ABQ Journal Poll: Democrats Hold Comfortable Leads In 4 Statewide Races As AG Candidate Torrez Hits Below The Belt; In BCSO Sheriff Race, Democrat Allen Leads By 6% With 16% Undecided;  Ronchetti’s Republican Political Operative McClesky Manages Republican Pacheco Campaign; Sheriff Campaigns Go Negative As Name Pronunciation Confusing To Voters As To Ethnicity

On Monday, October 31, exactly one week before the November 8 general election, the Albuquerque Journal published the results of its one and only poll it commission in the state wide races for Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer State Land Commissioner. Since the June 6 primary, all 4 races have been relatively low key with no controversy and almost none existent political TV commercials except those that have been run  for the offices of  Secretary of State and Attorney General.  Four years ago, Democrats swept all 4 positions. The geographic patterns of the poll revealed in all 4 races  the Republicans did  well in the east while Democrats did well in the Albuquerque areas and in the north region of the state.

The Office of New Mexico State Auditor is on the November 8 ballot as an uncontested race.  Democrats Joseph Maestas and  Zack Quintero ran  in the primary against each other  with no Republicans  running. Democrat Joseph Maestas won the primary election and he will appear on the November 8 ballot as running unopposed. Current State Auditor Brian Colon ran unsuccessfully for Attorney General in the June primary against Raul Torrez. The State Auditor oversees and has administrative rights over the accounting and financial functions of all state agencies. The State  Auditor essential acts  as a watchdog over other state agencies, performing mandatory  internal government audits and investigating fraud allegations.

Based on the poll, all 4 Democrats are leading their Republican opponents with comfortable margins and it’s more likely than not the Democrats will prevail on election day.  Simply put, Democrats have a significant advantage over Republicans and Independents base on party affiliation. According to New Mexico Voter Registration Statistics from the New Mexico Secretary of State, as of January 31, 2022, there are a total of 1,342,690 registered voters in the state.  The breakdown of the registration numbers is as follows: Registered Democrats: 599,242, or 44.6 %,  Registered Republicans: 414,067 or  30.8 %, No Party or Independents:  301,598 or 22.5 %, Registered Libertarian:  13,644  or 1.0 % Other Registrations:  14,139 or 1.1 %


Following are the poll results in each of the 4 contested races:


The mission of the Secretary of State is the enforcement of elections laws and government ethics laws, the final certification of elections,  and  preservation of legislation and gubernatorial decrees vital to the operation of state government. The Secretary of State oversees and the registration and regulatory oversight of commerce and industry. The Bureau of Elections of the Office of the Secretary of State administers elections and enforces local, state, and federal election laws. The Ethics Division of the Office of the Secretary of State regulates campaign finance and lobbying within the state.


The poll results for the office of Secretary of State are as follows:

Democrat Incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver:  50%

Republican Audrey Trujillo: 35%.

Libertarian Mayna Myers: 4%

Undecided: 9%

Declined to state: 1%

Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver held the biggest margin  outdistancing Republican Audrey Trujillo by 15%.  Bottom of Form

Toulouse Oliver, has  served for 16 years as either Bernalillo County clerk or secretary of state and  has a solid record of public service.  Two weeks ago she began running TV ads touting her record of public service and accusing her Republican opponent of being and election denier.


The Attorney General and the Department of Justice, collectively referred to as the Office of the Attorney General, represent and defend the legal interests and sovereignty of the people of the State of New Mexico. The Office of Attorney General exercises the responsibilities delegated by the New Mexico Constitution, statutes enacted by the New Mexico Legislature, and the common law.  The Attorney General has primary authority for enforcement of consumer protection and antitrust laws, prosecution of criminal appeals and the training and certification of peace officers.


Democrat Raul Torrez and Republican Jeremy Gay are competing to succeed two term Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas  who is term limited and barred from running for another term.

