<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Monday, October 23, 2017

Halfway There: ABQ Mayoral Run-off Has 3 Weeks To Go; Where The Race Stands Today, Plus: How Keller Did It; Numbers Tell The Tale; He Carried 8 Of 9 Council Districts; Turnout for Oct. 3 Election Passes 100,000 Mark  

Three weeks to go in the ABQ mayoral run-off and the marching orders for the candidates are clear: Republican Dan Lewis needs to throw Hail Marys and Democrat Tim Keller needs to avoid a major mistake.

The first three weeks leading up to the Nov. 14 election have been a mostly off-the-radar affair, but that's about to change as the media campaigns gear up for the final three weeks. Early in-person voting begins citywide this Wednesday, giving a greater sense of urgency for Lewis, who trailed Keller 49 to 36 percent in the first public poll conducted for KOB-TV immediately after the October 3 balloting.

In the early going Lewis has come with a TV spot attacking Keller on crime. There was also one debate between the pair but these events have not changed the expectation that this election is going to break along partisan lines, meaning Keller is still in the driver's seat.

Lewis' financial report filed Friday was decent, but it showed no signs of his candidacy breaking out of partisan boundaries, with contributions coming almost exclusively from the usual GOP donors.

Lewis has raised about $200,000 for the run-off, bought over $60,000 in TV time to carry him to the end of this week and has $155,000 in cash.

Keller is receiving $125,000 in public financing and a political committee supporting him has about $92,000 in cash. That makes him competitive with Lewis.

A political committee independent of Lewis has yet to raise any money but we're told they will. Will it be significant enough to give Lewis a decided cash advantage?

As for that anti-Keller committee backed by developers of the controversial Santolina west side planned community, we reported Thursday they were back in the race, but it turns out they so far have spent little on the TV ad that they first aired against Keller in the initial round of voting. Veteran media consultant Chris brown in Santa Fe informs:

So far in the run-off, they only bought 2 spots on KRQE and 4x on KOB for $3,440 total. One of them was in the 10pm KRQE News. They are now dark again unless new orders are pending posting.

Is Santolina done or will they come with another wave against Keller? We'll keep watching.

THE DAUNTING TASK

Underdog Lewis will have ample opportunity to try to force Keller to fumble the ball. The pair is scheduled to engage in three TV debates, the first of which will be this Sunday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. on KOAT-TV. 

The daunting task facing Lewis is clear from analysis provided by Steve Cabiedes of SC Consulting:

In the eight way election Oct. 3 Keller carried eight of the nine city council districts. In Councilor Lewis' home district on the westside he beat Keller by the not overwhelming margin of 36.4% to 27.6%. 

The Keller wins included the usually deep Republican District 8 in the far Northeast Heights. That has to be particularly troubling to Lewis.

Keller's appeal to conservative independents--who have apparently been impressed by his aggressive performance as State Auditor--is another worry point for the GOP hopeful.

Lewis seems to have at least a small opening with Dem Hispanic voters, some of whom have been lukewarm to the Keller candidacy and its progressive tilt. Notably, the first Lewis TV spot shows a Hispanic woman being threatened by a criminal attack.

Still, the ledger favors Keller. He has endorsements from the unions representing police officers and firefighters which he can use to defend against Lewis' "hug a thug" accusation. And the ABQ Fraternal Order of Police has now joined the Keller camp, issuing this endorsement:

We wholeheartedly endorsed Tim Keller because he is the best candidate to stand up for front-line police officers and attack the crime crisis in Albuquerque," said President Bob Martinez.

That's more rebuttal power for Keller as Lewis begins to come with even starker charges against him as the run-off nears its final days.

KELLER BY THE NUMBERS

By any definition October 3 was an impressive win for Keller. As we reported above, he carried eight of the nine city council districts, managed 39 percent of the vote in an eight person field and kept Lewis at bay in his home westside council district.

The run-off was triggered because no candidate received 50 percent of the vote. Lewis came in second to Keller with 23 percent.

The final vote total for the mayor's race broken down by city council district, including the total votes and the percentage each candidate earned, is here.

Two numbers stand out in the post-election analysis compiled from the city by SC Consulting: Keller garnered 59 percent in liberal SE Heights District 6, part of which he used to represent as a state senator. And in District 2, which makes up a large part of the liberal North Valley, Keller trounced the field, getting 55 percent of the vote.

Those districts now look like like cornerstones of the victory that he could put together Nov. 14.  Ominously, Lewis finished 4th in both Districts 6 and 2.

The weakness in Keller's Hispanic numbers are shown in Valley District 3 where he eked out a first place showing, coming with 29.4 percent to Brian Colón's 28.7 percent. But District 3 traditionally has the lowest turnout in the city. It did Oct. 3 and it likely will Nov. 14. Also, in the end it is a Democratic district and that will help Keller.

In the October 3 balloting 63 percent of the vote was cast for Democratic candidates--Keller, Brian Colón, Gus Pedrotty and Susan Wheeler-Deischel. Thirty-seven percent was cast for Republicans Lewis, Wayne Johnson, Ricardo Chaves and independent Michelle Garcia Holmes.

(In the first draft of the blog Thursday we had Garcia Holmes getting 7 percent. She received 4 percent.)

As you can see, it appears it is going to take more than a negative campaign against Keller to beat him. Lewis will need Keller to make a big mistake or a series of them that dampen enthusiasm for him with Democrats and independents. And Lewis will have to get a robust showing of Republicans, even as Wayne Johnson, his main GOP  rival Johnson from October 3, refuses to endorse him.

TURNOUT HIT 100K

Total turnout for the election went over the 100 thousand mark for the first time, coming at 100.050 according to SC Consulting working from the city canvass. That's 30 percent of the registered voters. Just shy of 97,000 of them voted in the mayoral race.

In the 2001 mayoral election 99,695 voted, up until now the historic high.  That represented 42 percent of the registered voters that year, but  the purging of the voter rolls back then was more stringent. Today the rolls are more bloated with nonvoters staying on the rolls longer. So all in all it was a strong turnout for ABQ.

