Only 7 Out of 15 City Council Candidates Qualify For Public Finance; 14 Candidates Have Not Collected Required Nominating Petition Signatures

The 2019 Albuquerque Municipal election process is already underway with the City of Albuquerque’s Municipal election to be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Debates are being held by neighborhood associations. There are a total of 15 candidates running for city council in the 4 city council seats that will be on the November 5, 2019 ballot. The final day to collect and turn in $5.00 qualifying donations is Friday, May 30, 2019. The City Clerk has already reviewed and certified a number of candidates for public finance. The final day to turn in qualifying nominating petition signatures from registered voters is June 28, 2019.

Currently, under Albuquerque’s charter, a candidate for city councilor or mayor must receive at least 50% plus 1 of the vote to win an election without a run off outright. If no candidate receives 50% plus one of the vote, the top two finishers face off in a separate runoff election and whoever gets the 50% majority vote wins the election. Candidates for Mayor and City Council must also submit nominating petitions with signatures of registered city voters.

There is legislation still pending before the city council creating a “rank voting election” for the November 5, 2019 election and eliminating run off that has yet to make it out of city council committee. Ranked-choice voting is also known as “instant runoff”. It eliminates the need for a runoff election and all the campaign time and costs associated with a runoff. The ultimate winner of the election is determined with a mathematical calculation of votes listed at once on a single ballot with an elimination process.


District 2 incumbent City Councilor Isaac Benton, has 5 opponents seeking to replace him. The candidates are: Steve Baca (D), Joseph Griego (D), Robert Raymond Blanquera Nelson (D), Zack Quintero, (D) and Connie Vigil, (I). All candidates in District 2 sought public financing.

District 4 has 5 candidates running to replace Brad Winter. Those candidates are: Brook L. Bassen, Athena Ann Christodoulou, Mary Sue Flynt, Ane C. Romero, Haley Josselyn Roy. Four candidates in District 4 are seeking public financing with one candidate notifying the City Clerk she abandoned her efforts to seek public finance and will privately finance..

District 6 City Councilor Pat Davis has only one challenger and she is Gina Naomi Dennis (D) who is an attorney, neighborhood activists and who was a Bernie Sanders delegate in 2016 to the Democratic National Convention.

District 8 City Councilor Trudy Jones has only one challenger and she is S. Maurreen Skowan who is public financing. Trudy Jones has elected to finance her campaign with private financing and has never sought public financing of her campaigns.


Only one month is given to candidates running for city council to collect $5.00 qualifying donations to the city in order to secure public financing. The qualifying period is May 1, 2019, to May 31, 2019 to collect the $5.00 donations to secure public financing. $1 per registered voter in a City Council District is given to candidates who qualify for public finance. The number of $5.00 donations needed in each city council district to qualify for public financing are as follows: In District 2, 413, in District 4, 393, in District 6, 323 and in District 8, 425. The $5.00 donations are made to the city and must come from registered voters in each district.


As of May 30, 2019, the Albuquerque City Clerk has verified qualifying donations as follows for each candidate:

DISTRICT 2- 433 Qualifying Donations Needed For Public Finance, 3 candidates qualify


Isaac Benton: 552 Verified, 0 Remaining To Collect, 100% Of Requirement met
Joseph Griego: 454 Verified , 0 Remaining To Collect, 100% Of Requirement met
Zachery A. Quintero: 467 verified, 0 remaining to collect, 100% of requirement met


Robert Raymond Blanquera Nelson: 165 verified, 268 remaining to collect, 38% of requirement met
Steve Baca: 8 verified, 425 remaining to collect, 2% of requirement met
Connie Vigil: 18 verified, 415 remaining to collect, 4% of required met

DISTRICT 4 – 393 Qualifying Donations Needed For Public Finance. This is City Councillor Brad Winters District and he is not running for another term. All the candidates are seeking public finance:


Brook L. Bassan: 406 verified, 0% remaining to collect, 100% of requirement met


Athena Ann Christodoulou: 126 verified, 267 remaining to collect, 32 % of requirement met

Ane C. Romero: 305 verified, 88 remaining to collect, 78% of requirement met
NOTE: Ane C. Romero with only 88 remaining donations to submit is within striking distance to qualification and has until 11:59 pm to submit donations to the city clerk.…/view/ane-c-romero

Haley Josselyn Roy: 136 verified, 257 remaining to collect, 35 % of requirement met

NOTE: Mary Sue Flynt notified the City Clerk she abandoned her efforts to seek public finance and will privately finance. Before that she had submitted 3 verified $5.00 donations.

