KELLER-COLON RUNOFF BECOMING MORE LIKELY

From a historical standpoint, municipal elections are very low voter turnout.

If none of the eight (8) candidates for Mayor secures 50% or more of the vote on October 3, 2017, a runoff will be held between the two top vote getters.

The reliable municipal voters tend to be 50 years and older, conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans with Independents also tending to be more conservative.

Four years ago, only 19% of eligible voters voted in the lowest voter turnout since 1977.

Many insiders are predicting another low voter turnout of around 22% despite the number of candidates in the race.

Early voting tallies are indicating another low voter turnout election.

Four (4) years ago, the “late term abortion” initiative was placed on the “runoff” ballot and not with the Mayor’s race so it would not be affected and to favor the incumbent who openly supported the late term abortion initiative.

Other facts that affected voter turnout four (4) years ago was that the Republican controlled City Council approved the City Clerk setting up voting booths at the major evangelical churches but excluded all voting polls at the University of New Mexico, with such tactic favoring the Republican incumbent.

What may increase voter turnout is that the Healthy Workforce or mandatory sick leave ordinance that will be on the first ballot along with the Mayor’s race and voting locations have also changed.

The Albuquerque Journal poll revealed that 53% of those polled support the mandatory sick leave ordnance, 31% oppose it while 16% are undecided and that support of the ordinance is strongest amongst Democrats, younger voters and Hispanics.

The increase in the minimum wage ordinance that was voted upon over six years ago passed with 70% of the vote and had far more support than the Healthy Workforce ordinance.

The opposition to the Healthy Workforce ordinance is far more organized and will be spending upwards of $100,000 to defeat the ordinance which is like what happened in Santa Fe to defeat the soda tax.

Those supporting the mandatory sick leave ordinance have also organized and have raised approximately $60,000.

Supporters of the mandatory sick leave ordinance have been sending out mailers promoting the enactment of the ordinance.

Of the four (4) front runners for Mayor, Democrats Tim Keller and Brian Colon have said they support the mandatory sick leave ordinance while Republicans Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson say they oppose it.

Republican Wayne Johnson has been very vocal about his opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance to the point he attended a court hearing to keep it off the ballot to pander to the business coalition that is opposing the ordinance.

With respect to the polls taken in the race for Mayor, all three polls show at least one third of voters have not made up their mind with the Journal poll reflecting 32% undecided, the KRQE poll reflecting 36% undecided and the KOB poll reflecting 30% undecided averaging out to 32.6% undecided for the three polls.

For many months, political pundits and insiders were predicting a runoff between Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis and first term Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller.

Before any of the polling done by the local news organizations, many political pundits and insiders were suggesting Mr. Keller had at least 30% to 35% or more being reflected in private campaign polling given his high name recognition as State Auditor, his very considerable support within the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, his endorsements and the substantial union contributions to his measured finance committee or PAC.

One Keller insider went as far as to say the Keller campaign was so confident of their organization because they secured public finance, that there was a chance, albeit a slim one, that Keller could avoid a runoff and secure 50% of the vote.

Before any of the polling by news organization, many political pundits and insiders were suggesting that City Councilor Dan Lewis has a solid 22% to 25% percent being reflected in private polling given his name recognition, his news coverage as a City Councilor, his opposition to the controversial ART bus project, his substantial support within the Christian Evangelical community, his opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance and his support within the Republican Party establishment that would assist raising significant amounts of money as was done four years ago for Mayor Berry.

Tim Keller and Dan Lewis have not performed as well as what was being said privately a few months ago during the petition gathering period and the public finance qualifying period.

The news agency polls reflect a very tight race for a second-place finish.

In all three polls made by news agencies, Brian Colon has come in second to front runner Tim Keller.

Brian Colon ran neck and neck for second place with Dan Lewis in the Journal and KRQE poll, while surging beyond Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson in the KOB poll.

Keller’s poll numbers in the Journal poll at 25%, the KOB poll at 22.6% and the KRQE poll number at 22% are all so very close percentage wise as to be indistinguishable, with Keller having an average of 23.2% for the three polls.

An average of 23.2% for all three polls is an indication that Mr. Keller may have peaked and may not do any better in a runoff.

Brian Colon’s poll numbers reflect actual movement in the Journal poll at 14%, the KRQE poll at 10% and the KOB poll at 19.3% with an average of 11.1%.

The zig zag of movement in the Colon poll numbers is easily explained by the Journal poll including both land line and cell phones, with the other two being land lines, but what is accurate is that all three polls have a margin of error of 4% to 5% with Colon showing movement.

Brian Colon, unlike Tim Keller, started out with even lower polling numbers in campaign polls taken by insiders a few months ago and not made public like the news agency polls.

Brian Colon and Dan Lewis are battling out for a second-place finish to get in a runoff with Keller, with both Colon and Lewis showing momentum in the race while Keller appears to be stagnant.

Brian Colon has spent upwards of $400,000 for television ads not to mention mailers that started to hit the homes of likely registered voters.

What Tim Keller needs to be concerned about is that he may have “peaked” with any further increase in his poll numbers stymied by his reduced funding as a “public financed” candidate and an inability to get his message out with television commercials, not to mention the negative attack ads against Mr. Keller.

A wild card is that the measured fiancé committee ALB Forward, chaired by one of Mr. Keller’s former campaign managers, has raised $170,000.

ALB Forward is running positive ads which are slick and impressive for Mr. Keller, but the positive ads may not be enough to offset the attack ads against Keller.

Tim Keller is very popular in the progressive wing of the Democratic party, which will probably ensure that he will be in the runoff.