Bu the way, Cabiedes asked us to let you know his firm is hiring employees to go door-to-door to gather petition signatures for the 2018 statewide candidates. Job seekers can call 715-8521 or email scconsultingnm@gmail.com

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Santolina Back In Mayor's Race: Ad Hitting Keller On Sex Offenders Back On Air, Plus: Colón Goes For Keller  

Despite heavy doses of criticism sent their way Santolina is back in the mayor's race.

The developers of the controversial westside planned community are again backing a political action committee that is airing the same TV spot it used against Democrat Tim Keller in the initial October 3 mayoral balloting.

The dark and foreboding ad, featuring terrified children and a hooded offender, accuses Keller of coddling sex offenders because of a 2011 vote he took in the state Senate. It received heaps of attention as well as scorn.

The bill would have prohibited local governments from adopting rules or laws restricting where sex offenders could live. But it would have allowed distance restrictions for a registered sex offender’s residence as a condition of probation or parole. The bill was voted down.provisions contained in that bill were subsequently included in a 2013 sex offender registration law approved by a near unanimous vote in the Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

Updated Friday: The Santolina initial buy is small and it remains to be seen if they will increase the exposure in the days ahead. Veteran media consultant Chris Brown reports:

So far they only bought 2 spots on KRQE and 4x on KOB for $3,440 total. One of them was in the 10pm KRQE News. They are now dark again unless new orders are pending posting.

Perhaps Santolina is trying to get Keller to the table and using this smallish hit as a warning that more could come if he doesn't?

Santolina did not get its way and on October 3 Keller scored 39 percent of the vote in a an eight way race, with Republican Dan Lewis finishing far back in second with 23 percent. Keller and Lewis then entered the Nov. 14 run-off with Keller as the heavy favorite and polling leader.

Keller opted to publicly finance his campaign and has only $125,000 to spend in the run-off. However, a political committee backing him is again raising money and can be expected to air its own TV ads in support of Keller.

However this week Lewis and Santolina, who see Keller an an anti-growth progressive Democrat, have had the TV playing field to themselves.

Lewis' first run-off ad is up and running and also attacks Keller on crime, saying he voted against the death penalty for "child killers" and also sites the sex offender vote.

Lewis needs to raise money and his early TV appears aimed at cementing support among R's and moving the polling numbers closer so GOP donors will get out their wallets.

No word yet on how much the Santolina-backed PAC is spending against Keller. The committee came with about $60,000 in negative ads in the Oct. 3 election.

Our veteran media watcher, Chris Brown in Santa Fe, reports that Lewis' initial TV buy is for 230 spots from Oct. 14-27, totals about $62,000 and includes all four broadcast networks.

Never mind that sex offenders are way off the radar when it comes to the ABQ crime epidemic. We are first in the nation in auto theft, near the top in property crime and NM  is the second most violent state in the USA.

Lewis and Santolina think an emotional reaction to the sex offender accusations will push Keller into a corner. It is a high-stakes, long-shot gamble spurred on by Keller's double-digit polling lead.

RIO REDUCTION 

Rio Strategies, the ABQ political consulting firm Tim Keller is using and that has become popular with Democratic candidates in recent cycles, is getting its popularity pared. Dem Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver confirms she is no longer a Rio Strategies client and has signed consultant Heather Brewer to handle her 2018 re-election bid.

Meanwhile, we've confirmed through a reliable source that the campaign of Dem Guv candidate Jeff Apodaca and Rio Strategies have also parted company. We have not heard a specific reason but the source says the split was "amiable."

Rio has consulted mainly Dem progressives so it was surprising when Apodaca--a centrist Dem--announced he had hired Rio. Its other clients have included ABQ city councilor and congressional candidate Pat Davis.

Rio Strategies is led by consultant Alan Packman, who got his start here in the 2008 US House campaign of Martin Heinrich. Last month he and Rio became embroiled in an ethics battle with the GOP when Keller's publicly financed mayoral campaign accepted checks made out directly to Rio Strategies and labeled them "in-kind" donations. The R's argue this is a violation of the public finance law. Keller's campaign disagrees and the matter is pending before the city ethics board.

ON THE ROAD

We took note on the Tuesday blog of one of the first joint public appearances of the three major Dem Guv candidates at an ABQ South Valley matanza. Now the three are taking their show on the road. All three Dem contenders will appear at a fund-raiser in Las Cruces Monday, Nov. 20 to support state Dem State House candidates in next year's election. The $100 per person ($150 a couple) fund-raiser will be held at the home of House Democratic Majority Whip Doreen Gallegos.

COLON GOES KELLER

His meetings with both mayoral run-off candidates in the wake of his own mayoral loss entertained blog readers but now, as expected, former NM Dem Party Chairman Brian Colón, who finished third in the Oct 3 balloting, has officially endorsed fellow Dem Tim Keller:

From the beginning of the campaign it was clear Tim and I shared far more in our vision for this city than we differed on. That is why I am endorsing his campaign. Tim is from Albuquerque and is raising his young family here—just like I did. He is committed to helping not just the privileged few, but every single one of us who believe that Albuquerque has the potential to be a safe and smart city. We need a leader like Tim who will move past hateful rhetoric and focus on the things that bring us together and make us stronger. Please join me and stand with Team Keller! 

Colón's support for Keller could help him with Hispanics from which Brian drew considerable support. Meanwhile, where's that endorsement of Dan Lewis from his Republican mayoral rival Wayne Johnson? We're still waiting. . .

But Dan did get a consolation prize. Independent mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes, who finished 6th out of 8 candidates, getting 4 percent of the vote in the Oct. 3 balloting, has endorsed his candidacy, saying:

Dan, like me, is pro-life and cares about babies, women and children in our city.

Hey, Michelle, you forgot the American flag and Apple pie. He's for them too.

