Mayor Tim Keller Hastily Announces Reelection Bid Day After Sheriff Manny Gonzales Given Albuquerque Journal Front Page Profile News Coverage

In politics, media coverage can cause less confident politicians to over react in order to offset favorable coverage given to any rival. On March 21 and March 22, Albuquerque voters were witness to such media coverage and reactions between the two top emerging candidates running for Albuquerque Mayor, Conservative Democrat Sheriff Manny Gonzales and Progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller.


Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III has notified the city clerk he is running for Mayor and will be seeking public finance. Gonzales has submitted a candidate registration form for the race but he has yet to publicly announce he is running for Mayor.

On Sunday, March 21, the Albuquerque Journal ran a front-page article that continued on pages A-4 and A-5 on Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales. The front-page story headline was “Quick to draw fire – and fire back”, on page A-4 the headline was “On BCSO ride along, “That’s what I wanted to be” and the headline on A-5 was “Sheriff’s childhood dream: ‘Keeping people safe”. The link to the entire Albuquerque Journal article is here:

You know the Journal means business when it publishes color photos and calls in Senior Editor Ken Waltz, who has been with the Journal for decades, to write a political profile of anyone. The Sunday Journal is the largest circulation day of the newspaper. The news article was a “candidate profile” of Sheriff Gonzales complete with flattering, colored photos and bold headlines. On the front page below the fold was 2 and half inch by 1 and a half inch color photo of the Sheriff speaking. Appearing on page A-4 of the Journal was a 5” by 8” photo of the Sheriff in his dress BCSO uniform talking to former Attorney General William Bar. On page A-5 were two other colored photos, one 5” by 7” and one 4” by 5” of the sheriff.

The article was the most flattering article and profile of Manny Gonzales reported in all the years he has been in elective office. Usually, the Journal publishes editorials critical of Sheriff Gonzales, especially on his refusal to order lapel camera usage by all BCSO Deputies.

The first few sentences of the article captures the tone of the entire lengthy profile article and for that reason merits quoting:

“Hard-nosed. Outspoken. Controversial. Unapologetic.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III is all of that – whether you’re talking about hard-hitting press releases from his office announcing arrests to resisting on-body cameras for his deputies for years to shrugging off calls for his resignation from quarters that range from the American Civil Liberties Union to the state’s senior senator.

He has taken heat over a range of issues including meeting with then-President Donald Trump and agreeing to work with federal agents in a crime crackdown last summer and high-profile shootings by his deputies that led to multimillion-dollar settlements. He has at times been at odds with the district attorney and the governor.

A Marine Corps veteran who has been with BCSO for 25 years, Gonzales not only rejects the criticism, he doesn’t hesitate to fire back.

I don’t work for the governor. I don’t work for the mayor. I don’t work for the president of the United States. I answer to the people who voted me into office,” he said.”

The article continues by reporting on Sheriff Gonzales’ background and giving the Sheriff an opportunity to explain many controversies, including shootings his Sheriff Deputies have been involved with during his time in office.

It was absolutely disappointing that the Journal article failed to report on why Sheriff Gonzales is running for Mayor or for that matter what his platform will be.

The link to the entire Albuquerque Journal profile article is here:


On Monday, March 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced formally he is running for a second term. The announcement comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone. Over 2 years ago, Tim Keller made it known in a November 5, 2018 radio election night news coverage that he intended to run for a second term. In his March 23 reelection announcement, Keller said he has filed his candidate paperwork and will start campaigning in April when the qualifying period for public financing begins.

What was surprising was Tim Keller made the announcement with a press conference and no fan fair, no crowd, no rousing emotional speech. Keller stood outside in front of the old City Hall, south of the APD Main station in Downtown Albuquerque with his wife and two children by his side. Frankly, it was as if his announcement was hastily arranged in order off set Sheriff’s Gonzales Journal profile published the day before. By all standards, the Keller announcement was a lost opportunity that can not be repeated. It is likely Gonzales will have a more public announcement with a crowd of supporters and it will generate coverage on the TV News stations.

Keller’s announcement was very low key in comparison to the orchestrated public relations he is known for such as his state of the City addresses and his townhall meetings where thousands are called the day before. Keller’s March 14, 2021 State of the City address was given a full hour of television coverage on Channel 7, it was advertised in advance and it consisted of a very slick and impressive pre recorded one hour presentation that also included members of his administration speaking about the accomplishments of the Keller Administration. Watch parties for Keller’s State of the City Address were also arranged at local brewery’s with re-broadcasts of the address given on cable and his FACEBOOK page.

