Shifting Polls Reveal Keller In Runoff, Second Place Too Close To Call

On Sunday, September 17, 2017, the Albuquerque Journal released its long-anticipated poll by well-known pollster Brain Sanderoff with Research & Polling.

(See September 17,2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “Journal poll: Keller leads, but runoff almost certain”)

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%

On September 28, 2017 Political blogger Joe Monahan with “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan”, posted the most recent campaign survey conducted by the democrat leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP).

The PPP polls reflects that undecided voters have dropped by 20% between the two polls, from 32% in the Journal poll to 10% in the PPP poll.

The PPP poll reflects Tim Keller has increased his lead by 8% while the race for second place continues to be very tight between Dan Lewis, Brian Colon with Wayne Johnson now a contender for a second place finish.

The PPP poll was commissioned by the measured finance committee set up to promote Tim Keller for Mayor and it has raised over $220,000 to promote Keller’s candidacy.

The survey was conducted amongst 788 likely voters who use land lines, but was a weighted poll to make up for cell phone usage and the poll has a margin of error of 4%.

The poll was made up of 47% democrats, 38% Republicans and 15% Independents which reflects the projected voter turnout based on early voting figures.

The PPP poll has Democrat State Auditor with a very comfortable lead over the other seven (7) candidate with 33% of those polled which indicates Keller is highly likely to be in the runoff.

The race for second place finisher is way too close to call with Republican Dan Lewis at 17%, Democrat Brian Colon at 16% and Republican Wayne Johnson at 14%, with all three within the 4% margin of error.

Republican Recardo Chavez announced that he has withdrawn from the race and endorsed fellow Republican Dan Lewis.

Following are the complete PPP survey percentages as reported by Joe Monahan:

Democrat Tim Keller – 33%
Republican Dan Lewis- 17%
Democrat Brian Colon – 16%
Republican Wayne Johnson – 14%
Independent Michelle Garcia Holmes – 4%
Democrat Gus Pedroty – 4%
Republican Ricardo Chavez – 1%
Indpendant Susan Wheeler Diechel – 1%


The PPP poll points out two very distinct and possible scenarios for the outcome of the runoff to be held on November 14, 2017.

The PPP poll makes it clear that Tim Keller with 33% will be in the runoff and the 33% reflects what insiders were saying what Keller was at during the petition signature gathering process and public finance qualifying period.

The attack ads against Keller accusing him of being a sex offender sympathizer when he voted in favor as a Senate bill as a State Senator appear to have backfired and increased his support amongst undecided voters.

The PPP poll numbers indicate a Keller victory over either Republican Dan Lewis or Wayne Johnson but a much less certain outcome and a possible loss by Tim Keller to Brian Colon in a runoff.

In the PPP poll, Keller at 33% and Colon at 16% equals 49% which I suspect are the progressive democrats that are loyal Keller supporters at 33% and Colon’s 16% are the more moderate to conservative democrats.

Had Keller or Colon not run against each other, a first ballot victory would have gone very easily to either one with the combined base support of at least 49% reflected in the PPP poll (Keller at 33% + Colon at 16% = 49%) with additional votes from independents that are considered more likely to vote for a Democrat over a Republican.

Dan Lewis at 17%, Colon at 16% and Johnson at 14%, are all three within the 4% margin of error of each and their totals equal 47%.

Brian Colon will need over the next few days to secure a respectful amount of the undecided 10% of the vote reflected in the poll in order for him to get into the runoff.

Brian Colon has released a third TV commercial that highlights his family and has been sending out mailers targeting women democrats and independents.

The Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson voters are probably the Conservative Republican base vote of at least 31% and it is doubtful they will vote for someone as progressive as Tim Keller in a runoff.

Lewis has released another television ad that highlights the stabbing of a victim by a career criminal released by a judge and once again makes the false claim that he can hold judges accountable.

Johnson has released and attack ad against Lewis highlighting his vote for $13 million dollars for the ART bus project and Lewis failure to show and vote against a sanctuary city policy and making the same false promise as Lewis that he will hold judges accountable.

Brian Colon in contrast to progressive Keller is a moderate pro-business democrat, Colon has a wider appeal to Republican voters over the Progressive Tim Keller in a runoff and would therefor get the lion’s share of the Republican vote, presuming they will vote and not stay home if there is no Republican in the runoff.

If Colon is not in runoff, Keller will pick up his 33%, Colon’s of 16%, progressive Pedrotty’s 4%, and Independent Susan Wheeler Deichels 1% for at least 54% without considering the remaining low percentages of the other candidates.

If Brian Colon is in the runoff with Keller, Colon picks up his 16%, the Lewis vote of 17%, the Johnson vote of 14%, the Chavez vote of 1% for 48% while Keller picks up his 33% base, Progressive Pedrotty’s 4%, Wheeler-Diechel’s 1% for 38%, with Colon and Keller splitting Garcia-Holmes Independent vote of 4% giving Colon a possible advantage at 50% to Keller’s 40%.

Obviously, there are number of other factors that will come into play, such as will Republicans get out to vote or sit out a runoff out if there are only two Democrats in the runoff.

Other factors include who will the undecided voters break for, what will be voter turnout in a runoff be and not to mention six weeks of rough and tumble campaigning and negative ads that are becoming more and more prevalent in the race.

What is certain in the runoff is that campaign donations are going to play a major factor.

Keller is the only publicly finance candidate and will receive approximately $125,000 automatically from the city for the runoff.

Keller has tremendous union financial support with his measured finance committee raising over $220,000 with most coming from organized labor.

Colon has raised $800,000 and is expected to be able to again raise large sums for a runoff.

It’s the Republican business community embodied by NAIOP, the Chamber of Commerce membership, the Economic Forum, the NM Business Coalition and Republican operatives who have the potential to raise large amounts of money to stop Tim Keller in a runoff.

The Albuquerque business community will want to preserve their city hall influence and their money will go to a Republican who makes it into a runoff or Brian Colon in a runoff.


Obviously the above is all speculation and is more for consumption by political junkies.

The Albuquerque Journal will be releasing its final poll this Sunday, October 1, 2017 two days before the October 3, 2017 election.

The only thing for sure is that the runoff is scheduled for Tuesday, November 14, 2017 and the new Mayor of Albuquerque will be sworn in on December 1, 2017.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.