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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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

KELLER TAKES CONTROL: Scores Landslide Mayoral Victory Taking 62% Of Vote; "Thank You For Clear Mandate"; Victory Ends 8 Year GOP Rule In ABQ; Dem Borrego Beats Keller Foe For Council Seat  

Mayor-Elect Keller (Sorber, Journal)
Tim Keller scored a landslide victory in ABQ Tuesday night, giving Democrats control of City Hall after an 8 year Republican run and setting the stage for a major change in tone and policy in the state's largest city. Keller, who will turn 40 this month, will take the oath of office for a four year term December 1.

The charismatic Keller swept through the city with opposition that was softer than the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Republican Dan Lewis could manage only 38 percent of the vote to Keller's 62 percent. (Complete results here.)

"It was about a city wanting to hope again, to turn the corner on the drumbeat of negativity to getting on with solving our problems and making ABQ realize its potential," opined Gene Grant of KNME-TV to our KANW-FM 89.1 Election Night audience.

Our other experts nodded in agreement. They said the landslide was due to that and these other reasons:

--The city had tired of 8 years of GOP rule under Mayor Berry and his lack of success in curbing the crime wave.

--The smooth campaign run by Keller with emphasis on the ground game and getting out the vote. 

--Keller is charismatic, intelligence and telegenic. He looks like change. It brought voters to his side and he will become the second youngest mayor in city history.

--The Keller message or as veteran Dem activist Sandy Buffett explained: "Tim had an aspirational message and his opponent was all negative."

Keller's assertion in his Election Night victory speech that he was given a "mandate" was backed up not only by the massive win, but by a healthy turnout of 96,908, only slightly lower than the 97,399 who showed up for the initial round of balloting October 3 and led to Tuesday's run-off election. (Keller's full speech is here.)

Lewis alone
The race was immediately called by our KANW 89.1 FM election team when 60,451 votes cast early and absentee were posted thirty minutes after the polls closed. That represented over 60 percent of all votes cast. Keller was ahead with 63 percent and only gave up a point when all the ballots, including the 38 percent of the vote cast on Election Day, were counted.

The small gathering for Dan Lewis cleared out fast and the night belonged to a jubilant Keller who gave media interviews and mingled with the throng gathered at the Hotel Andaluz. Only a couple of hundred yards away at the downtown Hyatt his rival admitted defeat early and called Keller to congratulate him. He then conducted this press gaggle.

The photo posted here and snapped by KRQE-TV's Chris McKee at Lewis' party sums up the moment. Lewis appears abandoned, a fitting analogy as his own Republican Party never fully warmed to his candidacy.

ASKING KELLER

I asked Keller in our radio interview for details on his transition. He confirmed that former high ranking city officials James B. Lewis and Fred Mondragon are helping to head up his transition team. He will need their expertise as he pointed out his will be the shortest transition in city history with only days to go before he takes the oath. However, the transition will continue over the course of several months, he said, and he will select interim leaders for some city departments as he ponders who to name permanently.

As he said during the campaign, APD will get an interim chief as a national search is launched for a new APD leader for a city besieged by crime and which was the paramount issue of the campaign.

Keller's pick for the powerful position of Chief Administrative Officer is widely anticipated and should come soon.

Former City Councilor Pete Dinelli said while there is hope for change in ABQ there is also impatience over the crime epidemic. Realistic or not, Dinelli said "people will expect some results in 6 to 12 months. Because of the state of the city and the high expectations for Keller, this could be a relatively short honeymoon."

ARAGON DERAILED

The Keller camp breathed easier when the results came in from the runoff in City Council District 5 on the west side and showed Dem Cynthia Borrego handily defeating R Robert Aragon, an ardent Keller foe.

The Borrego win--54-46%--gives Keller 6 Dems on the nine member council, a super majority if he can keep them together. Most important there will be no Robert Aragon, an effective opponent who has now been silenced.

