Thursday, November 07, 2019

"You Heard It Here First." Keller Preps Re-Elect Bid, Plus: Council Run-Off Election; "Fights Of the Past" Or Accountability? 

Keller Voting
"You can say you heard it hear first." So declared ABQ Mayor Tim Keller on our KANW-FM Election Night broadcast as he announced he will seek a second four year term in 2021. Already? Well, that's how it works these days. Keller is now only two years into the first term that he was elected to in 2017 but wants to send an early signal to potential foes that he is all in for another.

The youthful mayor, who turns 42 this month, is coming off an election win in which voters approved his proposed $14 million homeless shelter.

Unlike past mayors he waded deeply into the city council elections this year, endorsing Councilor Pat Davis who won big, Councilor Ike Benton who will go to a run-off with Zack Quintero and Ane Romero who has a December 10 run-off with Republican Brook Bassan.

Early in his term Keller won council approval of a tax hike to improve public safety, although he had told voters he would ask for their approval but didn't. His problem is the continuing high crime rate. BernCo Sheriff Manny Gonzales shook up the city political scene when he would not rule out a 2021 run for mayor. There could be others who seize on the issue, if crime remains troublesome. But it won't be easy ousting Keller who won with 62 percent of the vote in '17. No first term ABQ mayor has lost a re-election bid since Jim Baca in 2001.


Councilor Davis says his victory for a second four years on the council shows that the electorate "isn't focused on divisive fights of the past."

He is referring to the controversial ART project on Central Ave. that was one of the biggest public works disasters in the history of the city and which he supported. While Davis dodged the ART bullet, it is still out there.

As we mentioned, Davis' fellow progressive, Councilor Benton, faces a run-off election with opponent Zack Quintero who is sure to continue to hammer at Benton's support of ART as well as the high crime rate that has ABQ ranked at or near the top.

While Davis argues voters want to put the "fights" over these pressing concerns behind them, others argue that it is not about fighting but about accountability. The current council pushed through ART and has presided over historic rates of murder and property crime.

Benton will now be called on to defend his record. Judging by the results of the first round he has a pretty good chance of prevailing. Still, the campaign won't be about putting the "fights of the past" in the rearview mirror but about the duty of the voters to judge the performance and capability of their elected officials. If they don't do that, there's not much sense in having an election.


Benton can't let Quintero consolidate the Hispanic vote in a two way run-off and he's off to a good start in preventing that. The day after the election unsuccessful District 2 hopeful Joesph Griego endorsed Benton:

Councilor Benton has built the relationships that we need to grow, he has committed to me to work on the issues I care about. . . I am proud to join Mayor Keller, Congresswoman Haaland, and Senator Heinrich in supporting Isaac Benton for City Council.

That's the good news for Benton. The bad news? Griego finished last in the six person race Tuesday, garnering just 5.76 percent of the vote.


Our ABQ election coverage took up several weeks of blog space and some readers in other parts of our enchanted land feel left out. Reader Clara Lopez writes from Las Cruces:

Joe, I've almost stopped reading your blog because of how heavy the coverage of Abq City Council has been. The Las Cruces local elections were really exciting, ranked choice voting debuted, turn out was big, and there were more candidates for mayor than in the last 30 years. Yet not a word about it except a passing mention a month ago. Meanwhile, I know any time someone sneezes in the ABQ city council race. If the 2nd biggest city in the state gets no coverage, no wonder rural new Mexicans get sick of the power concentration up north. Hope that's some food for thought. .

Well, Clara we also covered the Las Cruces election on our Election Day blog. The reason we did not  do more is because the Mayor's race there never was that competitive. Popular Mayor Ken Miyagishima easily won a fourth four year term.

However, we understand your angst and will now get back to covering a broader swath of La Politica. But we have to get up to speed. Is MLG still Governor? And where the heck is Howie Morales, anyway?

Thanks for stopping by this week.

Reporting from Albuquerque I'm Joe Monahan.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (newsguy@yahoo.com)

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

Richardson Center Covid-19 Relief for New Mexico Richardson Center Covid-19 Relief for New Mexico Cash Assistance for Colonias/ Dona Ana Residents Cash Assistance for Colonias/ Dona Ana Residents Cash Assistance for Colonias/ Dona Ana Residents
website design by limwebdesign