Thanks for being with us this week. We'll see you back here Monday. 

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The First Pic Together Of The Three Who Would Be Guv, Plus: The Politics Behind The Martinez Water Battle, And: The Big Reason Dunn Is Done For Congress 

Apodaca, Grisham and Cervantes
Here they are, pictured for the first time together in public--the three major candidates for the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. And if history is any guide, it's a good bet that one of them will be the next Governor of New Mexico.

On the left is former TV executive Jeff Apodaca, whose political pedigree includes being the son of Jerry Apodoca, who was elected Governor in 1974.

In the center is the current front-runner, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the diminutive former BernCo Commissioner who is now an ABQ congresswoman and who once again is seeking bigger things.

And there's Dona Ana County State Senator Joe Cervantes, scion of a longtime agricultural family in the Mesilla Valley, who is already loaning himself major dollars to compete with Grisham, who is far ahead in the never-ending money chase.

None of these three possess the big personality of former Governors like Bruce King or Bill Richardson. It will take New Mexicans time to get to know them. But one of them is likely to be the next Governor because the state has had two terms of Republican Governor Martinez and it is rare for any party to get a third consecutive lease on the executive mansion.

Will Grisham avoid the big stumble and if she doesn't who would benefit? Cervantes? Apodaca? Or will Grisham make this a sleeper and quickly consolidate the Democratic Party behind her, leaving Cervantes and Apodaca to split whatever opposition is left?

Right now Grisham is the one smiling in the photo taken at the recent matanza thrown by ABQ Dem State Senator Michael Padilla. Cervantes and Apodaca have to be wondering just what it will take to wipe that smile from her face.

WATER POLITICS 

Tom Blaine 
The esoteric world of the State Engineer, the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), complicated water rights and Gov. Martinez's ability to influence all of the above exploded into the headlines this month when three members of the ISC--including Republicans appointed by Martinez--abruptly quit the panel. That forced the Governor to quickly make new appointments to the ISC.

The resignation that really caught the eyes of La Politica was from ISC Chairman Caleb Chandler of Clovis. His son, Matt Chandler, is a charter member of the Governor's political machine.

So what's going on? We asked one of our readers with years of experience in all things agua and who wishes to remain anonymous, to tell us about the politics behind the upheaval:

Joe, the Interstate Stream Commission has lost all but two of its senior staff and their institutional knowledge. State Engineer Tom Blaine has taken over the ISC, which would require the Governor’s blessing. The Governor has starved the ISC of staff and resources and depleted its special purpose funds to pay for routine operations. Now, even Governor Martinez’s appointed Republican Chairman Chandler has resigned. The ISC will have to be rebuilt under the next Governor, and it must be reformed and made non-partisan at the same time.

One trigger for the brouhaha is the ISC’s protest of water rights applications before the State Engineer that could impact compliance with New Mexico’s interstate water obligations. The application by Italian billionaire Bruno Modena's Augustin Plains Ranch to speculatively import mined groundwater to the Rio Grande is the most prominent, and appears to be the reason the State Engineer fired ISC Director Deborah Dixon.

Remember that State Engineer Tom Blaine resurrected the defective application after former State Engineer Scott Verhines rejected it as fundamentally insufficient, a judgment that was also reached independently by District Court Judge Reynolds. You may remember that this project appeared as NM’s entry on President Trump’s priority infrastructure projects list, one project per state. Rumor has it this project is a favorite of the Governor. Campaign contributions involved?

Regarding the lead sentence, here is the tally of recent ISC senior staff casualties; Director Deborah Dixon was fired. These employees were the victims of  the current conflict with the State Engineer or austerity policies:  Colorado River Bureau Chief Kevin Flanigan, Special Projects Bureau Chief Craig Roepke, General Counsel Amy Haas, Acting General Counsel Kim Bannerman, and Rio Grande technical guru Nabil Shafike (PhD, PE) are gone within the last six months or so. Kim Abeyta-Martinez, the chief financial person, is retiring early at the end of the month. Remaining bureau are Rolf Schmidt-Petersen (Rio Grande) and Hannah Riseley-White (Pecos). Hannah is relatively new.

Man, that is deep insider stuff that really lets us know what is going on.

A DONE DUNN

Let's stick with the esoteric to close out the Wednesday blog. Here's pretty much why GOP State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn suddenly quit seeking the GOP nomination for the southern congressional seat. The oil boys eased him out:

Two southeast New Mexico companies have filed a lawsuit against state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn, alleging a policy aimed at curbing how much water oil and natural gas producers can take from a massive aquifer is usurping water rights that stretch back to the 1960s. The two companies, Loco Hills Water Solution and Steve Carter, Inc., have drilled water wells on state trust land in Lea County and transport and sell the water to oil and natural gas drilling outfits, according to the complaint filed last week in state district court in Lovington.

Oil and gas financial support is critical for anyone who wants to represent the southern CD. Always has been. The quirky rancher Dunn, however, wanted to do it his way. Now he's done.

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, October 17, 2017

Campaign Heat: Keller's Turn To Unload; Dem Mayor Hopeful Matches Lewis Attack For Attack; Plus: Money Race For Two Open Congress Seats; Where They Stand 

After Dan Lewis threw the kitchen sink at him in the first major mayoral debate Sunday, Tim Keller has now filled a lunch bucket to the brim with accusations against Lewis. And, suddenly, the race is fully joined.

Lewis unloaded both barrels at the Temple Albert debate, slamming Democrat Keller on a myriad of issues, most especially on what Lewis says is Keller's "hug a thug" crime platform.

Some Keller confidants were concerned that Keller did not fire directly at Lewis at that first confrontation but they can put their worry beads away. Apparently Keller got the message that he is now engaged in a knock-down, drag-out brawl with Lewis as well as the state GOP which joined the fray Monday, going after Keller's campaign consultants.

Here's how it's all coming down. . .

