term. He faces a challenge from Israel Chavez, a Democrat who works at Equality New Mexico.
Winter, a Republican who just finished a career as an administrator with Albuquerque Public Schools, said he’ll be watching election returns tonight with fellow City Councilor Trudy Jones, who’s running for another term unopposed. They’ll be at The Saucy Italian Bistro on Juan Tabo.
Chavez’ team will be watching election results from from Gecko’s in the Northeast Heights area of Albuquerque.
Winter told New Mexico Political Report that he’ll start picking up his campaign signs tonight once the election is over. The district traditionally votes Republican.
Correction: This initially said District 2 when it should have been District 4. We regret the error.
We spoke to the candidates in District 6 about where they will wathc results come in after the polls close at 7:00 p.m.
Hess “Hessito” Yntema told New Mexico Political Report his campaign is “broke” and that his watch party would consist of “beer and pizza” at his home.
Samuel Kerwin said he would be watching the results come in at Bistronomy B2B in the Nob Hill neighborhood.
Pat Davis* will watch the results at O’Neill’s Pub in Nob Hill.
New Mexico Political Report spoke with the Albuquerque City Clerk’s office this afternoon.
A representative from the office said early and absentee results will most likely be reported just after 7:00 p.m. The representative said it is unclear when the votes from today would be up, but that polls close at 7:00 p.m. and it will be sometime after that.
Election results will be available on the city’s website.
The polls are still open for another two hours and, no, there still aren’t any long lines out there. All reports have showed very, very light turnout.
See the location nearest to you here if you haven’t voted already. And remember, you can vote at any location.
*Full disclosure: Pat Davis is the executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico. ProgressNow New Mexico helps find funding for New Mexico Political Report. No one at ProgressNow New Mexico, including Davis, has any editorial input on this or any other story at New Mexico Political Report, as we have disclosed throughout the campaign.