As the former Democratic Party State Chairman, Brian Colon is also popular in the Democratic party, he is Hispanic and he has support within the more conservative and traditional wing of the Democratic Party and Republican business community which will be more inclined to support Colon over Keller in any runoff.

Republicans, presuming they vote if no Republican gets in the runoff, are far more likely to vote for Brian Colon over the more Progressive Tim Keller in a runoff.

At this point, a runoff is extremely likely, with Tim Keller facing off with either Brian Colon or Dan Lewis.

Progressive Tim Keller is more than likely to win a runoff with conservative Republican Dan Lewis given the fact that Albuquerque has become more Democratic over the last election cycles having elected Democrats to congress.

However, Mr. Keller will have a much harder time winning a run off with Brian Colon in that Mr. Colon is Hispanic, he has a wider appeal to the Republican business community and he is making a respectable showing with Independents.

To further complicate things for Tim Keller in a runoff with Brian Colon is the hard core conservative Republicans who vote for Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson.

Likely Lewis and Johnson voters are those who voted for Donald Trump and they are far less likely to vote someone who is as Progressive as Tim Keller and if they do vote in the runoff they will vote for Brian Colon, the moderate Democrat.

The state Republican Party see Tim Keller as a real threat in the future to the point they have filed ethics charges to assail Keller’s in kind cash donations in order to tarnish his reputation.

Another tactic being used to tarnish Keller are the negative ads being run regarding Keller’s vote on a Senate Bill claiming it favors sex offenders.

At this point in time, Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson are desperate to get in the runoff and their choice is to go negative on each other and maybe go after Brian Colon.

Early on, the Republican Party to no avail had a high level meeting with Lewis and Johnson to keep one of them out of the race.

Dan Lewis has been making last minute appeals to the hard core Republican base in emails saying that he is the only Republican that can win against the “liberal” democrats Keller and Colon who appear likely to be in a runoff.

Wayne Johnson is sending out mailers and identifying himself as being Republican while he continues his attacks of Dan Lewis on FACEBOOK and at forums.

A muddy path for Lewis is to attack Wayne Johnson but he will need to attack Colon to get his support down.

Wayne Johnson will continue his shots at Dan Lewis and will start in on Colon to keep Colon out of the runoff.

Johnson has made inroads into securing more Republican and conservative support with his aggressive and vocal opposition to “sanctuary city”, his opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance, his pandering to the business community and the service industry and construction industry with his strong opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance.

The TV and radio attack ads against Keller are hard hitting and bring up a Senate bill then State Senator Tim Keller voted in favor for in 2011, with the bill failing on a 16 to 20 vote against.

The TV and radios ads will probably have no impact on Mr. Keller’s core and very loyal progressive constituency reflected in his 23.3% average poll numbers, but the commercials just may affect Independent voters and Republican voters and more conservative, traditional Democratic voters.

CONCLUSION

The current trajectory of the Mayor’s race by all indications is that Democrats Tim Keller and Brian Colon will be in the runoff together with no Republican making it.

As the saying goes “a week in politics is an eternity”.

Political television ads, especially negative ads, can affect poll numbers and the outcome of the race.

Even with only a little over one week remaining, just about anything can happen.

What is for sure there will be a runoff and we can all look forward to another six full weeks of the two top vote getters bashing the hell out of each other until the runoff which is scheduled for November 16, 2017.

Whoever becomes Mayor will have the privilege and honor to deal with a police department and an economy that are akin to backed upped sewer lines.

There is no doubt the work on APD and our economy can be done, but you sure going to smell after four (4) years in office if you do it right to get things flowing in the right direction.

Associated Press Story On APD Police Overtime

I was delighted to contribute information to the Associated Press for its story on Albuquerque Police Department (APD) overtime budget.
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-mexico/articles/2017-09-19/ap-analysis-7-albuquerque-officers-earned-124k-or-more

An Associated Press (AP) review found that seven (7) first class police officers patrolling Albuquerque took in a salary of at least $124,000 in 2016.

By contrasts, the Mayor of Albuquerque is paid $104,000 a year and the sixteen (16) city department directors are paid average of $109,000.

Department directors must manage employees and more often than not work in far excess of a 40 hour week and they are never paid overtime, they are at will and their salaries stay the same for the fiscal year.

According to the AP report, critics of the overtime spending say it is a result of officers taking advantage of a system that allows them to grab excessive overtime at the expense of the city.

According to city payroll records, a patrolman first class was the city’s seventh top earner, taking home nearly $147,000 in salary and overtime.

The average Albuquerque patrolman first class makes around $56,000 a year and are paid an additional 15% for benefits, such as insurance, paid sick leave and annual leave.

All patrol officers first class are paid the exact same hourly rate of $27.50 no matter the number of years on the police force, therefore a four (4) year veteran of the force makes the same wage as a ten (10) year veteran.

The average and normal yearly salary paid APD Police Officers First Class is $56,000 a year.

Under the union contract, sworn police officers are paid a mandatory two hours of overtime and paid time and a half for court appearances such as arraignments of DWI offenders and police prosecution of misdemeanor cases.

APD police officers have one of the better retirement plans in the country and with 25 years of service can retire with 90% every year for the rest of their lives of the average amount of their top three (3) wage earning years with the city.

Further, APD officers are paid longevity pay bonuses of as little of $5,000 and as much as $15,000 to stay with the department and not leave or retire early.

The Albuquerque Police Department is the only city hall department that pays longevity bonuses to city hall employees.

A review of the city’s 250 top earners revealed that 66 first class police officers were among the highest paid city employees earning a total of around $7.1 million in salary and overtime.

Patrolmen first class earning excessive overtime is nothing new and has been going on for years.

