Monday, October 09, 2017

Lewis Vs. Keller: A Done Deal Or Can Lewis Find A Way? Plus: First Candidate Debate Set And How Much Did Each Mayoral Vote Cost?  

Dan Lewis is getting an early glimpse at the steep hill he has to climb. Will he find the stamina to scale it or is the ABQ mayoral race already a done deal?

A robo call poll conducted the night after last Tuesday's city election that dialed only landlines of likely voters--no cellphones--showed Dem Tim Keller already at the threshold of victory in the November 14 ABQ mayoral run-off election against Republican Lewis. Keller garnered 49 percent to Lewis's 36 percent. Only 10 percent were undecided.

The survey, conducted by the PR firm Carroll Strategies for KOB-TV, may actually be more friendly toward Lewis than a poll that included cellphones and that would presumably contact younger and more moderate and liberal voters.

The poll indicates trouble for Lewis on the key issue that got him into the run-off. Forty-seven percent of the voters said Keller would be the best candidate to deal with the city's crime wave compared to Lewis' 35 percent. That follows a month of TV and other media from Lewis vowing he would be the toughest candidate on crime and would hold judges accountable. Keller also attacked the crime problem but not as directly as Lewis.

Lewis is saying Keller is weak on crime but the poll indicates he has a long way to go to convince the voting public. (The complete poll is here.)

Keller, currently the state auditor, scored a similar advantage over Lewis, an eight year ABQ city councilor, when likely voters were asked which candidate could best handle the city's economic challenges, with 49 percent picking Keller and 35 percent choosing Lewis.

The survey included 47 percent Democrats, 39% Republicans and 13% independents which is about in line with recent turnout for city elections.

The poll was badly timed for Lewis.  Keller's big 39 percent first place finish in the initial election was the headline grabber and dominated the night. Lewis finished far back at 23 percent to take second place.

Lewis' hope for pulling off the upset now appears to depend on Keller making a big mistake, either on his own or forced by an aggressive Lewis campaign. Otherwise, there isn't much of a path for a Republican to beat a Democrat in a one-on-one race in a city that has grown increasingly blue in recent years.

Maybe lower voter turnout could help Lewis since Republicans are more avid voters than Dems. Campaign consultants expect turnout in the Nov. 14 run-off to drop significantly from the 97,000 who cast ballots  in the first round last Tuesday. How much lower? That's tricky. No one saw the nearly 100,000 turnout--the highest since the 2001 city election--so forecasting the exact drop off is an art not a science. If it was 20 percent less that would take us to about 78,000 voters.


The two contenders will debate at Temple Albert next Sunday morning:

Congregation Albert Brotherhood’s Mayoral Debate will be Sunday, Oct. 15 at 3800 Louisiana Blvd. NE. . . The candidates will kick off their debate at 11:00 A.M. The cost of the pre-debate brunch is $14 while the 11:00 am debate is free and open to the public. For those not attending the brunch, the doors will open to the public for the debate at 10:45.

Temple Albert has been hosting political debates for over 50 years. This one will be broadcast at 5 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com.

As the front-runner, Keller is in a position to pick and choose which forums he will appear at with Lewis. He's expected to do most of them but not all. For example, Keller declined to appear with Lewis on a radio program hosted by a hard-right conservative on the opening morning of the Balloon Fiesta.


One of our Alligators comes with a run down on the amount of money spent per vote by the 8 mayoral candidates:

If we calculate the average amount of money spent per vote starting with the lowest, Gus Pedrotty was at the top with a mere $2.68 per vote. Keller came in second with $9.98. Michelle Garcia Holmes was a close third with $11.94. Ricardo Chaves, not only came in last in total votes, but he also spent the most per vote at a whopping $601.20.

Vote, Total Money, Average Cost Per Vote

Garcia Holmes--3,748--$44,756--$11.94


We blogged Thursday that Keller did not mimic Lewis and open fire on his opponent in the immediate aftermath of the election, but that doesn't mean Lewis isn't taking hits. The independent committee that is helping Keller--ABQ Forward Together--is already  nuking Lewis in its fund-raising appeals:

And just who is Republican Dan Lewis? Well, he's as far right as they come: he was an early endorser of Donald Trump and as a City Councilor. . . he's anti-choice, anti-worker and anti-immigrant. Lewis is endorsed by extremist religious leaders who praise him for refusing to embrace a "homosexual agenda." We could go on. But what's clear is that Lewis will take no responsibility for the past eight years he's been an Albuquerque City Councilor where Albuquerque's job market has tanked and crime is out of control. 

That pretty much sums up the attack you will be hearing on Lewis in the coming weeks. Take note of the social issues mentioned there as Keller supporters work to prevent Lewis from making the election solely a referendum on crime.


Joe Monahan
Reader Jim Belshaw writes of our coverage of the city election on this blog and on KANW-FM radio:

You did some yeoman work. Well done. You are in fact the go-to guy for NM politics. Ain't nobody else can make that claim.

Thanks for that, Jim, and for your copy edits.

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