May 30, 2017

Ex-mayoral candidate asks judge to let her run while lawsuit is pending

Joe Gratz


Former Albuquerque mayoral candidate Stella Padilla Tuesday asked a district judge to allow her to run as an official candidate until her lawsuit against the city clerk over the candidate’s removal from the ballot is finished.

Padilla’s lawyer, Blair Dunn, filed a temporary restraining order in district court that, if granted, would allow Padilla to run as a candidate.

In his request, Dunn wrote that allowing Padilla to run as an official candidate would not harm the city. But, Blair wrote, Padilla would suffer irreparable harm if she is not allowed to run her campaign until after the court case is completed.

“There is no monetary remedy that could be established to replace or compensate [Padilla] for the type of opportunity she will be deprived of seeking to participate in during the pendency of this lawsuit,” Dunn wrote.

The effort is the latest in a lawsuit filed by Padilla earlier this month against Albuquerque City Clerk Natalie Howard, claiming Howard’s office incorrectly disqualified Padilla from the mayoral ballot.

In order to qualify for the October ballot, all candidates were required to collect 3,000 valid petition signatures from registered Albuquerque voters. According to Howard’s office Padilla came up short by about 170 signatures.

But, the lawsuit says, some of the signatures that were deemed unqualified by the clerk’s office were actually valid upon a second review by Padilla’s campaign. Further, the lawsuit states, there is little to no oversight regarding how the clerk’s office verifies signatures.

“It is at best a hit and miss and arbitrary process left to the competency and potential individual discretion/bias of the person reviewing each page at the City Clerk’s office,”  the lawsuit states.

The City of Albuquerque attorney’s have not yet filed a response to the request for a temporary restraining order.

Eight candidates are currently certified on the ballot for mayor after former Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta dropped out of the race last week.