The salaries inflated by overtime show to some extent that there are officers that know how to manipulate the system to earn overtime.

A city internal audit report released in March of this year revealed that the Albuquerque Police Department spent over $3.9 million over its “overtime” budget.

The audit said in fiscal year 2016, APD paid over time to APD employees a total amount of $13 million when the actual budget was for $9 million.

From a personnel management standpoint, when you have a select few that are taking the lion’s share of overtime, it causes moral problems with the rest.

The city internal audit focused primarily on protocol issues within APD on how over time is garnered, not how much was spent, and the protocol would have to have been approved and ordered by CAO Rob Perry.

The audit says that too often, officers didn’t follow the rules when it came to get overtime pre-approved or didn’t properly submit overtime for “grant funded” traffic over time.

According to the audit, there were potentially 38,000 cases of unapproved overtime that occurred during fiscal year 2016 based on a sampling of time cards.

When the city audit first came out, CAO Rob Perry said that the excessive overtime was attributed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree mandates and training.

Nowhere does the audit blame the implementation of the DOJ mandated reforms as the cause of the overtime as was argued by CAO Rob Perry.

During the last 7 years, the Albuquerque Police Department has consistently gone over its overtime budget by millions to the detriment of other city departments and other city employees.

A total of 124 of the 250 top wage earners at city hall are employed by the Albuquerque Police Department and include patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, commanders and deputy chiefs, assistant chief and the chief with annual pay ranging from $95,000 a year up to $166,699 a year.

(See City of Albuquerque web site for full list of 250 top city wage earners).

Five (5) APD Patrol Officers First Class are listed in the top 250 city wage workers as being paid $146,971, $145,180, $140,243, $137,817 and $125,061 respectfully making them the 6th, the 7th, the 10th, the 12th and the 20th highest paid employees at city hall.

There are listed 66 Patrol Officers First Class in the list of the top 250 wage earners at city hall earning in excess of $95,000 a year and as much as $146,000 a year.

Combined, there are a total of 91 APD sworn police officers and sergeants who are named in the top 250 wage earners and city hall.

The fact that any APD Patrolman First Class are paid as much as between $95,000 to $146,000, or two to three times their normal salary in any given year should be very concerning to the Mayor and City Council.

Excessive overtime paid is a red flag for abuse of the system, mismanagement of police resources and the lack of personnel.

Consecutive shifts or excessive overtime for any police officer can lead to extreme fatigue, emotional burnout and reduce an officer’s alertness and response times and reflexes that can endanger lives and public safety.

The Albuquerque City Council approved and fully funded 1,000 sworn police officers for APD.

However, there are only 850 sworn actually employed with 435 assigned to the field patrolling the streets and handling approximately 650,000 priority one 911 calls a year.

Albuquerque needs at least 1,200 sworn police officers to effectively return to community based policing that will reduce overtime costs and reduce crime statistics.

A complete reorganization and change of management at APD is needed to get more police officers patrolling our streets.

An aggressive hiring and recruitment program needs to be initiated to increase the ranks of patrol officers.

A mandatory “cap” on the amount overtime a sworn police office can be paid needs to be established that is fair and equitable for all sworn personnel to make available overtime to more sworn police officers in the department.

As an alternative, what needs to be considered is getting away from hourly wage and time and a half for overtime for sworn police and implement a salary structure based on steps and years of service.

Shift time to work would remain the same, but if more time is needed to complete work load, the employee works it for the same salary with no overtime and a modification of shift times for court appearances.

Salaries and step increase take away inflating overtime and motivates employees to get more done within the allotted shift or modification of shift times.

Until the salary structure is changed, APD will have patrolman first class making two to three times their base salary.

MONAHAN CONFIRMS “NONPARTISAN’ FARCE IN MAYOR’S RACE

Political blogger Joe Monahan did one of his better blog articles today that really exposes what a farce our “nonpartisan” mayoral elections really are.

I did an Albuquerque Journal guest editorial and the very subject that can be read here:

‘Nonpartisan’ Mayoral Election Is A Farce

I have known Joe for over forty years, and although we have had our differences, we are indeed good friends and understand how New Mexico politics works.

Our city and are state are still a small enough population wise that it is very common for political junkies such as us to know on a first name basis our congressional delegation, governors and mayors.

What political consultants who have come here recently just do not understand is that politicians in New Mexico over the years do indeed cross paths and sometimes really get along and other times fight like cat and dogs just to make up and get along again, but friendships do endure because in New Mexico politics todays enemy may be someone you need tomorrow.

The viciousness of the political party consultants who are more interested in making a dollar than getting their candidate elected is what is playing out in the Mayor’s race today, both for the Democrats and Republicans.

With that said, below is Joe’s September 18, 2017 blog report you can read in full at his blog “New Mexico politics with Joe Monahan” at http://joemonahansnewmexico.blogspot.com/ :

Lewis Pleads For Party Unity As City Teeters On Edge Of Dem Mayoral Run-Off, Deep GOP Split Examined, Plus: Sick Leave Foes Sick Over Poll And The Ethics Complaint Tangle

Johnson and Gardner

Dan Lewis is making a late in the game, longshot plea for Republican Party unity as the ABQ mayoral race teeters on the edge of sending two Democrats into a run-off election following the October 3 balloting.

The dire straits that City Councilor Lewis finds himself in is nothing new. Earlier this year there was a high level Republican meeting with Lewis and BernCo Commissioner Wayne Johnson in attendance. But that meeting failed to convince either of them to withdraw from the mayoral derby.

