Saturday, April 17 was the first day that candidates for Mayor and City Council seeking public financing were allowed to start circulating nominating petitions for signatures and allowed to solicit the $5.00 qualifying donations for public financing. The commencement time for privately finance candidates to collect nominating petition signatures for Mayor is June 8 and for City Council it is July 6.
City Clerk records reveal that there is one more candidate for Mayor, 3 more candidates for City Council and a measured finance committee set up for the re election of Mayor Tim Keller.
The link to the city clerks web site is here:
ONE MORE CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR, MAYBE TWO
RADIO TALK SHOW HOST EDDY ARAGON
According to the City Clerk’s records radio talk show host Eddy Aragon has submitted his candidate registration paperwork to run for Mayor. Aragon also ran for Mayor four years ago but failed to get on the ballot and collect the $5.00 qualifying donations for public finance because of a last-minute entry. Just recently, Aragon ran against State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce for Republican Party chairman proclaiming the party needed a new generation of leader. Aragon is an extreme, right wing conservative and staunch supporter of President Trump. Aragon is known for his sharp tongue approach on his radio programs that alienates both friends and foes alike. Aragon has essentially bought into the Sean Hannity approach to promoting right wing conservatism. Aragon has been extremely critical of Mayor Tim Keller and Keller’s progressive agenda at the city, and that is likely to get worse even if Aragon does not run.
NEWS UPDATE: ARAGON OUT
On April 27, “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan” has reported that Republican talk show host Eddy Aragon is not running for Mayor:
Radio talk show host, Republican and avid Trump backer Eddy Aragon told us Monday he will not be launching a mayoral candidacy, after speculation that he might:
“I don’t have the motivation to run. I have a business to attend to but I will continue to point out the wrong direction the NMGOP is taking including the role of Steve Pearce and Jay McCleskey. Republicans are backing Democrat Gonzales and that is traitorous. Not to mention that the current crime wave has happened under Gonzales’ watch.”
FORMER COUNTY COMMISSONER LONNIE TALBERT
It has been reported that former Bernalillo County Commissioner and Commission Chairman Lonnie Talbert has said “he’d “definitely consider … if it were the right opportunity at the right time.” Talbert is a bank executive and president with Southwest Capital Bank. Talbert recently termed out after eight years representing the county’s northeast district on the commission.
FOUR MORE FOR CITY COUNCIL
On Sunday, April 25 District 1 City Councilor LAN SENA announced that she is running for her first full term to the City Council. She represents Albuquerque’s Central West Side. She was appointed to the City Council in March 2020, by Mayor Tim Keller. To date there are no others running in District 1.
CYNTHIS BORREGO: On April 29, City Councilor Cynthia Borrego filed her Candidate Registration form with the City Clerk and is listed as seeking public financing. JOSHUA MARTINEZ is listed as her Treasurer. Borrego has yet to make a formal announcement, but her registration and collection of $5 qualifying donations to the city confirms she is running for a second 4 year term.
DAN LEWIS: April 18 former Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis for the District filed his intent Listed as the thee Treasurer for the Lewis campaign is ELLIS MCMATH. Listed as an Alternate contact is MEGAN MCMILLAN who ostensibly is a political campaign consultant who works for Jay McClusk in that the contact email is for MCCLESKEY MEDIA. Jay McClusky in the former campaign manager for former Governor Susana Martinez and former Republican Mayor RJ Berry and is the go to guy for Republican candidates. Jay McClusky is known as a “slash and burn” political consultant.
PHILLIP RAMIREZ has submitted his candidate registration paperwork to run for City Council District 5. District 5 is the Northwest part of Albuquerque. Democrat City Councilor Cynthia D. Borrego is the incumbent and she was elected to City Council in November 2017. Ramirez was one of 5 candidates in 2017 who initially ran against Councilor Borrego, but Ramirez failed to qualify for the ballot.