FOOTNOTES

Former City Councilor Greg Payne and consultant Steve Cabiedes said that the mayoral election also showed that a progressive Democrat can unite the party. "It doesn't always have to be a progressive reaching out to the moderates. Keller showed how it can be the other way around, even though he also had appeal to independents who liked his watchdogging as State Auditor." Said Cabiedes.

Payne said Keller's willingness to criticize Berry and Borrego's willingness to take on both Berry and Gov. Martinez was a departure from previous "meek" Democratic behavior that cost them dearly. "He brought home the Democrats because he showed something that has not been seen from them--leadership," analyzed the Democratic attorney.

THE E NITE TEAM

Here's our Election Night radio gang and I want to thank them for a great job.

From left to right is Republican Rick Abraham, Democrat strategist Sisto Abeyta, Gene Grant of KNME-TV, Greg Payne, Catherine Trujillo who ran in District 5 in the October 3 election, your blogger and former City Councilor Pete Dinelli. They were all on their game last night.

However there was one problem. We forgot to thank listener Claire Dudley Chavez for buying pizza for the crew. We may be tired but we're not hungry--thanks to Claire and her husband.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Election Day '17 Is Here: Final Campaign Hours Consumed By Late Ethics Board Decision Against Frontrunner Keller; Lewis Tries to Make Some Last Minute Hay, Plus: Our Election Night Coverage Begins At 6:30 P.M. On KANW 89.1 FM and KANW.COM  


Our live continuous Election Night coverage begins at 6:30 this evening on KANW-FM 89.1 and on KANW.COM. More on that later in the blog but first our final dispatch from the trail. . . 

Mayoral Campaign '17 ended Monday in a flurry of finger-pointing as an unexpected and very late decision by the city's Board of Ethics roiled the waters enough to breathe a bit of life into the oxygen starved candidacy of Republican Dan Lewis and keep the butterflies churning in the stomach of frontrunner and Democratic hopeful Tim Keller.

The board gave Keller a slap on the wrist for violating the rules over "in-kind" donations to his publicly financed campaign, saying he violated the city election code but the violation was unintentional so he would suffer no penalty. (The full ruling is here.)

It seemed a relatively innocuous decision, although ABQReport journalist Dennis Domrzalski said the Board's decision was "serious."

Whatever the case, coming as it did with only hours before Election Day voting, it sent both campaigns into high gear.  First, more on the ruling:

The Board of Ethics ruled that Keller violated the city's election code by claiming that cash donations to his publicly financed campaign were in-kind contributions. Despite the unanimous ruling, the board decided not to impose any penalty against Keller because it said he didn't intentionally break the election law. In the past, publicly financed candidates did the same thing, the board said. The board said that Keller's campaign consulting firm, Rio Strategies, solicited the cash contributions, deposited them in a bank account separate from Keller's campaign account, and then used the money to buy goods and services for Keller's campaign.

Lewis, who has made ethical complaints against Keller a centerpiece of his uphill campaign, grabbed onto the ruling like a drowning man grabbing a life preserver:

This ruling serves as proof that Tim Keller lied to Albuquerque voters and illegally worked with his political allies to funnel cash to his campaign. How can we trust Tim to hold criminals in this city accountable when he thinks he is above the law himself.

Lewis was asked at a news conference whether he thought Keller should drop out of the race because of the ruling. He look surprised at the query and said "absolutely" while sporting a broad smile.

Well, given the polling in this race, never mind Keller dropping out, he might have to drop dead to give Lewis a reasonable shot.

The Lewis campaign immediately put ads on social media to publicize the ruling and hoped they could squeeze something out of it, even though over half the city vote has already been cast via early voting and Lewis, according to the Journal poll, is losing badly--53 to 34.

Keller, leading big, nevertheless loaded up his cannon for one final volley:

Though our opponents have used trumped up terms like dishonest, “money laundering” and “cash under the table,” those assertions were always baseless and the board’s ruling confirmed that today. That came out loud and clear in today’s ruling which emphatically notes our good faith efforts.