Raul Torrez is the current Bernalillo County District Attorney who was elected to a second, 4 year term in 2020.  Should he win, the Governor will appoint his successor to fill out the remaining 2 years of his term and the successor will have to stand for election in 2022. There are no term limits for Bernalillo Count District Attorney.

Republican Jeremy Gay is a former Judge Advocate in the Marine corp  now in private practice and has done limited criminal defense work.

Following are the poll results:

Democrat Raul Torrez: 49%

Republican  Jeremy Gay: 39%

Undecided: 10%

Decline to state:  2%

Jeremy Gay in the poll showed strength on the east side of the state, which includes the conservative oil patch in southeastern New Mexico. Gay had support from 56% of voters on the east side while Torres had  25% support on east side of the state.for Torrez.

Raul Torrez  was favored by 61% of voters in north-central New Mexico, which includes Santa Fe and traditional Democratic strongholds. Gay was favored by 21% of voters in the area.


Although Raul  Torrez has  been  leading in the race  by comfortable margins from the get go, he has now begun to run a negative ad  that have raised the eyebrows of  more than a few, especially within the New Mexico Bar.

On October 31, KOAT-TV Target 7 ran a story entitled  “Raúl Torrez ad attacks Jeremy Gay for being defense attorney”. The transcript of the article is as follows:

“The race for Attorney General has heated up on the airwaves and, in a recent attack ad, Democrat Raúl Torrez is criticizing his Republican opponent for being a defense attorney while he was “standing up for victims.”

In the ad, Torrez, a two-term Bernalillo County District Attorney, says he is going to stop the “revolving door” of criminal justice and then he attacks Republican Jeremy Gay for “representing dangerous criminals, child sex offenders.”

Torrez is making reference to a federal court case in which Gay is listed as the attorney representing a man who was charged with aggravated sexual abuse and intentionally touching a minor. The man he represented pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 78 months in prison.

KOAT legal expert John Day says just because an attorney was a criminal defense lawyer should not eliminate them from running for Attorney General.

“The lawyer’s job is to provide a defense to the client, end of story,” Day said. “When you’re a lawyer, you take an oath to defend the constitution the same way doctors take an oath to do no harm and serve their patients. And you can’t say that just because a lawyer is defending someone, that they’re endorsing their conduct.”

Target 7 reached out to Gay’s campaign. In an email, a spokesman said Gay didn’t actually represent the man and “Raúl’s allegations are a complete misrepresentation. Jeremy’s law staff file what’s called an ‘entry of appearance’ in cases that pass through the firm regardless of whether he works directly on them. He did not appear in court, draft any pleadings or participate in any litigation in U.S. Versus Largo. The defendant was fully represented by another attorney—which is the constitutional right of every American.”

According to the entry of appearance in federal court, Gay’s name is signed electronically.

“The ad is technically correct,” Day said. “Jeremy Gay did file an actual document that says ‘entry of appearance,’ which means he personally entered an appearance in the case. And that’s a fact that’s in the court file.”

Target 7 combed through state court records as well and found that Gay’s law firm also represented people charged with DWIs. According to Torrez’s campaign website, he never spent time as a defense attorney. Gay’s site says he is a former marine and he too spent time prosecuting criminals in the Judge Advocate General’s Office.

Current attorney general Hector Balderas is unable to run for office due to the state’s term limits.

The last time a Republican was elected AG was in 1986.”

The link to the KOAT story is here:



Simply put, Raul Torrez knows better.  His arrogance calls into question his own ethics and knowledge of the law, especially his understanding of our constitutional rights.  All defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by prosecutors  and all defendants are entitled to be represented by an attorney, even to the point if a defendant can not afford an attorney, one must be appointed by the court.

The  politcal ad criticising Republican Jeremy Gay for being a defense attorney is below the belt. It is  absolutely  unnecessary giving Torrez’s  standing in the polls. As is the case with his dealing with Judges with whom he disagree with, Torrez  has no qualms about disparaging anyone he perceives as opposing his political agenda. It’s likely Torrez  will win and the public will have to  endure another  4 years of his self righteous indignation, publicity seeking ways, as he prepares to run for yet another higher office which he is known to covet.