Now, in the aftermath of an ABQ Journal poll that makes more distinct the possibility that no GOP candidate will finish in the top two, Lewis is pleading in an email for Republicans to abandon Johnson and come to his side:

[Monahan quoting Dan Lewis email to Republicans] “This poll shows that we are the only Republican candidate who can get into the runoff – and win. But the Democratic establishment will do everything in their power to take me down and have two liberal candidates in the runoff. We can’t let them win. Now is the time for Republicans to unite to ensure an extreme leftist does not serve as Mayor. They know I can win – but I can only do so if Republicans unite. Albuquerque can’t afford an extreme leftist as Mayor and that’s exactly what my main opponents are.”

We have examples of the deep split in the party. That picture posted at the top of the blog is of Wayne Johnson at the State Fair with Keith Gardner, the chief of staff to Governor Martinez. It shows how the Martinez wing of the party is firmly in the camp of Johnson.

Pearce & Lewis

Lewis is firmly in the anti-Martinez camp led by Rep. Steve Pearce and former NM GOP Chairman Harvey Yates, Jr. Lewis was campaigning with Pearce over the weekend and this photo of them further illustrates the party’s split.

This split is deep and personal with hurt feelings on both sides. Asking for unity among them is like asking the Israelis to turn over Jerusalem to the Palestinians. But desperate times call for desperate measures. The Lewis plea for unity is the only option he has.

KELLER’S INDYS

Why is “liberal” Tim Keller doing so well with independents who normally lean right? He is getting 25 percent of them in the Journal survey, far more than any other hopeful. Well, look no further than his record as state auditor.

Keller has probably been the most active auditor in state history, constantly releasing reports and findings that are attention grabbers and mostly substantial. For example, this week, he is focused on a $475,000 embezzlement scheme at La Promesa, a state charter school in ABQ. Would the public ever know about this if Keller hadn’t launched an investigation?

This independent support is important for Keller who will need to broaden his base if, as expected, he gets in a run-off election following the October 3 vote. It could make the difference in his winning or losing.

SICK OVER SICK LEAVE

Meanwhile, the R’s are nearly apoplectic over the Journal pollshowing that the controversial sick leave ordinance isn’t so controversial after all.

Support for the ordinance is at 53 percent with only 31 percent opposed. That’s over the critical 50 percent mark. In reaction the state GOP put out this screaming headline:

Vote Against This Deceiving Ordinance And Its Supporters, Tim Keller and Brian Colon!

Foes of the mandatory sick leave bill call it a “job killer” but in a city that leads center-left on social and economic issues it is they who are facing the political firing squad.

We posted a mail piece from the sick leave opponents, a piece that apparently isn’t changing many minds. And who produced that piece? Well. . .

Look who has surfaced in Campaign ’17. It’s Jay McCleskey, the veteran consultant who is tied to the hip to Gov. Martinez. His McCleskey Media Strategies (MMS) is listed as having printed that anti-sick leave piece. It was put out by Forward ABQ, a political committee for the ABQ Chamber of Commerce. That committee reported only raising $18,000 in the last reporting period so it won’t offer the big paydays Jay has been accustomed to while handling Martinez’s multi-million dollar pots of cash. But, hey, a guy’s gotta work.

ETHICS TANGLE

We’re on the tangled ethics beat of this city election. Let’s see. An ethics complaint is filed against Tim Keller over his campaign consultant Alan Packman for soliciting cash donations for Keller’s publicly financed committee and calling them “in kind donations” for goods and services.

The complaint by the state GOP goes to Attorney General Hector Balderas. But Balderas can’t investigate because he has publicly endorsed mayoral candidate Brian Colón. So Hector’s office has sent the matter to the City Clerk and the ABQ Board of Ethics to handle. By the time it’s resolved the election will be in the history books.

Then there is the complaint against GOP mayoral hopeful and BernCo Commissioner Wayne Johnson. It alleges, as the ABQ Free Press reported, that “Johnson has received nearly $40,000 in improper campaign donations. The complaint was filed with the Bernalillo County Code of Conduct Review Board by Terry Brunner, who was the state director for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Obama administration.”

So who sits in judgment and is chairman of the Bernalillo County Code of Conduct Review Board? Why it’s none other than Alan Packman, consultant for Tim Keller. And who sits at Packman’s side on that board? Why it’s Sarita Nair, the government accountability officer for Dem state auditor and Packman mayoral client Tim Keller.

That stacked deck against Johnson will have to be deconstructed before the complaint against him can be heard and that will be well after the election.

And that, dear reader, was another of our occasional visits to the ethics beat. Excuse us while we untangle ourselves.

MORE JOHNSON VS. LEWIS

Let’s give Johnson some more ink so Dan Lewis can needle us. . .

Crime has been the big issue for the mayoral candidates but there are also plans floating around from them about improving the stagnant economy here. One of them is from conservative Johnson:

The cornerstone of my Economic Development Strategy is the market itself. My philosophy is to provide a secure environment and a light touch on regulation that encourages businesses to invest in Albuquerque. If we, as a community, want a prosperous Albuquerque then we must encourage innovation and creativity by empowering the dreamers and the doers.

On second thought, we don’t want to be needled by Lewis. He may have Rev. Smotherman post a weird picture of us on Instagram. Here’s Dan’s econ plan.

Those Damn Polls And Damn Attack Ads

The race for Albuquerque Mayor is getting red hot with many things happening including a television forum, the release of highly negative attack ads against the front runner and the Albuquerque Journal poll.

Early voting in the municipal election began on Wednesday, September 13, 2017.

If no candidate gets 50% or more of the vote, a runoff is scheduled for November 16, 2017.