Listed as the Treasurer for the Ramirez campaign is CORRINE TREVINO. Also listed as her email address is SISTO@ABEYTAASSICIATES.COM. Sisto Abyeta is a very well know progressive Democrat political consultant who has been involved in many campaigns over the years. He is the primary principal in his political consulting firm Abeyta Associates. It is more likely than not that Abeyta is the campaign manager for Ramirez. In 2019, Sisto Abeyta was the main political consultant for Democrat Joseph Griego who ran for City Council District 2 and was the first to qualify for public financing but District 2 incumbent City Councilor Isaac Benton prevailed beating out 4 opponents.
District 7 is current represented by Diane Gibson. District 7 is Albuquerque’s mid-heights including uptown and parts of the near northeast heights. On April 20, it was reported that Diane Gibson will not be seeking a third term. The city clerk lists Tammy Fiebelkorn as a candidate for the position but she has yet to announce.
On April 26, attorney and community activist Mauro Walden-Montoya announced he is running to fill the vacancy. Mr. Montoya was born and raised in Albuquerque, he is a Highland High School graduate, a New Mexico State graduate and he is a 1984 George Washington University Law School graduate. He has been very involved with the Albuquerque LGBTQ community and organizing the Gay Pride Parade in Albuquerque. Mauro Walden-Montoya is the past the president of the Albuquerque LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. He has been the LGBTQ Ambassador for the city’s One Albuquerque program and coordinated the Western Business Alliance conference in 2020. He is a board member for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and works at the City of Albuquerque and Albuquerque Tourism & Scenic Factory. He is married to Andy Walden Montoya since July 5, 2014.
The link to Mr. Walden-Montoya’s announcement in here:
On February 27, Republican City Councilor Don Harris who was first elected to the City Council in 2005, announced he is not running for another term (as if anyone knew he has been on the council for 14 years). District 9 is the far Southeast Heights and Foothills.
There are two new candidates that have filed candidate registrations for City Council District 9, bring the total number up to 4 candidates with Byron Powdrell and Andrew Lipman.
The two other candidates are ROB GILLY, JR. and RENEE GROUT.
ROB GILLY, JR. is seeking public financing. The link to the Rob Grilly City Clerk page is here:
STEPHANIE TEICH-MCGOLDRICK is listed as the Treasurer for Rob Grilley Jr for City Council.
Renee Gout is seeking public financing. The link to the Renee Grout City Clerk page is here:
Listed as the Treasurer for Renee Grout is RUSS HILLER.
Listed as the alternate contact for Renee Grout is MEGAN MCMILLAN.
ONE MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEE FOR MAYOR TIM KELLER
Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a Measure Finance Committee is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque. Measure Finance Committees are required to register with the City Clerk within five (5) days once they have raised or spent more than $250 towards their purpose.
All Measure Finance Committees must register with the Albuquerque City Clerk, regardless of the group’s registration as a political action committee (PAC) with another governmental entity, county, state or federal. Measure finance committees are allowed to commence fundraising at anytime but are required file financial statements and limits on donations are provided by law.
Measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates. However, a Measure Finance Committee that receives aggregate contributions more than 30% of the Mayor’s salary from one individual or entity, must incorporate the donor’s name into the name of the committee. No Measure Finance Committee is supposed to coordinate their activities with the individual candidates running for office, but this is a very gray area as to what constitutes coordination of activities and it is difficult to enforce.
Two measured Finance committees have been formed ostensibly to support and promote Manny Gonzales For Mayor. Those measured finance committees are:
1. RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR A BETTER ALBUQUERQUE
STATED PURPOSE: “Support Albuquerque mayoral candidate who will improve the quality of life for it’s citizens as well as oppose candidates that are detrimental to the future growth and safety of Albuquerque”.
The chairperson of the “Retired Law Enforcement for a Better Albuquerque is Jason Katz and the Treasurer is listed as Sistine Jaramillo. Upon information and belief, Jason Katz is a former and retired Chief Deputy of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and is a longtime supporter and has worked for Gonzales. No background information could be located on Sistine Jaramillo.
2. SAVE OUR CITY
STATED PURPOSE: To address the serious crime and leadership problem in Albuquerque
The Chairperson of “Save Our City” is Sam Vigil and the Treasurer is Republican State Representative Bill Rehm.
