July 12, 2017

Padilla’s hopes for spot on ABQ ballot end with Supreme Court rejection

Andy Lyman

Albuquerque City Hall

Albuquerque resident Stella Padilla’s mayoral run is most likely over after the New Mexico Supreme Court denied her petition to overturn a state district court judge’s decision to dismiss her suit seeking to place her on the ballot.

Padilla’s lawyer, Blair Dunn, told NM Political Report he may still take the issue to the state court of appeals, to “at least fix the law even though it won’t help Stella.”

For now though, Dunn said there is “no other real recourse” for his client.

Dunn expressed his disappointment with the high court and their swift decision not to hear the case. Dunn filed the petition on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court denied it without explanation.

“The Albuquerque City Clerk commits a very clear error that interferes with voter’s right to choose in violation of the law and the judiciary just hits the snooze button,” Dunn said.

Padilla’s court battle began when the Albuquerque City Clerk’s office said Padilla did not collect enough petition signatures to get on the mayoral ballot. What followed was a series of court filings from both Padilla and the city. Padilla alleged the city erred in their decision that she didn’t have enough signatures.

After Padilla took the city to court, City Clerk Natalie Howard accused Padilla’s daughter, Vanessa Benavidez, of harassment. City attorneys filed for a protective order in an attempt to prevent Benavidez or anyone else with Padilla’s campaign from interacting with Howard while the case was active.

In turn, Dunn filed a motion to dismiss the protective order and threatened to take the issue to federal court, saying the city was trying to violate Benavidez’s right to free speech. That protective order was never decided on because Albuquerque District Court Judge Nancy Franchini dismissed the case last week.