And Keller's campaign added that Lewis' tough talk against Keller on the ethics finding was "a last gasp effort."

But Keller's campaign made a mistake by not getting clear-cut, official permission for how they handled the in-kind donations. And the candidate paid a price in the final set of media headlines:

City Ethics Board rules against Keller campaign over in-kind donations
Board finds Keller violated ethics code
City Ethics Board confirms Keller violated campaign finance rules

The impact on the voting today will be negligible but you can be sure Keller's foes will use any future misstep to remind the city of the ruling. It makes the ethics walk a little narrower for the man who appears to be on his way to becoming the city's new leader.

WHY SO LATE?

The Board of Ethics ruling was immediately criticized by Alligators and pundits of all stripes as coming way too late in the process. What was an official government board doing meddling in the campaign on Election Eve? Why wasn't this complaint against Keller filed by Republican Wayne Johnson on September 8 not settled long ago?

Not that the ruling did much good for Lewis or Keller. For Lewis it was like getting your big Christmas present on the morning of December 26. If he had the time to use it in paid media, it might have made a difference. For Keller it was like a rain cloud put over his head just as the electorate was about to give him a halo.

The city ethics system is broken. The Board can't do its job efficiently and its decision to tamper with voter behavior only hours before the polls opened seemed, well, unethical. Fixing the mess is yet another item for the next mayor's "To do" list.

WIND SNIFFING

And look who is out sniffing the political winds. It's Republicans Sally Mayer and Darren White. Former BernCo Sheriff White became ABQ Public Safety Director under Mayor Berry but was forced out after a crash involving his wife. He showed up at the scene and drove her to the hospital before she was tested for impairment.

Since then, White, a staunch anti-drug advocate during his law enforcement career, has reversed his position on medical marijuana and is now a director of the ABQ nonprofit medical cannabis firm PurLife. The firm gave $1000 to ABQ Forward Together, an independent committee supporting Keller. White was listed as the contact for the November 6 contribution.

Well, as the old saw goes, politics makes for strange bedfellows.

Let's see. The Journal endorses Keller, the medical pot firm that Darren White works with gives money to aid the Keller cause and former ABQ GOP City Councilor Sally Mayer, whose daughter heads CYFD under Governor Martinez, endorses Keller.

Gees, this is a tough race for us pundits to get a handle on. :)

PROPS FOR VOLUNTEERS

Reader Clifton Chadwick read our Monday blog where we listed a number of reasons on why Keller has taken the upper hand in this campaign, but said there is one we did not mention:

While the money matters I'm disappointed you don't give a little ink to the army of volunteers Tim Keller for Albuquerque has had on the ground since the beginning of his campaign. Yes, I contributed to a committee backing him and if Tim is "beholden" to Labor I'm all for it. Better than being beholden to the owners as far as the vast majority of our citizenry is concerned. And so, back to the "Volunteer Labor" that has given Tim Keller for Albuquerque so much impetus - not even a word?

KANW ELECTION COVERAGE


We look forward to having you with us as we cover the mayoral run-off and the westside city council run-off on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com starting at 6:30 this evening.

We have some top notch political talent to help bring this one home: Joining me will be former City Councilors Greg Payne and Pete Dinelli, veteran Dem strategist Sisto Abeyta, former Bernalillo County GOP Chairman Rick Abraham, among others.

And among those "others" is none other than Gene Grant, the longtime host of KNME-TV's public affairs program "In Focus" who is also a former columnist for the ABQ Journal. Gene is one of the top political analysts in the state and we are looking forward to working with him once again.

And also joining us will be independent Catherine Trujillo who ran in that hotly contested District 5 city council race that is going to a run-off tonight.

Gene Grant
The Keller election night party will be at Hotel Andaluz and the Lewis event will be at the downtown Hyatt.