In his March 22 announcement, Keller proclaimed the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the signature accomplishment of his first term and had this to say:

“Shepherding our city, leading our city, making those tough decisions was a trial like no other. I think it’s shown we are tested by a crisis our city has not seen in decades, or in modern history. … That puts us in a great position going forward. … Now I believe our city is finally going in the right direction, and we must keep the course. … It’s time we hit the accelerator and we do not go backwards.”

We are poised to come out of the pandemic stronger and safer with thousands of new good-paying jobs for working families; revitalized public safety efforts; and taking on homelessness, which has been exacerbated by COVID, in a real way. That’s on top of our nationally-leading sustainability efforts, our innovative new safety department, and our commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion. Now that we’re finally going in the right direction, it’s time to hit the accelerator, not go backward—and that’s why I’m running for re-election. ”

Since February, 2020, for over a full year since the pandemic hit the city and after he declared a public health emergency, Keller has touted the city government’s ability to avoid employee layoffs and continue delivering services despite the pandemic. He also acknowledged that the $150 million in federal relief money the city received last spring was a key factor with the city’s success, but Keller argued that Albuquerque fared better than other comparable cities during the crisis.

Links to related news coverage is here:


Two other relatively unknows have said they are also running for Mayor. They are Nicholas Bevins, a 25-year-old activist, and Patrick Ben Sais has also filed registration as a mayoral candidate.

Bevins sent KOB 4 News a statement that read in part:

“I am running out of a sense of urgency for my generation and future generations who face countless threats such as climate change and economic inequality which are going unaddressed.”


Albuquerque’s municipal election is November 2. On the ballot this year will be the office for Mayor and the 5 odd numbered city council districts of the 9 city council seats. The council seats up for election are City Council seats 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

Both Keller and Gonzales are seeking public finance, hence the reason for Mayor Keller’s announcement and the Journal’s candidate profile of Sheriff Gonzales.

Under the city’s election laws, from April 17 to June 19, public finance candidates for Mayor must collect 3,779 qualifying $5 donations to the city and 3,000 nominating petition signatures both from registered Albuquerque voters. Qualifying public finance candidates will be given $660,000 in cash to run their campaigns in exchange for agreeing to a spending cap and not soliciting any further donations.

The postscript to this blog article provides greater details and deadlines.

Privately financed candidates for Mayor must wait to collect nominating petition signature and will have from June 8 to August 10 must gather more the 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City.

It’s likely that measured finance committee will be set up to advocate for candidates and they will be able to raise and spend unlimited amounts on behalf of candidates.


At this point in time, Mayor Tim Keller is the front runner in the race for Mayor and it is his race to lose. The problem is that the pandemic is now beginning to subside and the City’s out of control crime rates are once again emerging as the top story. During the upcoming long hot summer months, it is more likely than not the city will see violent crime continue to rise as people break out of quarantine and start to get back to normal life.


One thing for certain, Keller does have a big advantage with incumbency and his strong base of progressive supporters. Keller’s problem is his overall accomplishments have been less than stellar, especially dealing with the city’s high crime rates. Keller has not come even even close to the dramatic change he promised when he ran for Mayor. Just 5 months after being elected, Keller sign off on a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to APD and his promised implementation of the Department of Justice reforms stalled so much that he fired his first appointed Chief. Initially, Keller appointed as Chief and Deputy Chief’s those who were part of the culture that resulted in a Department of Justice investigation. Keller recently appointed Harold Medina permanent APD Chief, who has a nefarious past. Medina shot and killed a 14 year old child suffering a psychotic episode and brandishing a BB gun while Medina was attempting to take him into custody. Years later, it was Medina that gave authorization to use deadly force against and Iraq War Veteran suffering from post traumatic stress order, with the city hit with a Jury verdict of $10 Million for wrongful death after the jury decided the veteran was only a threat to himself. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers he promised by the end of his term with the current number being 998 sworn officers. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and his 4 programs to bring down violent crime have failed to move the murder trend down. During the last 3 years homicides have hit all time record numbers with many still unsolved. Keller has always appeared to be more interested in public relations and image than substance and accomplishment.


Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that is no way enough to run a city during bad economic times, especially with a police department operating under a court approved settlement agreement that Gonzales opposes. Gonzales is well known for his inability to work with other elected officials, often at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorneys Office and refusing to make changes within his office. Given his history of resisting civilian oversight of the Sheriffs Department, it is not at all likely that a Mayor Manny Gonzales will listen to and work with the city council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. The Sheriff’s grand standing refusal to enforce the Governor’s health care orders declaring they were “unconstitutional” during the pandemic was an expression that he feels law enforcement is above the law and he should answer to no one. Gonzales is a throw back to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement and he has failed to keep up with the times and implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. When Sheriff Gonzales says “I answer to the people who voted me into office” ostensibly he believes he answers to only those who actually vote for him and not those like 26-year-old mentally ill Elisha Romero and the 88-year-old Fedencio Duran suffering from Alzheimer’s, both killed by BCSO Deputies. Bernalillo County paid Romero’ family $4,000,000 and Duran’s family $1,495,000 in settlements for civil rights violations, wrongful death and Gonzales defended his officers and complained about the amounts of the settlements, and going so far as to give his deputies commendations for their actions in the Romero case. Sheriff Gonzales is viewed as a Democrate In Name Only (DINO) after he embraced President Trump’s Operation Legend and traveled to Washington, DC, to attend a press conference in the White House.


The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the corona virus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murders rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full 6 years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, persistent and increasing homeless numbers, a lack of mental health and counseling programs and very little economic development, just to mention a few.

The city can go no longer afford to elect a Mayor nor a City Council just based upon promises and nothing but eternal hope for better times and for a better future that only results in broken campaign promises. What is needed are elected officials that actually know what they are doing and will make the hard decisions without their eye on the next election or make decisions only to placate their base and to please only those who voted for them, which is exactly what Mayor Keller and Sheriff Gonzales have done now since they have been in office.

At this point, what is needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems. Such a debate can only happen with contested elections. The city needs a highly contested race for Mayor to reveal and come up with solutions to our problems. The city needs more than just two viable candidates for Mayor that will make the ballot such as Mayor Keller and Sheriff Gonzales. If that happens and it’s just Keller and Gonzales, we will be faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or simply not voting at all.

There is still time left for candidates to announce, but time is running short for candidates who want to seek public finance.



Albuquerque’s municipal election is November 2. On the ballot this year will be the office for Mayor and the 5 odd numbered city council districts of the 9 city council seats. The council seats up for election are City Council seats 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

March 1 was the first day candidates were able to declare to seek public finance beginning an 8-month election process. The time lines for privately finance candidates are on a later time frame.
The city link listing all deadlines is here:


From April 17 to June 19, 2021, candidates for Mayor must gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City.

From April 17 to June 19, 2021, Candidates for Mayor can collect the $5.00 donations and must collect 3,779 donations. Candidates for Mayor are only given 8 weeks to collect the 3,779 qualifying donations of $5.00. In 2017, there were 8 candidates for Mayor with only 1 candidate qualifying.


From May 31 to July 5, 2021, candidates for City Council must gather 500 qualifying signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent.
From May 31 to July 5, 2021, or approximately 4 weeks Candidates for City Council can collect the $5.00 donations only from May 31 to July 5, 2021, or approximately 4 weeks. There are varying number of $5.00 donations for each council district.

From June 8 to August 10, 2021, Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor must gather more than 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City.

From July 6 to August 10, 2021, Privately Financed Candidates for City Council must gather more than 500 signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent.

Privately financed candidates have no fundraising or spending limits. Privately financed candidates can raise and are free to accept campaign contributions from whatever legal source they want including contributions from individuals, businesses and corporations within the city, county, state or out of state and there is no city voter registration required.

There is no limit on what privately financed candidates can spend on their campaigns. However, there are limits on individual contributions privately financed candidates can accept from donors. Specifically, Article XIII, Section 4(e) limits the total contributions from any one person, with the only exception being the candidates themselves, and the private contribution cannot exceed 5% of the salary of the elected official at the time of filing the Declaration of Candidacy.


On March 2, it was reported that City Clerk Ethan Watson “announced [due to COVID-19] new procedures that allow the candidates to collect those signatures online, while also permitting them to still gather them in person.

The city clerk’s office is creating a new website, in collaboration with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, that will use the Secretary of State’s voter registration database for verification purposes before allowing a signature. The clerk’s office also is updating a second website that allows voters to make $5 contributions for candidates seeking public financing.


The City of Albuquerque “2021 CANDIDATE GUIDE” provides a detailed candidate calendar of deadlines on pages 6 to 12 of the guide. The Candidate Guide provides the dates and requirements for the filing of campaign finance reports.

The link to the Candidate Guide is here:


There is still time for people to make a decision to run for Mayor and City Council, but time is short for candidates for Mayor and City Councilor candidates who are seeking public financing funding.

It is hoped that there will be more than just one candidate opposing all incumbents. What is needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems. Such a debate can only happen with contested elections.

The very last thing the city needs is the coronation of unopposed incumbents.

Related links are here:

The link to the 2021 Candidate Guide is here:

The link to Public Finance General Information is here:

The link to Election Matching Funds information is here:

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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.