I will not be a candidate for Mayor of Albuquerque in 2017.
My decision not to run for Mayor has been a very difficult and an emotional decision for me and my family because of our love of Albuquerque, where we were all born and raised.
I still have the “fire in the belly” to run for Mayor because of what continues to happen at city hall, but my head tells me a run is not in the best interest of my family, my quality of life, nor are the rigors of what I believe will be another very brutal campaign. Been there, done that.
I would run for Mayor if I was able to raise the necessary contributions to run a successful campaign, and I have said that in the past.
After talking to supporters and people willing to contribute and raise money, I concluded I cannot raise necessary money to run a viable campaign.
Four years ago, I ran on Democratic core values including opposing the late term abortion initiative on the ballot, supporting gay marriage, city hall enforcement of the minimum wage, advocating for the working class, police reform, civilian oversight of APD and economic development.
Many events of the past four years have proven more than once that what I said during my 2013 campaign for Mayor was true.
What was discouraging and very disappointing four years ago was that only 19% of eligible voters actually voted in the lowest voter turnout municipal election since 1977.
Albuquerque is facing some very serious problems that require real solutions, not slogans, fake smiles nor slick announcements and commercials which offer little substance.
However, being able to say “I told you so” is not much of winning campaign and neither does it justify another run for Mayor on my part.
Making this announcement now discredits the false accusation that what I have to say and what I have been saying is because I was running for office.
All the reasons I ran for Mayor in 2013 still exist today, but things have only gotten worse. Those reasons include the Department of Justice investigation of APD finding a “culture of aggression”, resistance to the DOJ consent decree reforms, the complete destruction and mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, close to $50 million in settlements paid out in police misconduct cases, some of the highest violent and property crime rates in the country, a declining and failing city economy, high unemployment rates and failed and incompetent leadership at city hall.
Included in today’s reasons to run for Mayor is stopping the disastrous ART Bus project destroying Route 66, advocating for the mandatory sick leave initiative and discussion if Albuquerque should become a “sanctuary city”.
Four years ago, I was the only candidate out of four candidates that qualified for public financing collecting 5,000, $5.00 qualifying donations, when only 3,600 were required. My campaign gathered 10,000 signatures to get me on the ballot. My campaign was given $360,000 in public financing.
The $360,000 in public financing was insufficient to compete with the incumbent who raised over $910,000, whose campaign was managed by the Governor’s political operative and who was supported by the Governor’s political machine in a low voter turnout race.
Based on my political instincts and past experience, public financing alone will not be enough to run an effective campaign.
I believe the 2017 Mayor’s race will be a $1 million race for the initial election with another $500,000 for a run off for the successful candidate.
A few candidates have already raised between $100,000 to $200,000.
Nine candidates will try to qualify for public financing but many will not succeed securing the qualifying $5 dollar donations but many will secure the 3,600 signatures to get on the ballot.
I suspect “measured finance” committees will be raising and contributing money to the Mayor’s race.
I believe there will be very wealthy donors and interest groups, including from outside the State of New Mexico, contributing huge amounts of money to candidates for their campaigns and their political consultants, which is what happened last year in a few races.
There are 12 candidates registered with the city clerk’s office running for Mayor and likely there will be more.
So far, I am not impressed with the announced candidates and what they are saying, especially on their proposed solutions on reducing our high crime rates and APD reform.
The campaign is still very early and I am hopeful a candidate will emerge that I can support who shares my views, my Democratic core values and who I can vote for and even help.
A few of the announced candidates for Mayor are saying some of the same things I said four years ago and what I have been saying on my political blog which gives me some satisfaction.
On February 16, 2017, candidates for Mayor to get on the ballot will be allowed to start gathering signatures from registered voters.
I wish all the candidates for Mayor well and hope they all get on the ballot in the hopes that it will increase voter turnout.
I encourage all voters to decide on a candidate, support them and vote for them.
One final thing I do want to say to voters is “follow the money” and know the consultants hired before you vote so you can know what you are really getting in a candidate and who the candidate is really beholding to.
In the mean time, I will continue with my political blog at www.PeteDinelli.com and comment on the candidates for Mayor, City Council and the serious issues facing our city and our state.
Please stay tuned to my FACEBOOK postings as well.
Hopefully a candidate with real solutions will emerge that I can support.
Thanks to my family, my wife Betty of 33 years, my two sons Mark and George, all of my entire family and all those who have supported me in the past.
In the meantime, Betty and I intend to enjoy our retirement and continue with our travel plans.
Who knows, like a bad penny, I just may show up again in 2018 election cycle for a Federal, State or County office because I still have a desire to serve my community.
Best wishes to all and please stay tuned to my blog.