If you haven't voted yet, here are the polling locations that are open today from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Election Eve '17: Where We Are And How We Got There, Plus: Drama Drained From Mayor's Race But Aragon Vs. Borrego For Council Draws Eyeballs, And: Join Us For Our Election Special Today at 5 p.m. On 89.1 FM 

Joe Monahan (Bralley)
Join us today at 5 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com for our Election Eve special as we cover the final hours of Campaign '17 and prepare to bring you live, continuous Election Night coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. Now off to the trail. . .

Dan Lewis has been nearly contemptuous in the way he has dismissed Tim Keller in this mayoral race, casting him as an underachieving politician with a big blind spot when it comes to ethics. But the public sees something different and tomorrow night, unless there is an upset of epic proportions, the 39 year old Democratic State Auditor will soundly defeat his Republican rival and get his revenge for the unrelenting attacks Lewis administered to him during their more than 50 public appearances together.

The ABQ Journal poll released Sunday showing Keller at 53 percent to Lewis' 34 and 13 undecided wasn't even the final nail in the coffin. Lewis's political casket had been lowered into the ground the night of October 3 when he earned only 23 percent of the vote to Keller's 39 percent and the run-off limped forward.

Let's take a look at some of the factors that got us to where we are on this Election Eve.

THE SPENDING

R's are not often outspent in top competitive level races but it happened this time.

According to figures compiled by the Journal's Martin Salazar, Keller's publicly financed campaign received a total of $506,000 for the initial Oct. 3 election and the run-off. But the killer for Lewis was the $852,000 raised in support of Keller by political committees independent of his campaign.

That amounts to a total of $1.358 million for Keller, far surpassing any previous mayoral spending, including the $920,000 raised by Mayor Berry's 2013 re-election campaign.

It's true that unlike in '13 we have had two elections this cycle but Keller's number is nearly 50 percent higher then Berry's spending just four years ago.

Lewis, dealing with a divided GOP, raised a total of $847,000, not even close to Keller's count.

Keller's critics say his campaign made a farce of public financing because of those outside committees and that his administration will find itself too beholden to the labor interests that donated so much of that committee cash.

Perhaps, but Keller's spending left Lewis in the dust. In the final days, he struggled to keep a decent TV buy on the air.

ETHICS SCHMETHICS

Another reason for this polling blowout is Lewis' difficulty in getting his attacks over Keller's ethics to stick. It's even more difficult when Keller, in his role as State Auditor, continues to uncover ethics capers across the state, like the one at UNM that made headlines only days before the election:

The State Auditor released an audit Friday on the UNM Athletics Department, revealing the University has missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, due to what the audit calls “a lack of financial controls and confusion about responsibilities among staff.”

Lewis has had some success with the ethics complaints the R's have filed against Keller over how money was handled by his campaign but most won't be decided until after the election. That deprives Lewis of a clean hit on his foe, if the ethics board eventually goes his way.

KELLER TV DELUGE

Then there's the TV ads where Lewis has been so heavily outspent. We asked media watcher and ad buyer Chris Brown in Santa Fe for a final update on the ad buys in the mayoral run-off.

He says a small error on one station's spreadsheet reduces the Keller campaign buy from the previously reported $90,000 to $85,000. But the big media story  continues to be how Keller and the committees backing him have used a pile of cash to dominate Lewis on the airwaves:

Joe, We have the ABQ Forward Together committee supporting Keller spending $226,102 on TV for the run-off. Combined with the $90,000 from the Keller campaign, that's $316,000. Lewis' final total appears to  be $151,902. We end with Lewis being outspent on the air by a better than two to one margin. 

ANOTHER MEDIA PROBLEM

Then there's Lewis' other media problem, The reliably Republican ABQ Journal is twisted in knots over this election. First, they issue a bizarre dual endorsement in the October 3 balloting for Democrat Brian Colón and Dan Lewis. Then, on Thursday, apparently seeing the handwriting on the wall, they come with a rare endorsement of a Democrat for a top office, giving the nod to Keller over Republican Lewis.