The New Mexico State Treasurer serves as the chief banker and investment officer of the state. As such, the state treasurer provides cash management to state agencies, invests the state agency and local government investment pools, and administers New Mexico’s ABLE and retirement savings programs. The state treasurer also chairs the State Treasurer’s Investment Committee and is an ex officio voting member of numerous boards and commission dealing with state financial investment matters and government pensions.


The two candidate running for New Mexico State Treasurer are Democrat Laura Montoya,  a former Sandoval County treasurer, and Republican Harry Montoya a former Santa Fe County commissioner, a position he held while registered as a Democrat.  Harry Montoya also served on the Pojoaque school board. Although the 2 candidates have the same last name, they are not related. They are competing to succeed two term Democrat State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg  who is term limited and barred from running for another term.  The race for State Treasurer is the closest of  the 4 races polled.  Following are the poll results:

Democrat Laura Montoya:  46%

Republican Harry Montoya: 39%.

Undecided: 13%

Decline to state:  2%


The New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands  leads the New Mexico State Land Office.  The office is responsible for administering 9  million acres of surface and 13 million acres of subsurface land for the beneficiaries of the New Mexico State Land Trust. The office’s mission is “to use state trust land to raise revenue for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, colleges, and other public institutions.”


The poll results for the office of State Land Commissioner are as follows:

Democrat Sephanie Garcia Richard: 46%

Republican Jefferson Byrd: 38%

Undecided: 15%

Decline to state: 1%

Democrat Sephanie Garcia Richard is seeking her second 4 year term. She is  a former state legislator.   Republican Jefferson Byrd is  a member of the Public Regulation Commission.

Garcia Richard had especially strong support among Hispanic voters while Byrd  had a two-point edge among male voters.


The Albuquerque Journal Poll was conducted by Research & Polling whose President is Brian Sanderoff.  Research & Polling has done political polling for the Albuquerque Journal for upwards of 50 years. The polling  company is considered the most reliable polling company in New Mexico politics because of its history of  accuracy.

The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, statewide sample of 625 voters who cast ballots in the 2018 and/or 2020 general election and who said they are likely to vote in the upcoming election. The sample also includes people who registered to vote since January 2021 who said they are likely to vote in the upcoming election.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 20 through Oct. 27. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples. All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone. Both cellphone numbers (83%) and landlines (17%) of proven general election voters were used.

The link to read the unedited Albuquerque Journal article with pie charts on the poll is here:



The Bernalillo County Sherriff is a New Mexico Constitution created position. The Bernalillo County Sheriff and is an elected position and allows for 2 four-year terms. The current Bernalillo County Sheriff is Sheriff Manny Gonzales. The mission statement of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) is the identification, apprehension and prosecution of offenders of the laws and the preservation of peace and includes the protection of life and property. The Sheriff Office’s  primary jurisdiction is in Bernalillo County and has concurrent jurisdiction over the city with APD. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s budget is upwards of  $53,030,000 and the office employs over  421 full time positions with over 300 sworn law enforcement professionals.


On November 2, the Albuquerque Journal published the results of its one and only poll in the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s race. The poll was again conducted by Research & Polling. The poll was conducted from October  20 through October 27.  The poll was a countywide sample of 385 voters who cast ballots in the 2018 and/or 2020 general election and who said they are likely to vote in the upcoming election. The poll has margin of error of plus or minus 5% points.

Following are the raw data poll results:

Democrat John Allen: 42%

Republican Paul Pacheco: 36%

Libertarian Kaelen Dryer: 6%

Undecided: 15%

Decline to state: 1%


The poll results were broken down into the categories of political parties, gender and ethnicity with respect to the Democrat John Allen and Republican Paul Pacheco.

