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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Keller Adjusts Expectations: Turning Around City Will "Be Long And Bumpy Road"; Meets With Berry; Hedges On Out-Of-State APD Hire, And: Action In Auditor And Land Office Races 

Berry and Keller
It won't be fast. That's what freshly minted Mayor-Elect Tim Keller is telling ABQ when it comes to a turnaround  for the state's largest city that is afflicted with a crime wave and a not so robust economy.

In a letter thanking his supporters for giving him a landslide win of 62 percent Tuesday night, Keller worked to buy himself some time and quell any outbursts of public impatience during the first months of his term which begins December 1:

Tuesday night we came together around new leadership. We restored hope going forward. But we also recognize the steep hill we have to climb to keep our families safe and have confidence in our city. Turning around our city will be a long and bumpy road. There is a lot of work to do and it will take the help and support of everyone in our city pulling together. 

Keller is inheriting a plate full of problems from the outgoing GOP administration of Mayor Richard Berry. Wednesday they broke bread together at the Artichoke Cafe where Keller made some news that might give some supporters pause.

When asked about his search for a permanent chief to lead the troubled APD, he reiterated his campaign promise that a national search would be conducted. But he hedged on committing to an out-of-state hire, saying that after the search is complete

We might end up right here back at home. 

That's going to cause concern among law enforcement officials and APD critics who have been insisting that an out-of-state hire is imperative in order to untangle the web of wrongdoing and deceit that APD has weaved. They fear anyone with New Mexico law enforcement ties could be compromised and unable to sweep the nest clean.

One thing that stirred no controversy was the restaurant where the outgoing Mayor and the Mayor-to-be decided to lunch. The Artichoke Cafe is a fixture at Edith and Central. It has had its ups and down over the years, but right now it is hitting on all cylinders and is one of the best in the city.

We understand Mayor Berry picked the Artichoke for the mayoral meet. If only his decision making had been so spot on when it came to APD and the ART project. His approval rating might be at 54 percent--not 34.

POWELL EXITS

We were saddened to hear that Ray Powell's health is forcing him to drop out of the race for the 2018 Democratic nomination for state land commissioner. He has held that office several times--longer than anyone in state history--and has served New Mexico tirelessly and with much success. Our lands were in good hands with Ray. He said on Facebook Wednesday:

I recently learned that I have a rare auto-immune condition called myasthenia gravis. While there is a very good probability that with treatment I can live an active life, I cannot sustain the intensity of effort that New Mexico needs and deserves. In the past when faced with challenges and adversity I just worked harder. Regrettably, that is not an option in this case. Therefore, I have reached a very difficult decision that I will not continue my run for Land Commissioner for 2018.

Powell, 67, had one last political surprise as he announced his withdrawal. He's backing northern State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard for the land office nomination:

As I step away from this race I am appreciative that an extremely well qualified leader is willing to take up the cause. Stephanie Garcia Richard is one of us, a fighter with a strong history of standing up for New Mexico and its people. Stephanie is a native New Mexican with connections to the land from her family’s in La Garita. Her years fighting for working New Mexicans in the State Legislature and as an educator has proven she is the leader we need at the Land Office.

Garcia Richard would be the first female state land commissioner but the path to the nomination is anything but easy. Conservative Democrat and State Senator George Munoz of Gallup is already running. So is environmentalist Garret VeneKlasen who has the backing of Senator Heinrich.

And get this. There is already a forum for the Dem land commission candidates. It will be tonight and is sponsored by the Santa Fe Dem Party. It will be the coming out party for Garcia Richard who will be there along with the other two hopefuls.

On the Republican side it's still not certain whether incumbent GOP Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, Jr. will seek a second term after ending a brief run for the GOP nomination for the southern congressional seat. He won't say. Now he's talking about making a run for Governor as a Libertarian. (Republican Pat Lyons has announced his candidacy so we're assuming Dunn is out of the land commission race).

Following the madcap adventures of Aubrey is like following the tail of a fish waggling in the water. But 2018 is shaping up to be a Dem year whether he is in the running or not.

AUDITOR ACTION

And the Alligators who told us to prepare for a run for a State Auditor candidacy by Las Cruces area Dem State Rep. Bill McCamley had it right. He announced a run for the Dem nomination shortly after current State Auditor Tim Keller won the ABQ mayoral election Tuesday night.

Now the Alligators are saying this could be a crowded race and that while McCamley is first in, he still would have time to walk back the announcement if things don't go well and seek re-election to his state House seat that he has held since 2013.

Meanwhile, Gov. Martinez will soon appoint a state auditor to finish out the 13 months left in Keller's term That will be interesting. Interested in the job? She's taking applications here.

SANGUINE SPEAKER

House Speaker Egolf says he is not worried about losing any seats because of the ambitions of his members for statewide office. He says the McCamley district is solid Democrat and that he already has a strong list of candidates to replace Garcia Richard.
He also tells us her district, while still in the swing category, has been growing a bit more blue in recent years.

'18 OR BUST

click to enlarge
Now that the ABQ mayor's race is over and there is less than a year to go until the 2018 general election, get ready for the Guv and legislative campaigns to gear up.

The three major hopefuls for the Dem nomination will be at a Monday fund-raiser in Las Cruces to benefit the House candidates sponsored by House Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos.

Watch your wallets! Here they come, New Mexico!

THE BOTTOM LINES

Thanks for joining us this week on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, KANW- 89.1 FM and kanw.com for our wall-to-wall election coverage It's been a fun and gratifying week as it always is when so many of you turn to us for your election coverage.

Finally, thanks to candidates Tim Keller, Dan Lewis, Cynthia Borrego and Robert Aragon who campaigned tirelessly this year to improve the quality of life in ABQ.

Reporting to you from Albuquerque, I'm Joe Monahan.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017
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