Dozens of voting locations around Albuquerque opened this morning for the municipal election, which will determine who the top two contenders for mayor are in addition to the outcome of four city council races and whether businesses will have to provide paid sick leave to employees.
The race for mayor has received the most attention, though it’s very unlikely Albuquerque residents will know who their next mayor will be by tonight.
Don’t know where to vote? Look it up here.
The city election code requires a runoff election if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of votes. No public polling has shown any candidate close to 50 percent, though they have all shown State Auditor Tim Keller with a comfortable lead. Behind Keller are Albuquerque attorney Brian Colón and city councilor Dan Lewis, according to recent polls. Two of those three candidates are expected to move on to the runoff election next month.
Local business owner Ricardo Chaves dropped out of the race last week and encouraged his supporters to vote for Lewis. But it’s still unknown what kind of effect Chaves’ endorsement will have on the election, as his name will still appear on the ballot and two weeks of early voting took place before his announcement.
The heat has been on Keller since polls showed him in the lead. Opponents filed two official complaints against the Keller campaign over alleged violations of city election rules Keller also saw a number of negative ads directed at him. A land development company and a New Mexico oil company spent more than $50,000 for ads accusing Keller of favoring sex offenders.
City council races
Four city council incumbents are defending their seats and one district is an open seat.
Lewis’ district is the only one completely open to new candidates. Robert Aragon, Cynthia Borrego and Catherine Trujillo are running for the open spot representing a northwest section of Albuquerque.
Just south of Lewis’ district, the race for City Council District 1 is sure to garner a lot of attention. Incumbent Ken Sanchez is running against three other candidates. Western Albuquerque Land Holdings, the company behind the proposed Santolina land development, contributed thousands of dollars to a campaign promoting Sanchez and criticizing the other three candidates for not having enough experience. One of those candidates, Javier Benavidez, was most recently the director of the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a group adamantly opposed to Santolina. Sanchez is also defending his seat against Johnny Luevano Jr. and Sandra Mills.
Bonds and ballots
Along with the traditional option to approve municipal bonds, Albuquerque voters will also decide whether businesses in the city will be required to provide paid sick leave to workers.
Supporters gathered enough signatures to place the proposed sick leave ordinance on the ballot. Opponents of the proposal call it overreaching and overly burdensome on small businesses.
Last year the city council voted to put the question to voters last November, but the Bernalillo County Commission denied it space on the ballot. Since then, it’s been challenged in court and would likely see more legal challenges if passed.
Photo ID is required to vote in Albuquerque municipal elections, but the City Clerk’s office has a list of acceptable forms of identification on its website.
Polls opened today at 7:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. Voters in line before the polls close will still be allowed to vote.