DISTRICT 6 – 323 Qualifying Donations Needed For Public Finance. Both candidates have qualified for public finance.

Pat Davis: 331 verified, 0 remaining to collect, 100% of requirement met
Gina Naoi Dennis: 348 verified, 0 remaining to be collect, 100% of requirement met

DISTRICT 8 – 424 Qualifying Donations Needed For Public Finance. Incumbent City Councilor Trudy Jones is not seeking public financing and will be relying on private donation but her opponent S. Maureen Skowran sought public finance and has now qualified:

S. Maureen Skowran – 454 verified, 0 remaining to collect, 100% of requirement met.


For all the City Council candidates, the qualifying period to secure qualifying nominating signatures from registered voters to be placed on the ballot is May 1, 2019 to June 28, 2019. All candidates running for city council must secure 500 nominating signatures from registered voters who live in the dis As of May 30, 2019, the Albuquerque City Clerk has verified qualifying nominating petition signatures as follows for each candidate:

DISTRICT 2 (Incumbent Isaac Benton)

Steve Baca: 61 verified, 439 more needed
Isaac Benton: 371 verified, 129 more needed
Joseph Griego: 574 verified, -0- more needed
Robert Raymond Blanquera Nelson: 224 verified, 276 more needed
Zachery A. Quintero: 104 verified, 396 more needed
Connie Vigil: 121 verified, 397 more needed

DISTRICT 4 – (This is Brad Winters district and he is not running for another term.)

Brook L. Bassan: 227 verified, 273 more needed
Athena Ann Christodoulou: 78 verified, 422 more needed
Mary Sue Flynt: 6 verified, 494 more needed
Anne C. Romero: 91 verified, 409 more needed
Haley Josselyn Roy: 20 verified, 480 more needed

DISTRICT 6 (Incumbent Pat Davis)

Pat Davis: 78 verified, 422 more needed
Gina Naoimi Dennis: 48 verified, 452 more needed

DISTRICT 8 (Incumbent Trudy Jones)

Trudy E. Jones: 0 verified, 500 more needed
S. Maureen Skowran: 137 verified, 363 more needed

You can review the full breakdown of verified donations and nominating signatures here:


Collecting the $5.00 qualifying donations for public finance is a lot easier than it looks and is in fact extremely difficult, unless you are an incumbent. People simply do not like to donate to politicians. Only 7 out of a total 15 candidates for City Council have qualified for public finance. To each of the 7, congratulations and thank you for your participation.

Technically, Joseph R. Griego running in District 2 against incumbent Isaac Benton is the only one of all the 15 candidates who has secured the 500 required nominating petition signatures. Collecting the required number of nominating signatures is not that difficult. With over a full month left to gather nominating petition signatures from register voters it is more likely than not that a solid majority, maybe even all, of the 15 candidates will qualify for the ballot by collecting the 500 qualifying signatures.

Once all the candidates secure their positions on the ballot, the races no doubt will heat up and voters can expect knocks on the door from candidates seeking their support. All too often, it is only during election time that voters see and hear personally from their City Councillors. Usually the only time voters see their City Councillors is in news reports or at press conferences to take credit for something they had little to do with.

Voters need to take advantage of the opportunity to ask the candidates where they stand on the issues that are critical to their districts. Hopefully voters will ask Isaac Benton, Pat Davis and Trudy Jones why they were such strong supporters of the disastrous ART Bus project and why they allowed the destruction of one of the finest police departments in the country by failing to exercise their oversight authority and calling into question the previous administration’s management of APD. When its all said and done, voters must understand who they are voting for and if a candidate does indeed represent their best interests and not the candidates own personal agenda.

For related blog articles see:

Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton: “It’s My Job To Make Sure I Win!”; Rank Voting And Public Finance Favors Incumbents

ALB City Councilors Isaac Benton and Pat Davis Both Need To Voted Out Of Office And Thanked For Their Service

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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.