Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Keller Team Labels Gonzales "GOP Establishment Candidate", His Early Donations Mainly From R's; Hires GOP Consultant; Sheriff Says He Welcomes Support "From All", Plus: ABQ's Stalled Out Congress Campaign  

ABQ Mayor Tim Keller's campaign is warning city Democrats that conservative Dem BernCo Sheriff Manny Gonzales is the de facto Republican candidate in the 2021 mayoral contest. 

They say that's because he's relying on R's to garner qualifying donations for public financing and by hiring longtime Republican political consultant Jay McCleskey.

Keller campaign manager Neri Holguin came with this: 

Gonzales has hired Republican Jay McCleskey and so far 80 percent of his qualifying donations are from Republicans. Gonzales is the Republican establishment candidate.

In a TV interview following his mayoral announcement this month Gonzales said it's time for the city to set partisanship aside and that he welcomed support from members of all political parties.

Gonzales and Keller are expected to be the only two candidates who qualify for public financing of $661,000. 

After the first week of collections Keller reports to the city clerk that he has collected 595 of the required $5 donations and Gonzales reports 452. 

A third candidate, progressive independent Nicholas Bevins, collected only 15 donations, a sign that he is likely to come up short.

Contenders need 3,779 donations by June 19 to get the public cash.

Holguin said employees of McCleskey's media firm are being employed to collect donations for the sheriff. Keller's campaign has also hired help.  

In addition to public financing, Keller and Gonzales will have independent committees working on their behalf. They can collect unlimited private donations but are prohibited from coordinating with the official campaigns. 

Two such committees have registered to back Gonzales, including one headed by Sam Vigil, a Democrat whose wife was brutally murdered at the couple's westside driveway. A Keller committee is headed by progressive activist and consultant Michelle Mayorga.

The hiring of McCleskey by Gonzales gives the Dems a chance to pigeonhole the two term sheriff as a replica of former GOP Mayor RJ Berry and former Gov Susana Martinez, both of whose elections were engineered by McCleskey and who held sway over policy during their administrations. 


Radio talk show host, Republican and avid Trump backer Eddy Aragon told us Monday he will not be launching a mayoral candidacy, after speculation that he might:

I don't have the motivation to run. I have a business to attend to but I will continue to point out the wrong direction the NMGOP is taking including the role of Steve Pearce and Jay McCleskey. Republicans are backing Democrat Gonzales and that is traitorous. Not to mention that the current crime wave has happened under Gonzales' watch.

Aragon recently ran second to Mark Moores for the GOP central committee nomination for the vacant ABQ congressional seat up for election June 1.

The ABQ election is officially nonpartisan but that's become a fig leaf. 

The GOP establishment labels Aragon tempestuous and a danger to the party's prospects but no Republican is actively running.

At the November 2 election a mayoral candidate is required to get 50 percent of the vote or else there is a runoff election between the two top vote-getters about a month later. 


The ABQ congressional race is a stalled out, low interest affair. That's fine with Democrats who think the Republican candidacy of ABQ State Senator Mark Moores has hit the wall and that conservative independent Aubery Dunn is tugging at Moores' coattails to their advantage. 

Moores has fired another negative TV salvo at Stansbury. This one alleges she is for defunding the police, but like his attack on her position on repealing the state tax on Social Security, the ad does not offer citations for its claims. 

The Stansbury campaign appeared underwhelmed and even left a response to the ad to the state Dem Party instead of directly taking on Moores. 

There is no public polling on the race but you don't need Mark Ronchetti to tell you which way the wind is blowing on this one. If the Dems decide to lock Stansbury in a cabin in Chama until the June 1 election, you'll understand why.

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