The endorsement will do little to bolster Keller as it is mainly read by Republicans, but it hurt Lewis and R's we spoke with were not happy about it.

The waffling at the paper may reflect the economic stagnation and uncertainty in ABQ, where newspaper circulation continues to slide and advertising is more important than ever--including hefty government advertising.

Remember, it is not the editorial board, composed of the lowly ink-stained wretches, who decide who the newspaper ultimately endorses, it's the owners--the Lang family. They must navigate a dangerous landscape while riding the ultimate dinosaur.

ARAGON'S CANNON

Aragon
If Keller wins he will likely have only a short-lived honeymoon with the paper. That's clear as they were back to their predictable ways with an endorsement of Republican Robert Aragon over Dem Cynthia Borrego in the run-off for the District 5 westside city council seat.

Aragon is a card carrying member of the Governor's political machine who was defeated by Keller when the two ran for State Auditor in 2014. If elected, Aragon would likely become the opposition leader to Keller--an effort that would get full media coverage. No wonder Dems are working so hard for Borrego.

Aragon, 60, an attorney with a family political pedigree that goes back decades, is no plain thorn in the side. He showed his stuff at the NM Business Coalition job interviews where he swung at the ball hard and scored. The DNA of La Politica and the Movida runs thick in his bloodstream.

A who's who of GOP donors have flocked to Aragon, supplying him with ample cash as he tries to fend off what could be a Democratic wave in his swing district. Old political rivals in the NM GOP like Harvey Yates and Pat Rogers are united in their support of Aragon, both donating cash. Consultant Jay McCleskey is on the ground with Aragon, coordinating the mail strategy.

The R's desperately want Aragon in to thwart Keller. If Borrego and Keller win, Keller would have a veto proof city council majority of 6 to 3.

Again, whether Aragon wins tomorrow night could make a major difference in how a Keller administration would navigate the political waters. In other words, if Aragon is defeated Keller won't be dodging a bullet, he'll be dodging a cannon.

Aragon vs. Borrego will be front and center when we take to the KANW airwaves Election Night at 6:30 p.m. 

KLARRISSA, TIM AND ME

Keller and Pena
Also on the endorsement front, ABQ Dem City Councilor Klarrisa Pena finally came with an endorsement Thursday of fellow Dem Keller. She prefaced it by calling it "Better late than never" and said:

Joe Monahan, you’re an awesome dude but you got this one wrong. I have been a supporter of Tim’s long before his run for Mayor. He has been a champion for issues important to Albuquerque’s South West Area. As State Senator he provided dollars for the soon to be a reality Visitors Center atop of Nine Mile Hill on Central.

Well, to be truly awesome we'll have to do some work on our upper body muscles, but we appreciate the description.

As far as being wrong, we blogged October 31 that when it comes to Keller Councilor Pena appeared to be a hold out. At that time she had not issued an endorsement of Keller and her name was notably absent from a fund-raiser for Keller that listed all her fellow Democratic councilors as co-hosts. Does that make her "appear" to be a hold-out? You decide.

The Keller team said Pena's endorsement would come the week of the Oct. 31 blog, but it never did. Councilor Pena said a family emergency interfered with the endorsement and it finally came last Thurday with two days left in early voting.

Look, there's no doubt that Keller and Pena would be on the same page on a majority of issues, but their differences over the controversial Santolina development proposed for the far westside is not going away. That and other matters could color the relationship between the mayor and the council. And that's the news we predict you will be reading about down the line.

THE BOTTOM LINES

From a Senior Alligator:

Joe, Republican Wayne Johnson (who finished fourth in the Oct 3. mayoral balloting and did not make the run-off) does not have a Dan Lewis yard sign in front of his casa. When Wayne's signs came down, nothing replaced them. Maybe they ran out!

Is that what you call a sign of the times?

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2017

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