THOSE DAMN POLLS

Low poll numbers usually result in candidacies imploding and impact fund raising by the candidates with donors reluctant to donate to candidates perceived as losing.

Polls are a real scourge to the election process and have an undue influence on the democratic process but they are here to stay and cannot be ignored.

Polls tend to be self-fulfilling prophesies.

THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL POLL:

On Sunday, September 15, 2017, the Albuquerque Journal was right on time with its long-anticipated poll by well-known pollster Brain Sanderoff with Research & Polling.
(See September 9,2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “Journal poll: Keller leads, but runoff almost certain”)

https://www.abqjournal.com/1064935/keller-leads-but-runoff-almost-certain-excerpt-onethird-undecided-coloacuten-lewis-neckandneck-for-2nd.html

Years ago, Research and Polling use to do political polls for candidates, but now almost exclusively works for the Albuquerque Journal.

Research & Polling has an extensive history of being the most reliable predictor of elections in New Mexico.

Following are the results of the Albuquerque Journal poll:

• Democrat first term New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller – 25%
• Former state Democratic Party Chairman and private attorney Brian Colón – 14%
• Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis – 13%
• Republican Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson – 7%
• Independent Michelle Garcia Holmes, a retired Albuquerque police detective – 4%
• Democrat Augustus “Gus” Pedrotty, recent UNM graduate – 3%
• Republican Ricardo Chaves and founder of Parking Company of America – 1%
• Independent Susan Wheeler-Deichsel and founder of the civic group Urban ABQ – 1%
UNDECIDED: 32%

The biggest winner in the Journal poll, as with two previous polls, was “undecided” at 32% or one third of those polled still being undecided with a little over two weeks remaining before the October 3 election.

The Journal poll data reported that Tim Keller and Brian Colon are splitting the Democrat vote with Keller at 38% and Colon at 18% of Democrats polled and with Keller and Colon splitting the Hispanics polled with Colon at 25% and Keller at 22%.

Keller is doing better than all the other candidates with Independents polling with 25% of Independents polled and followed by Dan Lewis at 17% of Independents polled.

Following is a breakdown of the Albuquerque Journal polling data:

Keller’s 25% is comprised of 38% of the Democrats polled, 25% of Independents polled and 8% of Republicans polled with 22% of all those polling for Keller being Hispanic and 27% being Anglo.

Colon’s 14% is comprised of 18% of the Democrats polled, 12% of the Republicans polled, 9% of the Independents polled with 25% of all those polling for Colon being Hispanic and 10% being Anglo.

Dan Lewis’ 13% is comprised of 26% of Republicans polled, 17% of Independents polled and only 2% of the Democrats polled with 11% of all those polling for Lewis being Hispanic and 14% of those polled being Anglo.

Wayne Johnson’s 7% is comprised of 16% of the Republicans polled, 3% of Independents polled and only 1% of the Democrats polled with 3% of all those polling for Johnson being Hispanic and 9% of those polled being Anglo.

The biggest problem with the Albuquerque Journal poll is that it was taken September 11 to 14, a time when all the television and radio commercials where starting to kick in, negative attack ads were being run against front runner Tim Keller and there was a televised forum that occurred on September 15 on Channel 4 during prime time.

An analysis of the remaining candidates poll performance is difficult to gage given that all four polled below 5%.

It is difficult for any candidate to recover from low poll numbers and polls usually become self-fulfilling prophecies, unless you are Donald Trump, and I suspect Garcia Holmes, Pedrotty, Wheeler Diechel and Chavez will continue to poll at 5% or below each up and until election day.

THE KRQE CHANNEL 13 POLL

On September 5, 2017 KRQE reported the first poll in the 2017 Mayor’s race.
(http://krqe.com/2017/09/05/krqe-poll-albuquerque-voters-weigh-options-for-mayor-cite-crime-as-top-concern/)

The KRQE poll was one of 500 likely registered voters conducted by automatic phone calls with a margin of error of 5% which reduces accuracy.

The KRQE poll was taken before any of the candidates began to spend on radio and tv commercials.

KRQE reported each of the candidates polled as follows:

Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller – 22%
Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis – 11%
Former Democratic Party Chair Brian Colon – 10%
Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson – 8%
Independent retired APD Police Officer Michell Garcia-Holmes – 6%
Republican businessman Ricardo Chavez – 5%
Democrat Gus Pedrotty – 1%
Independent Susan Wheeler Diechel – 1%
UNDECIDED: 36%

The biggest winner in the KRQE poll, as with the two subsequent polls, was “undecided” at 36% or over one third of those polled still being undecided with the poll taken four weeks before the election.

The KOB CHANNEL 4 POLL:

On September 8, 2017 KOB reported a second poll.
http://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/mayoral-election-race-carroll-strategies-polling-albuquerque/4597439/?cat=500

The poll was conducted by Carol Strategies on September 3, 4, and 5, 2017.

The poll was one of 513 likely registered voters conducted by automatic phone calls with a margin of error of 4.3%.

KOB reported each of the candidates polled as follows:

Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller – 22.6%
Former Democratic Party Chair Brian Colon – 19.3%
Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis – 7.8%
Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson – 7.8%
Independent retired APD Police Officer Michell Garcia-Holmes – 5.8%
Republican businessman Ricardo Chavez – 3.5%
Democrat Gus Pedrotty – 1.9%
Independent Susan Wheeler Diechel – 1.8%
UNDECIDED: 30%

The biggest winner in the KOB poll was again “undecided” at 30% as compared to the 36% of undecided in the KRQE poll reported just one day earlier and the Journal poll at 32%.

ANALYSIS OF THE THREE POLLS TO PREDICT WHO WILL BE IN RUNOFF

From a historical standpoint, municipal elections are very low voter turnout.