Keller came with something akin to a greatest hits list on City Councilor Lewis, even mentioning the name of the unpopular incumbent mayor:

Albuquerque voters made their voice heard at the ballot box by voting for a new direction for our city and a fresh start after years of mismanagement and finger-pointing from Dan Lewis and RJ Berry,” said Keller. 

--Dan Lewis cut frontline APD officers from the budget.
--Dan Lewis voted against retaining APD officers while we faced a shortage.
--Dan Lewis’ “good friend” Pastor Steve Smothermon recently made his endorsement of the extreme candidate claiming Lewis would “oppose the gay agenda.”

You get the idea. Look for a more aggressive Keller in the TV debates and forums. Lewis has shown himself to be adept at attack politics and now it's Keller's turn to fight him off and protect his big polling lead.

GOP POPS UP

The ABQ mayoral race is technically nonpartisan. No political parties are listed next to the names of the candidates, but that fig leaf was shredded years ago. And Monday the state GOP put itself in the middle of the campaign, trying to put some dust in Keller's eyes with this:

(The NM GOP) is calling upon all relevant government agencies to review Tim Keller’s practice of funneling potentially illegal campaign contributions through his political consultant in order to collect more cash in his run for mayor. As a publicly financed candidate, Keller is directly prohibited from raising additional funds, but he was caught running a scam in which donors would make cash donations to his political consultant, whose services were deemed “in-kind” by the Keller campaign. This scheme allowed Keller to pay campaign salaries and other campaign expenditures with cash collected outside his agreement to fund his campaign with public funds.

Keller's campaign denies there was any wrongdoing when his consultants--Rio Strategies--accepted cash as in-kind donations. A complaint is pending before the city ethics board. Whether there will be a decision before the Nov. 14 election is unknown.

LEWIS AND PEARCE

Tim Keller had Sen. Heinrich weigh in with an endorsement of him in the mayoral run-off. Now Republican Dan Lewis comes with his own congressional endorsement--that of Rep. Steve Pearce, the odds-on favorite to be the GOP Guv nominee next year:

Albuquerque needs a leader who will both make the city safe and move the city forward. . . Dan is a leader on demanding public safety and accountability. He knows how to create jobs and put people to work and he values education as the foundation for success. He will make sure police are patrolling the streets and locking away the criminals that threaten families and communities. I support Dan Lewis for mayor and I look forward to working with him. . . 

Speaking of Pearce, he is not the odds-on favorite to become the next governor, but his relentless drive and military like precision in campaigning has the Democrats talking. They are not taking him lightly.

WHERE'S WAYNE?

While Pearce is a needed endorsement for Lewis, the Alligators immediately asked where is the Lewis endorsement from BernCo Commissioner Wayne Johnson who launched attack TV ads against Lewis during the Oct. 3 election, but finished in fourth place in the eight person field.

Johnson received 9,000 mostly Republican votes that Lewis must have if he is to eke out a win against Keller. Johnson partisans signaled in September that Johnson would not be endorsing Lewis. So far that prediction is holding up, but there's a long way to go.

Finally on the mayoral front, reader Rick Lass wants to know why ABQ is even having a mayoral run-off:

Hi Joe, This reader wants to know why Albuquerque has not adopted Ranked Choice Voting for its elections. Instead, the city is going to spend what, $1million, on a low turnout runoff. Why not just ask voters to indicate their second choices on election day, and save everybody the expense and trouble of having to come back and do it all again in November?

A point for discussion, Rick, as turnout for the run-off could be dramatically lower than the October 3 election.

BIG THREE 

Former US Attorney Damon Martinez flexed some money muscle out of the gate as he entered the competition for the Dem nomination for the ABQ congressional seat being vacated by Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham. Martinez raised $161,000 since announcing his bid in July and loaned himself another $50,000. He reports to the FEC that he had $189,000 cash on Sept. 30, the end of the reporting period.

With that, Martinez has elbowed himself into the top tier of this crowded eight person battle (eight if you count retired journalist Tom Flores who has not raised anything yet).

That means we now have a "Big Three" list for the nomination: Martinez, retired law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and former NM Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland--and not necessarily in any order.

ABQ City Councilor Pat Davis needs something to happen. He has raised $139,000 and has $52,000 in cash, compared to $339,000 raised by Sedillo Lopez and $262,000 for Haaland who along with Davis have been raising money most of the year.

Sedillo Lopez reports $240,000 in cash on hand; Damon Martinez $189,000 and Haaland $162,000.

Attorney Damian Lara is pushing hard to break through, loaning himself $125,000 and raising $63,000. He has $138,000 in cash so he will be making some noise.

DAMON'S ODD INTERVIEW

Martinez
While former US Attorney Martinez has to be happy with his cash haul, his foes have surfaced a somewhat bizarre public TV interview he recently conducted.

The 40 minute sit down was prompted by allegations of racial profiling made over a four-month federal government drug and firearms sting operation that occurred under Martinez's watch in the ABQ SE Heights. It resulted in the arrest of many low-level offenders who were disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

Martinez answered just about all the questions by saying he could not answer the questions because of ethics and other regulations. So why give the interview in the first place? That's something his foes are asking and that we could hear (and maybe see) more of now that he has vaulted into the inner circle of congressional contenders.

GOP ABQ CONGRESS

The ABQ congressional district is nearly deep blue and winning the Dem nomination next June will be tantamount yo winning the seat in November. The evidence? GOP hopeful and former State Rep. Janice Anrold-Jones reports raising only $12,000 in the latest quarter.

The only good news for Janice is that she is now the sole candidate for the GOP nod. Attorney Michel Hendricks has quit the race but announced he will seek the GOP nomination for attorney general next year. Attorney General Balderas, a Dem, is seeking a second, four year term.

SOUTHERN ACTION

Former Hobbs Mayor and ex-state GOP Chairman Monty Newman is on top in the money race to fill the seat being vacated by Rep. Steve Pearce who is running for Governor. And Newman made a splash getting there.