Sam Vigil is the husband Jacquiline Vigil who was gun down in her car backing out of the family home driveway in the early morning hours as she was leaving for the gym. She is the mother of 2 state police officers.
Bill Rehm is a Republican New Mexico State Representative District 31, Bernalillo County, has been a State Representative since 2006. Rehm retired in 2000 from BCSO Sheriff’s office as Captain.
AND NOW THERE IS ONE FOR KELLER
As of April 26, one measured finance committees has been formed to support Mayor Tim Keller’s bid for a second 4 year term .
The Measured finance committee is identified as “ BUILD BACK ‘BURQUE”.
STATED PURPOSE: Support mayor Tim Keller’s re-election to a second term for the city of Albuquerque
The Chairperson for “Build Back ‘Burque” is Michelle Mayorga. According to the American Association of Political Consultants “Michelle Mayorga has spent nearly 2 decades working on campaigns, progressive issues, and in local and national administrations. She previously served as Western Field Director at the AFL-CIO, Western Political Director at the DCCC, and Coordinated Director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico in 2012.”
The Treasurer for “Build Back ‘Burque” is Robert Lara. Mr. Lara is a licensed New Mexico attorney and is the former State Treasurer of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.
COMMENTARY: With well known Democrat Robert Lara, the former Democratic Party Treasurer and Michelle Mayorga, a highly successful Democratic political operative and fund raiser on board to head up “Build Back ‘Burque” you can expect they will be tapping into high dollar end donations within the Democratic Party from throughout the State and nationally. Both Lara and Mayorga have a proven record of raising high dollar campaign donations. It’s likely Lara and Mayorga will raise upwards of $1 million or even more to promote Keller for Mayor. Further the fund raising duo will likely solicit donations from Keller donors when he ran for State Senate and State Auditor where he raised hundreds of thousands in large donations from the Democratic party faithful. The meaning of the name of the measured finance committee “Build Back ‘Burque” is difficult to understand and it should have been called “Buy Back Burque Again”.
OTHER POTENTIAL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES TO WATCH
Even though the qualifying period to collect $5.00 donations and nominating petitions commence on April 17 and ends June 19, 2021 for publicly financed there is still more than enough time for many more to run for Mayor as privately financed candidates. The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect signatures is much later from publicly finance candidates. That time for Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor to gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City is from June 8 to August 10, 2021.
With two highly visible Democratic candidates running for Mayor, the chances of more Republicans entering the race does increase. A few of those Republicans being mentioned include:
1. Republican and former City Councilor Dan Lewis
Lewis lost to Keller 3 years ago in a landslide runoff. Lewis is giving mixed signals if he wants to run again for his old city council seat or run for Mayor. Lewis relied on private finance to run for Mayor 4 years ago. Review of all the campaign finance reports filed with the City Clerk reveals that Republican Dan Lewis raised more than $847,000 in private cash contributions for his 2017 run for Mayor and raised more than $22,000 in “in-kind” contributions for the elections for a total of $869,000, which is an impressive amount of money by any measure for a municipal election.
2. Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes
Garcia Homes is a retired APD officer and Democrat Attorney General Gary King’s spokesperson, a 2017 candidate for Mayor, the 2018 Republican candidate for Lt. Governor and the 2020 Republican Candidate for Congress and staunch Trump supporter even after the January 6 insurrection and takeover of the United States Capital. Garcia Homes posted on FACEBOOK that it was not Trump supporters who stormed the capitol on January 6 but “antifa” dressed up pretending to be Trump supporters.
3. 2020 Republican US Senate candidate Mark Ronchette
Mark Ronchette could easily run for Mayor. Ronchette made a respectable showing for U. S. Senate and his strong Republican base of support and likeability by his viewers in Albuquerque would make him formidable in a nonpartisan race such as Mayor.
4. Republican Steve Maestas
Steve Maestas is a respected and successful real estate developer and principal of Maestas & Ward. He has never run nor held public office before and is unknown to the general public. Sources are saying is he is willing and wealthy enough to self-finance, but saying it and doing it are always two totally different things.