The reliable municipal voters tend to be 50 years and older, conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans, and were the voters likely polled by the three polls taken.

Four years ago, only 19% of eligible voters voted in the lowest voter turnout since 1977 and I suspect that this year the voter turnout will be between 22% and 25%.

What may increase voter turnout is that the Healthy Workforce or mandatory sick leave ordinance that will be on the first ballot along with the Mayor’s race, unlike the “late term abortion” initiative four years ago that was placed on the “runoff” ballot and not with the Mayor’s race in order to favor the incumbent who supported the late term abortion issue.

The Albuquerque Journal poll taken at the same time as its poll for Mayor revealed that 53% of those polled support the mandatory sick leave ordnance, 31% oppose it while 16% are undecided and that support of the ordinance is strongest amongst Democrats, younger voters and Hispanics.

The increase in the minimum wage ordinance that was voted upon over six years ago passed with 70% of the vote.

Democrats Keller and Colon have both said they support the mandatory sick leave ordinance, while Republicans Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson say they oppose it.

With respect to the polls taken in the race for Mayor, all three polls show at least one third of voters have not made up their mind with the Journal poll reflecting 32% undecided, the KRQE poll reflecting 36% undecided and the KOB poll reflecting 30% undecided averaging out to 32.6% undecided for the three polls.

For many months, political pundits and insiders have been predicting a runoff will occur between Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis and first term Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller.

Before any of the polling done by the local news organizations, many political pundits and insiders were suggesting Mr. Keller had at least 30% to 35% or more being reflected in private campaign polling given his high name recognition as State Auditor, his very considerable support within the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, his endorsements and the substantial union contributions to his measured finance committee or PAC.

One insider went as far as to say the Keller campaign was so confident of their organization because they secured public finance, that there was a chance, albeit a slim one, that Keller could avoid a runoff and secure 50% of the vote.

Before any of the polling by news organization, many political pundits and insiders were suggesting that City Councilor Dan Lewis has a solid 22% to 25% percent being reflected in private polling given his name recognition, his news coverage as a City Councilor, his opposition to the controversial ART bus project, his substantial support within the Christian Evangelical community, his opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance and his support within the Republican Party establishment that would assist raising significant amounts of money as was done four years ago for Mayor Berry.

Tim Keller and Dan Lewis have not performed as well as what was being said privately a few months ago during the petition gathering period and the public finance qualifying period.

The news agency polls reflect a very tight race for a second-place finish.

In all three polls made by news agencies, Brian Colon has come in second to front runner Tim Keller.

Brian Colon ran neck and neck for second place with Dan Lewis in the Journal and KRQE poll, while surging beyond Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson in the KOB poll.

Keller’s poll numbers in the Journal poll at 25%, the KOB poll at 22.6% and the KRQE poll number at 22% are all so very close percentage wise as to be indistinguishable, with Keller having an average of 23.2% for the three polls.

An average of 23.2% for all three polls is an indication that Mr. Keller may have peaked and may not do any better in a runoff.

Brian Colon’s poll numbers reflect actual movement in the Journal poll at 14%, the KRQE poll at 10% and the KOB poll at 19.3% with an average of 11.1%.

The zig zag of movement in the Colon poll numbers is easily explained by the Journal poll including both land line and cell phones, with the other two being land lines, but what is accurate is that all three polls have a margin of error of 4% to 5% with Colon showing movement.

Brian Colon, unlike Tim Keller, started out with even lower polling numbers in campaign polls taken by insiders a few months ago and not made public like the news agency polls.

Brian Colon and Dan Lewis are battling out for a second-place finish to get in a runoff with Keller, with both Colon and Lewis showing momentum in the race while Keller appears to be stagnant.

What Tim Keller needs to be concerned about at this point is that he may have “peaked” with any further increase in his poll numbers stymied by his reduced funding as a “public financed” candidate and an inability to get his message out with television commercials, not to mention the negative attack ads against Mr. Keller.

A wild card is that the measured fiancé committee ALB Forward, chaired by one of Mr. Keller’s former campaign managers, has raised $170,000 and the committee has started to run positive ads which are slick and impressive for Mr. Keller, but the positive ads may not be enough to offset the attack ads against Keller.

Tim Keller is very popular in the progressive wing of the Democratic party, which will probably be the reason he will be in the runoff.

Brian Colon is also popular in the Democratic party, he is Hispanic and he has support within the more conservative and traditional wing of the Democratic Party and Republican business community which will be more inclined to support Colon over Keller in a runoff.

Republicans are far more likely to vote for Brian Colon over the more Progressive Tim Keller in a runoff, presuming they vote.

Based on all three of the polls, a runoff is extremely likely, with Tim Keller facing off with either Brian Colon or Dan Lewis.

I suspect that Progressive Tim Keller would win a runoff with conservative Republican Dan Lewis.

However, Mr. Keller will have a much harder time winning a run off with Brian Colon in that Mr. Colon is Hispanic, he has a wider appeal to the Republican business community and he is making a respectable showing with Independents.

To further complicate things for Tim Keller in a runoff with Brian Colon is the hard core conservative Republicans who vote for Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson.

Likely Lewis and Johnson voters are those who voted for Donald Trump and they are far less likely to vote someone who is as Progressive as Tim Keller and if they do vote in the runoff they will vote for Brian Colon, the moderate Democrat.

At this point in time, Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson are desperate to get in the runoff and their choice is to go negative on each other and go after Brian Colon.

A muddy path for Lewis is to attack Wayne Johnson but he will need to attack Colon to get his support down.

Wayne Johnson will continue his shots at Dan Lewis and will start in on Colon to keep Colon out of the runoff.