He raised over $315,000 and has nearly all of it--$311,000--sitting in cash. Not surprisingly, much of Newman's loot came from the oil and gas industry so dominant in SE NM and also from Newman's fellow realtors.

Alamogordo GOP State Rep. Yvette Herrell is the other name candidate in this four way contest. She reported raising $129,000 and had $123,00 in cash as of Sept. 30.

The nomination will very likely go to one of those two. Newman's early financial dominance puts Herrell on notice. However, Herrell's support among party regulars like former NM House Speaker Don Tripp who gave to Harrell, could be a big factor at next March's preprimary convention. That gives Newman reason to pause.

This one is all red all the time. No Dems need apply, although a number are running. Newman or Herrell is very likely your next southern congressional representative.

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, October 16, 2017

Lewis Starts His Steep Climb; Attacks Keller In 1st TV Ad As Weak On Crime; Throws Kitchen Sink At Him In Sunday Debate, Plus: Zinging Zunie; GOP Lt. Guv Candidate Finds Tax Trouble; Opening For MoreCandidates? 

Dan Lewis' long-shot mayoral campaign fired its first volley at front-runner Tim Keller, releasing a TV ad that paints him as extremely soft on crime and in doing so resurrects a charge against the Democratic candidate that fell flat in the first round of voting earlier this month.

The Lewis ad is dark--both literally and figuratively. It shows a woman walking to her car in the dead of night being stalked by a man in a hoodie. She repeatedly looks behind her shoulder as the narrator ominously details Keller's crime record as a candidate and former state senator. At the end of the ad the potential attacker (not shown) is in the face of the woman as she struggles to open her car door and reacts frantically: The transcript:

Tim Keller says he’ll keep us safe but his record tells a different story. Keller voted to abolish the death penalty for child killers and rapists. Keller said no to laws that keep convicted sexual predators from living near their victims, and Keller won’t call out catch and release judges who dump violent criminals back on the street. Now…does Tim Keller make you feel safe?

The ad recalls a vote that Keller took as a state senator regarding where sexual predators could live. That vote was the focus of another dark TV ad by the developers of the controversial Santolina development project on the west side. The developer spent some $60,000 on the ads in the Oct. 3 election--also featuring dark and fearful imagery--but the effort failed to move the numbers against Keller who bested Lewis by 16 points (39 to 23) and took first place.

Lewis is so far behind Keller in the early polling for the Nov. 14 run-off--49-36 percent--that he has no choice but to attack. Some of our analysts thought the ad would help Lewis consolidate the GOP vote and move him up. But a pro-Keller analyst says the ad is not going to be a game-changer:

Lewis didn't learn from the Santolina strategy on Keller. Voters didn't buy these scary ads because they were too over the top. This is over the top. It doesn't look like Albuquerque. Lewis' imagery is too stark and doesn't show that anything that Keller voted on resulted in more crimes being committed. They have to do more than just try to scare the living daylights out of people. People voted for Keller to take things in a new direction. As the underdog they have to not just identify what's wrong with Keller but show they've got something better. This ad doesn't do that.

The first mayoral votes will be cast this week as the city clerk begins sending out absentee ballots today so Lewis is fighting the clock. He pressed his negative campaign by unveiling a website titled the thekellercon.com.

POUNDING AWAY

Cambodia 
And Lewis continued pounding away at the Dem state auditor at the mayoral debate held Sunday at Temple Albert, scoring former Senator Keller for not supporting the death penalty for "cop killers" and "child killers." But is Lewis overreaching?

While polling may show the death penalty for the most heinous crimes is popular, it is not a top of the mind issue like home burglaries, widespread auto theft, hold-ups and lawlessness on the streets and freeways. The death penalty may help Lewis seal his GOP base that he divided with Wayne Johnson in the first round but might not do much more. Still, when you're down 13 points, kids, you gotta do something . .

Lewis did turn the debate into a vigorous affair as he unloaded the proverbial kitchen sink on Keller accusing him, among other things, of running a "sweatshop" in Cambodia but Keller held his own, giving the audience a taste for more of the confrontations.

Here is the complete video of the debate courtesy of KNME-TV.


COFFEE WITH COLON

We blogged last week of a breakfast meeting at the Barelas Coffee House between Keller and fellow Dem Brian Colón who finished third in the initial mayoral balloting. Keller can be expected to get an endorsement from Colón, a former chair of the NM Democratic Party, but the intrigue grew some when the Alligators reported another meeting--this one between Colón and Lewis at a valley Starbucks the day after he met with Keller.

Question: Was Colón meeting with the mayoral candidates in his role as a former contender or as an associate of the Robles, Rael and Anaya law firm that has many large legal contracts with the city of ABQ and the state and is a frequent campaign contributor?

MONEY CHASE

There will be an outside committee raising and spending money for Lewis, we've learned. The Coalition for a Better ABQ, we're told, will be headed by ABQ attorney Simon Kubiak. How much it raises and how fast will be something to watch. Our sources say the committee will focus on anti-Keller messaging rather than promoting Lewis.

Keller is publicly financing his campaign and gets about $125,000 for the run-off. But the outside committee that helped him with several hundred thousand dollars of support in the Oct. 3 election is back for the Nov. 14 contest.

Another question: Will Lewis raise significantly more for his campaign than the $125K Keller is getting? Maybe, but he is going to have to move those polling numbers fast if the contributions are going to pour in.

THE NUMBERS

The daunting task facing Lewis as the run-off starts to heat up is revealed in the numbers. The base Republican and conservative vote in the city is about 42 percent. Democratic performance in the city is in the area of 55 percent. And 55 percent of those who voted October 3 were women, according to veteran consultant Steve Cabiedes. That's one reason why Lewis' first TV ad shows a woman being stalked as she makes her way to her car.

HEINRICH ENDORSES

Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich, a former ABQ city councilor and often a favorite of the Dem progressives but perhaps not as much as in the old days, comes with this for Keller:

Albuquerque is at a crossroads. The direction we take our city is in our hands – that’s why I am endorsing Tim Keller for Mayor. Tim has the right vision for Albuquerque, but more importantly, he has the experience to make his vision a reality for our city.