5. Republican freshman City Councilor Brook Bassan
City Councilor Bassan is emerging as a major critic of Mayor Keller on the City Council and making some sense at times. Bassan still has very limited understanding of city government and how it works after serving only two years, but would likely attract strong Republican support both in organization and funding.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Mayor Tim Keller is no doubt breathing a little easier now that a measured finance committee has been formed to raise money and promote him. In 2017, Keller’s public finance campaign was underwritten by 3 measured finance committees that raised thousands of dollars to promote Keller for Mayor. Keller did not discourage it but mislead the public when he said he was opposed to dark money campaign contributions but said he was “walking the talk” by accepting public finance and agreeing to the spending cap. He is doing it all over again as he runs for a second term. The beauty of such a scheme is to be able to run a positive campaign with you public finance money and let the measured finance committee throw the political collective feces at your opponents.
In the 2017 municipal election, “ABQ Forward Together” was the progressive measured finance committee that was formed specifically to raise money to promote progressive Tim Keller for Mayor. The measured finance committee chairperson was Neri Olguin a former campaign manager of Tim Keller’s when he successfully ran for State Senate and who is now an alternate contact for the 2021 Keller campaign. “ABQ Forward Together” raised over $663,000 for Keller’s 2017 bid for Mayor. The amount included cash donations or in-kind donations from the Working Families Party, Ole and the Center for Civic Action.
During the 2017 Mayor’s race, Keller received significant support in one form or another from the progressive organizations of OLÉ of New Mexico, the New Mexico Working Families Party, and Progress Now New Mexico. All 3 organizations or their membership in one form or another became very involved with the 2017 Albuquerque Mayor’s race.
When it was all said and done, a total of $1,358,254 was actually spent on Tim Keller’s 2017 successful campaign for Mayor. According to City Campaign finance reports, Keller was given $506,254 public finance money, $663,000 was raised by the measured finance committee ABQ Forward for Keller, $67,000 was spent by ABQFIREPAC on Keller’s behalf and $122,000 was spent by ABQ Working Families for Keller for a total of $1,358,254.
2021 MAYOR’S RACE
It is more likely than not the Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales will likely qualify for the $661,309.25 in public finance by collecting 3,779 qualifying $5 donations made to the city by registered voters. The same cannot be said for Mayor candidates Nicholas Bevins and Patrick Ben Sais given the extreme difficulty it takes to collect that many $5 donations unless you have hundreds of dedicated supporters. In order to collect 3,779 qualifying donations over the 64 days allotted, a candidate’s campaign must collect at least 59 donations a day plus 3 more.
(64 collection days X 59 donations a day + 3 = 3,779)
If Bevins, Sais and Aragon fail to collected the 3,779 qualifying donations of $5.00 for public financing of $660,000, they can always revert to and elect to private financing. They are still required to collect the 3,000 in nominating petition signatures.
MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEES WARP MAYOR’S RACE
The fact that measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates is what makes them a major threat to warping and influencing our municipal elections and the outcome. Any Measure Finance Committee can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and can produce negative ads to destroy any candidate’s reputation and candidacy.
The influence of big money in elections allowed by the US Supreme Court decision Citizens United is destroying our democracy. Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process. Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.
Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the outcome. It is disingenuous for any public finance candidate to secure taxpayer money first to run their campaigns, agree in writing to a spending cap, and then have their political operatives or supporters solicit or create a measure finance committee to help them get elected and spend massive amounts of money to give them an unfair advantage in the first election and then the runoff.
Voters need to follow the money and demand to know where the outside money known as “dark money” is coming from for any Measure Finance Committee and find out exactly who is trying to influence the election for the candidates. Voters need to beware of the candidates and their political consultants who are seeking help from measured finance committees to be fully informed as to who they are indebted to once they have been elected.
Links to previous related blog articles are here:
2021 Election For Mayor And City Council Starts March 1; 3,000 Petition Signatures For Mayor, 500 Signatures For City Council; $661,309 Public Finance For Mayor And $40,000 To $50,000 For Council; City Hall Jobs At Stake; Measured Finance Committees Will Warp 2021 Municipal