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 “metal” mayor handily won a second term in office Tuesday night. Incumbent Mayor Tim Keller received 56 percent of the vote, more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. At Keller’s watch party, the sentiment was one of optimism and affirmation as the mayor commended his administration for their progress and the intention to address systemic issues plaguing the city.

“Albuquerque stood up for integrity, for truth, for everything that we want to do in the future, for staying the course,” Keller said. The mayor commended his administration and community advocates for their work during the last four years and for the work to come.

The mayor acknowledged that it was far from an easy campaign. He thanked Eddy Aragon, who received 18 percent of the votes, for running a “respectful” campaign. Keller and Aragon played on the same football team in high school at St. Pius. Keller did throw a last-minute jab, saying that he disagrees with just about everything with Aragon when it comes to politics. Aragon, who was the only Republican on the mayoral ballot, ran on a far-right platform more in line with Trump politics.

The mayor’s message to Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales was a little less cordial. “For Manny, I just hope he honors the commitment to not being political. We need our sheriff. He has one more year left, and we need him to support APD, support Chief Medina, to support every department in the city,” Keller said. Gonzales received 26 percent of the vote.

The election results affirmed that Keller’s progressive platform continues to resonate with Albuquerque voters, despite mounting criticism about public safety policies and growing homelessness. “This campaign showed how important it is to tell the whole story. That we tell the truth about what’s going in our city, that we stand up against division, that we stand up against hatred, and that we stand up for everyone that lives here: Our immigrants, our refugees, our homeless, and those that need our help,” Keller said.

Keller was not shy about highlighting his administration’s achievements during his victory speech. He was quick to reaffirm his administration’s commitment to the Gateway Center, transitioning the city to clean energy and hiring more officers. “This election is about building on that foundation,” Keller said.

“There are no easy answers. I know, with you, with all of us, dedicated to what we need to do to this city, we are going to push forward. We are going to lift up this city for future generations,” Keller said.

Keller may face an uphill challenge in his second term, as key incumbent Democrats on the City Council were voted out of office. Former City Councilor Dan Lewis beat City Council President Cynthia Borrego. Lewis ran for mayor against Tim Keller in 2017. Incumbent District 1 City Councilor Lan Sena lost her race to conservative Democrat and former APD officer Louie Sanchez. With the balance of power shifting to the right on the council, the Keller administration’s progressive initiatives are almost guaranteed to face some opposition.

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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.