While on the council Heinrich represented a large swath of the Democratic SE Heights where Keller hopes to score big Election Night.

THE GUV CHASE

We noted last week that Ed Romero, longtime Dem activist, former US Ambassador to Spain and longtime friend of the Apodaca family, endorsed Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, not Jeff Apodaca. Romero comes with this response:

My decision, which was a difficult one for me to make, was made solely on the basis of Rep. Lujan-Grisham's experience and accomplishments. . .She has always listened and has been responsive to her constituents. I have admired her energy and commitment. Your "theory" that I felt compelled to endorse her because she was "tighter" with the Clintons is wrong. To my knowledge, the Apodaca family has as much, if not closer, warm and personal relationship with them as either the Congresswoman or I have. 

 The Clintons and Apodacas have been great friends for many years. I also have enormous respect and admiration for them - which includes Jeff, I find it insulting and juvenile for you to base my support for the Congresswomen based on your "theory." I think that our distinguished Congresswoman would also. 

President Clinton appointed Romero ambassador to Spain. Over the years he has been amajor fund-raiser for the Clintons. In June of 2015 he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton at his ABQ home. He also hosted a fund-raiser for her in ABQ when she ran for president in 2008 and he also raised funds for Bill Clintons two presidential campaigns. Clara Apodaca, mother of Jeff Apodaca, has also been a frequent contributor to the Clintons.

ZINGING ZUNIE

She got off to a good start, but GOP lieutenant governor candidate Kelly Zunie has just been zinged, and it could mean she will soon have company in her race for the Republican nomination. The news:

Zunie said that she’s working to resolve unpaid tax bills. . . Zunie,  who worked for two-plus years as the Cabinet secretary of the Department of Indian Affairs until stepping down this summer, was hit with more than $15,000 in unpaid Utah state tax liens in 2016 alone, legal records show. She said the issue stems from confusion over filing taxes jointly with her husband – who still lives in Utah – and said she was largely unaware of the tax liens until being contacted by the Journal. “I’m responsible – I want to make sure I’m taking care of the taxes, even though he was there and I’m here. . . I’m stepping up and taking care of it. I knew about one (tax lien), but I had no idea about the others.”

This has all the classic signs of opposition research and not from the Democrats. Zunie got off to a nice start being touted as possibly the first Native American in history to secure the Republican Light Guv nod. Now, all eyes are turning toward ABQ State Sen. Mark Moores, who has been mulling a bid as well as State Sen. Ted Barela of Estancia.

Will one of them get in? Certainly this hit on Zuni paves the way and one GOP Alligator says of the Zunie tax affair: There's more to come on her and this topic. 

Kelly, when you're running for the second highest elected position in the state, they cover you from A to Zunie. Have a nice day, or something.

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Glory Of A New Mexico Fall. Plus: The Coming Of The Matanza Season  

Let's take a diversion from the usual tales of La Politica and celebrate the glorious fall weather and the season of the matanza. First, the pause that refreshes from Avi Shama, retired UNM professor:

It is this time of year again: the harvest is over, the kids are back in school, the fragrance of fresh apples perfumes the grocery stores, and in New Mexico the pungent, smoky smell of roasting chile peppers signals the beginning of the fall season. It is that pregnant time of year when the light becomes more transparent, soothing, almost loving; when the equinox tilts toward the long nights of winter, which make some people feel melancholy; when we look backward and forward to get our bearings, readying ourselves for what comes next. It is that bittersweet time of reflection and introspection on the personal, communal and national levels.

MATANZA TIME

The crisp fall air signals it's time again for the matanza where the politicos put a pig in the ground, drink beer while waiting for it to cook and then drink more beer when they pull the pig out of the ground and start divvying up the chicharrones.

Here's Dem Guv candidate and Las Cruces area state Senator Joe Cervantes at a recent matanza with longtime lobbyist and ABQ South Valley native Dan Weaks. The event was a fund-raiser for state House Democrats for the '18 cycle.

We sent this picture to the Committee on Chicharrones of which we are an honorary member and are pleased to report that it passed muster with them.

First and foremost, it is a wooden chicharrone paddle on display, not the utterly offensive and fraudulent metal type that immediately disqualifies a politico from attending or hosting a matanza for a period of five years. The paddle gets extra points for looking exceptionally worn and in need of a thorough scrubbing.

Both Cervantes and Weaks also are commended for their matanza clothing. They sport outer wear that is excessively soiled. Cervantes looks as if he has grease droppings from the pig staining his shirt and Weaks' apron looks as though it was last laundered in 1986 when he was working for ABQ Mayor Ken Schultz. Very well done, gentlemen.

The only apparent departure from matanza tradition that the Committee on Chicharrones mentioned was the name tag Cervantes displayed:

"If you're a politician at a matanza everyone there should know who you are, and if they don't you have no right hosting the matanza but are permitted to attend," wrote the Committee in a letter sent by courier from deep in the heart of Rio Arriba County.

Well, a minor matter there, Senator, but you have been warned.

chicharrones
ABQ State Senator Michael Padilla, who is seeking the Dem nomination for lieutenant governor, will host his 6th Annual Matanza this Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. All appears to be in order. However, there has been some late grumbling that the Committee may want to review that early start time because it does not take into account the late Friday night habits of many matanza attendees. We'll let you know if anything comes of it.

The Committee on Chicharrones meets as circumstances demand. All meetings are held at a secret Morada in Mora County. Their word is final and there can be no appeal if they find a matanza in violation of regulations. No politico found in violation has ever been elected or re-elected.

A number of years back politico Brian Colón was photographed stirring the chicharrones with a metal paddle. Last week a number analysts attributed his loss in the mayoral race to that violation.

Thanks for making us the state's #1 site for NM politics year in and year out. See you back here Monday. 