Johnson has made inroads into securing more Republican and conservative support with his aggressive and vocal opposition to “sanctuary city”, his opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance, his pandering to the business community and the service industry and construction industry with his strong opposition to the mandatory sick leave ordinance.

NEGATIVE ATTACK ADS AGAINST FRONT RUNNER TIM KELLER

On the very first day of early voting, negative TV and radio attack ads began running against front runner Tim Keller.

The Albuquerque Journal was right on que with a news article reporting the TV and radio attack ads with early voting having begun two days before.
(See September 15, 2017 Albuquerque Journal “Ad attacks Keller vote on sex offenders; Mayoral candidate denies bill he supported protects abusers”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1063671/keller-opponents-launch-attack-ad.html

The TV and radio attack ads against Keller are hard hitting and bring up a Senate bill then State Senator Tim Keller voted in favor for in 2011, with the bill failing on a 16 to 20 vote against.

The Senate Bill that Keller voted for would have prohibited local governments from adopting rules or laws restricting where sex offenders could live but would have allowed distance restrictions for a registered sex offender’s residence as a condition of probation or parole.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office favored the bill arguing that failing to pass it would result in local governments adopting exclusionary zones and other restrictions that could subject municipalities to legal challenges.

The Sex Offender Management Board, responsible for making recommendations to the state Sentencing Commission for managing and treating sex offenders, supported the Senate bill.

The attack ads make the inflammatory accusation that Keller chose to protect “sex offenders over our children”.

The attack ads go on to make the extremely inflammatory and downright false accusation that Keller was “not only against keeping child molesters from living close to schools and parks, but Tim Keller wanted to make Albuquerque a safe haven to attract child molesters from around the country.”

The TV commercial uses dark and sinister images of a child with an adult having a hand over the child’s mouth as if being abducted.

The radio commercials describe Mr. Keller as a liberal elitist living in a $600,000 country club home.

What the hell?

The ads are deceitful and manipulative and they are smearing a qualified candidate.

No way does the two-page Senate Bill even come close to supporting such inflammatory accusations and the ads are a pack of lies and are a total crock of excrement.

A measure finance committee called “Make Albuquerque Safe” paid for the ads and the chairwoman of the committee is Denis Romero and the treasurer is Donna Taylor.

What is disgusting is no one will know who paid for the ads until the next finance reports come out on September 22, 2017.

The TV and radios ads will probably have no impact on Mr. Keller’s core and very loyal progressive constituency reflected in his 23.3% average poll numbers, but I suspect the commercials will affect Independent voters and Republican voters and more conservative, traditional Democratic voters.

CONCLUSION

As the saying goes “a week in politics is an eternity”.

Political television ads, especially negative ads, can affect poll numbers and the outcome of the race.

The wild card in this election “House of Cards” is the considerable amount of money sources are saying is being raised and that is now be spent to run highly negative ads.

People constantly condemn negative and highly inflammatory political advertising and polls, but the cold hard reality is that people believe the ads, they affect the polls and the ads work.

Candidates on the receiving end of attack ads affecting poll standings find themselves using precious resources to defend themselves against lies such as the ads against Tim Keller.

The TV and radio ads I fear are only the beginning of more to come, not only against Keller but Brian Colon and Dan Lewis.

Even with only two weeks remaining, just about anything can happen.

What is for sure there will be a runoff and we can all look forward to another six full weeks of the two top vote getters bashing the hell out of each other until the runoff which is scheduled for November 16, 2017.

Whoever become Mayor will have the privilege and honor to deal with a police department and an economy that are akin to backed upped sewer lines, the work can be done, but you sure going to smell after four (4) years in office if you do it right to get things flowing in the right direction.

And people wonder why I did not run for Mayor even though I wanted the job four years ago?

Life after city hall is good!

THE KOB TOWNHALL FORUM AND THOSE ANNOYING ETHICS COMPLAINTS

On Friday, September 14, 2017, KOB Channel 4 sponsored a two hour, prime time forum between all eight of the candidates for Mayor.

The format was billed as a “town hall” with questions asked exclusively by registered voters from various locations in the city and the format was a success.

Keeping in line with recent KOB news reports and the stations concentration on the City of Albuquerque’s high crime rates, the town hall was devoted exclusively to the Albuquerque Police Department, the candidate’s platforms on crime and the Department of Justice mandated reforms.

All the candidates agree that APD staffing needs to be increased, that there needs to be a return to community based policing and the big challenge will be the Department of Justice (DOJ)reforms.

Only Wayne Johnson expressed opposition to the DOJ reforms saying that they interfere with the police from doing their jobs when in fact police shootings are down and the entire department has been trained in crisis intervention.

Wayne Johnson reminded me of the Mayor in the TV sitcom Spin City starring Michael J. Fox where the actor looked like a Mayor but who was totally clueless especially when Johnson said “crime is caused by criminals, not guns” or words to the affect.

The speaking styles of each of the candidates came out very clearly.

Brian Colon and Gus Pedrotty showed far more passion and a strong desire to be Mayor, they showed extensive knowledge of the APD and our crime rates and proposed solutions solutions.

Tim Keller and Dan Lewis were more measured with their responses and tended to use many of the same talking points that I have heard at so many other forums before but they did offer viable solutions to bring down crime rates and both advocated increasing the number of police officers on the street and a return to community based policing.

Wane Johnson and Michell Garcia Holmes both emphasized their past experiences at the positions they have held over the years, with Garcia Holmes emphasizing her work as a former police detective and Wayne Johnson talking about his work on the County Commission.

