Incumbent Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller trounced his opponents, two-time sheriff Manny Gonzales and businessman Eddy Aragon, both of whom came up a little bit short.
After a contentious campaign that was riddled with flying dildos, fraud and forgery and allegations of rampant sex at City Hall, the voters finally took to the polls. Uncanvased numbers show Keller beat each of his opponents by a two to one margin and secured enough votes to ensure no runoff election is necessary.
Mayor Keller’s road to a second term has been anything but a walk in the park. The greatest challenge to his reelection was in Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who—despite being denied public financing—launched a series of attacks against Keller. Gonzales had accused the mayor of being soft on crime and not allowing law enforcement to perform to the best of their abilities. Under Keller the city has taken a more progressive approach to addressing crime. This can be seen in the administration’s emphasis on providing housing to houseless individuals and launching the Albuquerque Community Safety department.
Mayor Keller’s opponents focused their attacks on the city’s stubborn crime and homeless problems. Keller’s approach to the pandemic has also drawn criticism from more conservative circles in the city. A significant element of Aragon’s platform focused on reversing current mask and vaccination policies.
Just because Mayor Keller had a good day at the polls doesn’t mean he will have an easy time ahead. He will be dealing with new City Council members, which will shift the dynamics at the governing body’s table.
Manuel “Manny” Gonzales is a registered Democrat, who is also the two-term Bernalillo County Sheriff. Gonzales came into the race saying he had more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement. He ran on a conservative platform that looked more Republican than Democrat. Gonzales was, and presumably is, a staunch supporter of former President Trump. Gonzales ran on a law-and-order platform, citing out-of-control crime rates in Albuquerque. Crime does not know borders, so if crime is out of control in Burque, it is probably out of control in his jurisdiction as well. The greater metro area is fluid. For such a law-and-order guy, Gonzales had to admit to fraud and forgery allegations. But Gonzales’ real battle was with Aragon. Both competed to pull in Republican voters and ended up surprisingly close to one another in total votes. Maybe if Aragon would have stayed in his lane and on the radio, Gonzales would have done better. Gonzales will now have to see what charges he may face for his campaign fraud allegations.
A conservative talk show host, Republican Eddy Aragon entered the race late in July. He ran on a platform of cleaning up crime and corruption, bringing in more commerce, and he even claimed that, if elected, he would be the city’s first Black mayor. He said this is based on a DNA test that showed he was about 4 percent African American. Not sure what the local African-American community thinks of this claim. Aragon clearly took away ballots from Gonzales. whom he called unqualified and dangerous. He had a slightly better view of Keller, saying he was at least intelligent but too far left.
What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been
Mayoral races are supposed to be nonpartisan, but voters often align along partisan lines. Each of the three mayoral candidates have had at least one legal challenge or campaign ethics complaint, with some that won’t be heard until after the election. Things went weird early in the Mayor’s race back in June when the Gonzales camp accused the Keller folks of flying a drone carrying a dildo at a Gonzales campaign event. The drone pilot threw some punches toward Gonzales while being subdued by police. Then there were the fraud allegations over forged qualifying petition signatures. These turned into court hearings that changed nothing. Gonzales had to admit that there was some forgery amongst his campaign minions. He was denied the $600,000 in public financing. Then came the TV debates where things escalated to Gonzales basically accusing Keller of partaking in sex with a city hall employee. Gonzales had no proof; he just tossed it out there. It is rumored that the argument between the two men went out into the parking lot. Then it surfaced back at City Hall where the city attorney got involved, telling Gonzales that what he did amounted to sexual harassment. Probably have not heard the end of that debacle. Then the boys decided to play nice and headed out to the football field during halftime at a St. Pius X High/Albuquerque Academy football game to throw some pigskin. Keller and Aragon went to St. Pius X and Gonzales’ kids graduated from the Catholic school. Aragon won that competition with Keller in at second and Gonzales picking up last place. Can’t make this stuff up.