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Keller And Colón Hold Breakfast Meeting As Mayoral Run-off Looms; Colón Endorsement Coming? Plus: Dem Heavy Ed Romero Ditches Apodaca; Goes With Grisham 

Colón and Keller
So when is Tim Keller going to meet with Brian Colón and bury the hatchet? Well, they already have met. As for burying the hatchet, a Senior Alligator who spotted the pair having breakfast together at the famed Barelas Coffee House Tuesday morning says they were deep in conversation and "looked pleasant." The duo had a lot to talk about. . .

Keller trounced fellow Dem Colón in last week's mayoral election, along with six other challengers and took first place. Republican Dan Lewis came in second. Colón placed third despite spending over $800,000 on his campaign. Keller and Lewis will face each other in a run-off election for the city's top job on November 14.

Keller commanded 39 percent of the vote election night. Fellow Dem Colón garnered 16 percent. We're guessing that an endorsement of Keller by Colón had to be the centerpiece of their breakfast held in a back room at Barelas on 4th Street near the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Colón is a former Dem Party chairman and an endorsement of Keller can be expected. Of course, there would be terms to the agreement but what they might be is between the two rivals and not even for the ears of our Senior Alligator.

A notable sidebar: While Keller and Colón ate in the back of Barelas, in the front of the restaurant was former State Senate powerhouse Manny Aragon enjoying his chile. Manny's cousin, Robert Aragon, is also on the November 14th run-off ballot. He will face Democrat Cynthia Borrego in the battle for the west side council seat being vacated by Lewis.

As for what was on the menu for Brian and Tim, our Senior Gator reports: "Whatever Tim was having had a lot of red chile on it. Not so much for Brian."

Well, that's appropriate. Keller is the hot item of the moment while Colón has cooled down.

ABOUT THAT POLL (PART II)

Reader Steve McCracken writes:

Hi Joe, I wanted to point out how flawed the comment from  "Whatagator" was on Tuesday's blog about the Carroll Strategies mayoral poll supposedly underestimating Dan Lewis. It is complete bunk! In the Carroll Strategies Poll in September they had Tim Keller with a 14.8 point lead over Dan Lewis. Keller actually did better than that on election day and beat Lewis by 16 points! This latest Carroll Strategies Poll has Keller with a 14 point lead. Seeing as how there are significantly more Colon/Pedrotty votes likely to break Keller's way than there are Johnson/Chavez votes likely to break Lewis' way, I think if anything the poll is probably underestimating Keller's lead. A heartfelt thanks for all you do for the citizens of New Mexico!

Thanks, Steve, the mayoral run-off election between Keller and Lewis is Nov. 14. Early voting begins October 25.

ROMERO ROAMS TO GRISHAM

Romero 
It is quite a blow to Dem Guv candidate Jeff Apodaca and his parents, former Governor Jerry Apodaca and first lady Clara. Ed Romero, their longtime friend and prominent political ally, is endorsing Michelle Lujan Grisham for the Dem Guv nomination.

Romero, a longtime Dem activist who served as ambassador to Spain courtesy of President Clinton, said:

Michelle Lujan Grisham is a tireless champion for all New Mexicans and I'm proud to support her. . . As a 12th generation New Mexican, Michelle truly understands the unique nature of our people and our state. . . Michelle is the person we need to transform our state. As a seasoned leader in local, state and national government, she has a real record of accomplishment. . . As our next Governor, she will repair the damage of the disastrous policies of the last six years. . . 

It was speculated that Romero, 83, who has considerable personal wealth and is often a prodigious fund-raiser for candidates he backs, would soon be working for Apodaca. So what happened? Well, one theory is that Grisham is tighter with the Clintons than Apodaca and that connection was put to work in getting the Romero endorsement. Romero has been a soldier in the Clinton army for years.

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, October 10, 2017

No Escaping It: Crime Wave Floods Into Exclusive Tanoan Neighborhood;We've Got The Scoop, Plus: Guv Money Chase: Lujan Grisham Leads TheDems And Handily; Pearce Off To Solid Start 

If you had any doubt this is the worst crime wave in ABQ's modern history, we'll settle the matter for you in a minute by quoting from the newsletter for the wealthiest gated community in the metro area, Tanoan.

Nestled in the far NE Heights not far from the Sandia Foothills, for over thirty years Tanoan has been the quiet hideaway for the metro area's business and professional aristocracy, with the norm being homes valued in the high six figures and not a few over the million dollar mark.

The gated community boasts its own security force and two secure entrances. Neighbors keep an eye out for one another. But this crime wave is a rolling tsunami and now has flooded the gilded gates of Tanoan. From Don Muller, president of Tanoan Community East, writing in the neighborhood's latest newsletter:

Tanoan is undergoing a distributing increase in home burglaries and auto thefts. . . A special meeting arranged by City Councilor Trudy Jones was held on Sept. 25. Representatives from the Foothills Police Area Command outlined steps homeowners can take to secure their home to make them less vulnerable to break-ins.

And in that same newsletter, Austin McFall, Community Association Manager, sounds the alarm:

Tanoan Community East is experiencing a concerning level of home and auto burglaries. In response, we have enhanced our documentation of visitors at the main Country Club Gate entry. . . The Community Patrol drives the entire 14 miles of Tanoan East roads every hour, 24 hours a day. . . Even so, with 14 miles of roads and 601 homes, they can't be everywhere all the time. Therefore, we also need to ask our residents to be proactive in maintaining the safety their homes and property. . .  

You often see statements from City Hall that this crime wave is not as bad as the one that bedeviled the city back in 1996. But this outbreak is different--and arguably more malicious. The crime wave in the 90's was contained geographically, not nearly as widespread as today, and we challenge City Hall to demonstrate otherwise.

And, of course, the crime epidemic back then did not go on for years as has been the case with this one. This has not been some temporary blip. This epidemic has changed the very fabric of this city.

With even the toniest of neighborhoods providing no respite from the crime wave, entrepreneurs thinking about living in ABQ and who seek out safe and upscale neighborhoods, are given yet another reason to stay away.

