Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

The mayoral election is less than a month away, and despite being denied over $660,000 in public financing, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has reported strong private fundraising. According to the latest report from the city’s website, the Bernalillo County Sheriff has raised over $330,000 as of October 11.

What is striking about the latest figures is that Gonzales has more cash in hand than incumbent Mayor Tim Keller. 

Keller currently has $313,875 cash in hand compared to Gonzales’ $332,770. Keller is the only mayoral candidate who qualified for public financing, and because of this, he is unable to accept private donations.

Keller spent over $210,000 on media and advertising buys, compared to Gonzales’ media buys which totaled at $26,261.

Gonzales was disqualified from public financing after his campaign was found guilty of forging voter signatures in their bid to collect enough $5 contributions to qualify for public financing. After a series of failed appeals, the Gonzales campaign has managed to raise a striking amount of funds in a relatively short period. The BCSO sheriff poses the greatest challenge to Keller’s reelection bid out of the three candidates who will appear on the November 2 ballot, based on fundraising alone. Gonzales’ mayoral bid is focused on Albuquerque’s crime. According to his campaign website, Gonzales wants to end Albuquerque’s status as a sanctuary city and end DOJ oversight of APD. 

The lone Republican who will appear on the ballot is local radio host Eddy Aragon, who has raised $25,455. Aragon is the host and CEO of The Rock of Talk, a conservative radio show. Aragon, similar to Gonzales, is running on a tough-on-crime platform. According to his campaign website, he wants to “punish all crime, not just felonies.” His campaign website also specifically states, “No rehabilitation of criminals. Focus on the public. Prosecute.”

Patrick Sais is another Republican and write-in candidate who will not appear on the ballot but has registered campaign contributions. According to the city’s website, Sais has raised $35.