Susan Wheeler Diechel and Recardo Chaves seemed totally out of their element when talking about crime, which was to be expected given their backgrounds.

Ms. Wheeler Diechel went out of her way to say how much she agreed with Brian Colon and Gus Pedrotty as if adopting their platforms.

Mr. Chaves continued to have a difficult time speaking in front of an audience and expressing himself, but that was more of a reflection of being nervous, not a public speaker and a businessman all of his life.

Their love and commitment to the city by both Susan Wheeler Deichel and Ricardo Chaves came through as well as a desire to do a good job.

All the candidates performed well, gave succinct answers to the questions posed and there were no major gaffs that would jeopardize or damage their campaigns.

I was delighted to see Brian Colon and Wayne Johnson give kudos and encouragement to Gus Pedrotty acknowledging that he has indeed brought something to the table with his ideas.

After watching the two hour forum, I began writing my satirical article on the candidates entitled “Care For Some Cheese, My Precious? Then Meet Me In The Parking Lot!” and it can be read on my blog here: http://www.petedinelli.com/2017/09/16/care-for-some-cheese-my-precious-then-meet-me-in-the-parking-lot/

ANNOYING ETHICS COMPLAINTS

The Republican Party of New Mexico and Republican candidate for Mayor Wayne Johnson filed complaints with the Board of Elections and Campaign Practices challenging the cash “in-kind” donations received by Tim Keller as being a violation of the public finance laws prohibiting Mr. Keller from soliciting any further cash donations after accepting public financing.

At the heart of the allegations are that Tim Keller’s political consultants or manager solicited cash donations from donors and then reported those cash donations as “in kind” donations for goods and service to the campaign.

The truth is that there is no specific rule or regulation that prohibits the solicitation of cash as was done and then listing the cash donations as “in-kind donation” but such solicitation by a public finance candidate at the very least looks bad, gives the appearance of impropriety and undermines the spirit and intent of the public finance laws.

Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson was also on the receiving end of ethics charges relating to his fundraising activities, but the charges were filed with the county ethics board and not the City.

At the heart of the charges are that Wayne Johnson solicited donations for his Mayoral race from people who do business with Bernalillo County.

Ethics complaints usually never get as much traction in the races as people may think and are followed mostly by political insiders.

Voters tend to view them skeptically as part of the process and par for the course.

Ethics complaints usually cause little press except for when filed and then when ruled upon giving bragging rights to the party that prevails.

What the complaints do is become a real nuisance to distract candidate’s attention and take up lots of time and at times money to respond to the allegations.

The outcomes are usually fines, with nothing more happening, except the anxiety it causes candidates.

CONCLUSION

From a historical standpoint, municipal elections are very low voter turnout.

The reliable municipal voters tend to be 50 years and older and conservative.

Four years ago, only 19% of eligible voters voted in the lowest voter turnout since 1977 and I suspect that this year the voter turnout will be less than 25%.

As the saying goes “a week in politics is an eternity”.

Even with only two weeks remaining, just about anything can and will happen.

Care For Some Cheese, My Precious? Then Meet Me In The Parking Lot!

After watching so many Mayoral candidate forums and listening for hours to all the candidates, does anyone think the following is mudslinging or at least a little bit funny?

Tim Keller stared as Harvey Dent and “Two Face” in a Batman movie and flipping a silver dollar as an “in kind” cash donation while his longtime political consultant watched him with adoring eyes saying “my precious” over and over again.

Brian Colon still collects and stores powdered milk and government blocks of cheese in his home. He is eyeing the City warehouses as an alternative storage site for all the excess government cheese he has at home and buried in a cellar in his backyard. Rumor is he has a good buddy willing to set up a call center to sell that cheese so they can make a profit.

Gus Pedrotty does indeed still have his wisdom teeth with the other candidates poised to pull them out or strangle him to shut him up. As an alternative, they want to slip him some medical marijuana just to settle him down and slow down his public speaking at all the forums so everyone can understand what he is saying for a change.

As an ex-cop running for Mayor, Michell Garcia Holmes promises to carry a holster with a 57-magnum gun when she becomes Mayor and she is not afraid to use it on all child molesters by shooting them in the groin. Her favorite movie quote is from Dirty Harry, “Well do you feel lucky, punk, well do ya?”

Dan Lewis wants to be the next District Attorney or Bernalillo County Sheriff so he can make Albuquerque “the worse place to be a criminal” just like he watched during the last eight (8) years as a City Councilor as Mayor Berry has done. Dan also promises to open a city sponsored used car lot so that all the crooks can bring all our stolen cars and sell them and give city hall a cut of the action. According to Lewis, no cars stolen from Sidewinders clientele will be allowed to be sold at the city used car lot as per the instructions of Legacy Church Pastor Steve Smotherman.

Wayne Johnson wants to be a Federal Judge so he can deport people who are here illegally, especially Muslims and all those damn rapists and murderers from Mexico. Rumor is Wayne is buying stock in a national fence company that sells chain link fence at a discount and he is waiting for a return call from Donald Trump.

Susan Wheeler Diechel wants to give out free bikes and free walking shoes to everyone in the city and schedule bake sales to raise money to fund our police department. It is rumored Susan is really Martha Stewart in disguise here to serve her federal probation period and that she gave her identity away at a forum when she said “I just love broken ABQ but I have a hot glue gun and I am not afraid to use it and that’s a good thing!”

Ricardo Chavez wants to make civic plaza and our city parks and city golf courses into parking lots and charge $3.00 a day for overnight parking to solve our city budget problems. His city slogan will be “Mi parking lot es su parking lot.”

Please feel free to comment or add your own observations or mud, but make sure you make at least an attempt at humor.