Mayor Berry's legacy is secure, but a sorry one. The city's dangerous and heartbreaking descent into a haven for crime will be the lasting memory he leaves when his time in office ends December 1. The ironic upside for him is that he has brought together the richest and poorest communities of this city who now have a common enemy--the criminal class that roam all quadrants of ABQ without regard to race, color or creed.

ABOUT THAT POLL

About that survey we blogged of Monday showing Dem Tim Keller with a commanding 16 point lead over Republican Dan Lewis in the ABQ mayoral race--49 to 36--and conducted for KOB-TV by PR firm Carroll Strategies, we get this from the self-described "Whatagator:

Joe, Carroll Strategies had a September poll that substantially underestimated Lewis' support, not just compared to election day results but compared to KRQE and Journal polls that were closer to the same time frame. Unless he's made a compensating adjustment to his methodology, there's reason to believe Mr. Carroll is again underestimating Lewis. Should be an interesting runoff at any rate.

The mayoral run-off is set for November 14th. Early voting will be held Oct. 25 thru Nov. 10.

COST PER VOTE

Maria Bautista took to Facebook to complain that the Alligator figuring out how much each voter cost the ABQ mayoral contenders did not include the several hundred thousand dollars a PAC spent on Keller's campaign. "BS on Keller. Count PAC money!" she declared. A reader calculates the Keller's cost per vote would rise to near $15, up from $9.98, if the PAC money was included.

The cost per vote report is on the Monday blog. If you missed it, just scroll down.

GUV MONEY CHASE

Rep. Lujan Grisham
Sad but true. It takes exceptionally big money to run for Governor of New Mexico and until that changes the money chase is going to be a huge factor in determining who the voters will see in front of them. So we're off to the money chase where fresh campaign reports were filed by the contenders on Monday.

ABQ Dem Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and GOP hopeful Rep. Steve Pearce did what was expected of them and remain the front-runners for their party primaries next June. Pearce especially so since he is the only GOP candidate and will likely remain the only one.

Grisham has two major foes--State Senator Joe Cervantes of Las Cruces and ABQ businessman Jeff Apodaca. While both stepped up their money game with large personal loans--Cervantes $400,000 and Apodaca $450,000--Grisham reported raising $1.369 million for the period and a cash on hand balance of $1.590 million. That compares to Cervantes' cash balance of $747,000 and Apodaca's $697,000.

Pearce has $911,000 in cash and if he wins his legal battle to transfer $1 million in his congressional account to his Guv account that total would zoom to near $2 million. Grisham has already passed the $2 million mark in total funds raised.

Apodaca and Cervantes avoided getting blown out by drawing on their personal bank accounts but they will have to hustle in the next four months if they are to avoid being overwhelmed by Grisham when the spending starts.

Apodaca confirmed to us in July that he expected to raise in the vicinity of $600,000 in his first report and although he reports a total haul of $900,000 that statement drew an Alligator strike:

You verified from the candidate himself that he raised about $600 to 700K at that point--through July 5. If you look at his report, he had only raised $179K through July 5. Even if you count his $50K in loans in April, that would be just $229K. Maybe he knew he was going to loan another $400K, but he didn't do that until last week, on Oct. 2. They exaggerated their fundraising ability. 

Obviously, there's no slack now. The race for the New Mexican governorship is on and anything you say can and will be used against you.

Apodaca's contributors included old hands from the Guv administration of his father, Jerry Apodaca. Nino Trujillo gave $2,500 and George Goldstein came with $2,000.

Rep. Pearce
ABQ restaurateur Nick Kapnison split his bets--giving both Grisham and Apodaca $2,500 apiece. Ditto for Pojoaque Pueblo which gave both hopefuls $5,500. Ultra Health, a big player in medical cannabis in the state, was another splitter, coming with $5,000 each for Michelle and Jeff.

Grisham took in $5,000 from the Robles Rael Anaya law firm that specializes in government work. Lobbyist Vanessa Alarid, who counts among her clients the developers of the controversial Santolina project, gave Grisham $5,500.

Cervantes received most of his contributions from relatives and entities involved in his family's large farming and property management businesses in Dona Ana County.

Pearce raised big bucks from the oil and gas industry, with the Chase family of Artesia giving heavily. He paid his longtime fund-raiser Andrea Goff nearly $50,000 for helping him bring in his haul.

Grisham paid out tens of thousands to DC's Anne Lewis Strategies for online communications. She also made payments to the consulting firm run by former Gov. Richardson Chief of Staff Dave Contarino. He is producing commercials for the campaign. Apodaca shelled out major dollars to the ubiquitous Rio Strategies headed by Alan Packman who has become a prominent consultant for Democrats. He is also handling Tim Keller's campaign for mayor.

THE BOTTOM LINES

Finally, this one must have been especially sweet for the congresswoman. Entravision, the former employer of Apodaca, gave her $5,500. Apodaca filed a wrongful dismissal suit against the company but lost. Guess Entravision got a bit of revenge but Apodaca did not walk away broke, judging by that $450,000 in loans he gave himself.

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, 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.

KELLER VS. LEWIS

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.

PER VOTE COST

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

Pedrotty--6,638--$17,784--$2.68 
Keller--38,156--$380,791--$9.98
Garcia Holmes--3,748--$44,756--$11.94
Lewis--22,238--$556,534--$25.03
Wheeler-Deichsel--490--$13,054--$26.64
Johnson--9,342--$342,359--$36.65 
Colón--15,884--$828,240--$52.14
Chaves--475--$285,568--$601.20

LASHING LEWIS

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.

THE BOTTOM LINES

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.

We started our 15th year on the blog this month and are the longest running political website in the state. That's a lot of digits pecked out about La Politica.

Our goal for our 15th year is simple: Keep being #1 by keeping you informed and entertained about all aspects of politics in our Land of Enchantment.

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
website design by limwebdesign