PARTY AFFILIATION:  With respect to party affiliation,  66% of Democrats polled said they are voting for Democrat John Allen and 13% of Democrats said they were voting for Republican Paul Pacheco.  The poll numbers reversed when it came to Republicans.  75% of Republicans polled said they were voting for Republican Paul Pacheco and 11% of the Republicans said they were voting for Democrat John Allen. Independents split with 29%  polled saying they were voting for Democrat John Allen and  34 % of Independents saying they were voting for Republican Paul Pacheco.

GENDER: With respect to the male vote who said they would be voting, both Democrat John Allen and Republican Paul Pacheco each secured 39% of the male vote. With respect to the female vote,  44% of females polled said they would be voting for Democrat John Allen while 34% of females polled said they would be  voting for  Republican Paul Pacheco.

ETHNICITY:  Democrat John Allen has the advantage when it comes to both  Hispanic and Anglo voters.   44% of Hispanic voters polled said they would be voting for Democrat John Allen while 35% Hispanic voters polled said they would be voting for Republican Paul Pacheco.   42% of Anglo  voters polled said they would be voting for Democrat John Allen while  36% Anglo  voters polled said they would be voting for Republican Paul Pacheco.

According to the Journal article reporting on the poll, Libertarian Kaelen Dryer has no law enforcement experience and is running as a self-described protest candidate.  According to the poll, Dryer is more popular among Democrats with 4% favoring him  and with 1%  Republicans  favoring him.  Dryers favorability among Democrats is likely due to his progressive message and  his candidacy hurts Democrat  Allen more than Republican Pacheco.

Brian Sanderoff, the president of Research & Polling Inc., described the race for Sheriff as “unusual,” “interesting” and “competitive”.  Sanderoff  analyzed the race for Sherriff as follows:

“If this was 2018, I’d say this race is over – but it’s not. … We’re in this environment where people are concerned about crime and so I think the quality of their campaigns in the closing days could have an impact on it. …  The crossover vote on party affiliation is bigger in this race than all the other races that we’ve seen. …  [Republican]  Pacheco has 13% support among Democrats and [Democrat] Allen has 11% support among Republicans … Those percentages are larger than any of the other races in the Journal Poll.  …  [Both candidates have]   long careers in [law enforcement]  area and have, I’m sure, made lots of friends and have lots of family and acquaintances that they’ve met and encountered throughout their long life and career in Albuquerque. …  So you’re bound to know people of opposite parties who are going to support you.”


The race for Bernalillo County Sherriff is a down on the ballot race and as such is considered a “low profile” race historically garnering little attention.  However because of the city’s and counties high crime rates and with current two term Sherriff Manny Gonzales term limited and prohibited from running again, and given Gonzales’ unsuccessful run for Mayor in 2021, more attention is being given to the race. Both Democrat Allen and Republican Pacheco are going negative.


Republican Paul Pacheco going negative is not at all surprising and was expected given the fact that Republican Political Operative Jay McClesky is Pacheco’s campaign manager. McClesky  is also Republican Governor candidate Mark Ronchetti’s campaign manager and political consultant. Jay McCleskey is the go-to guy for anyone who is Republican running for office willing to spend and do whatever it takes to win an election at any and all costs.  The only way McClesky knows how to win a race is to go negative and into the gutter.  Jay McCleskey is New Mexico’s version of Lee Atwater or Karl Rove, two of the most despicable right wing Republican bottom feeders and political consultants and strategists for the Republican Party.  McClesky is known for his negative slash-and-burn tactics to disparage and viciously malign Democrats at all levels and he has been very successful at it in New Mexico for the last 20 years making a very lucrative living.

Republican Paul Pacheco has been running a very negative TV ad calling Allen a “dirty cop” because he was sued for an unlawful search as a New Mexico State Police officer in the late 1990s. That case settled for $30,000 and it was strictly civil in nature.  Democrat Allen for his part said he received verbal consent to search the car but not a toolbox in the bed of the truck where drugs were found.  Allen admitted  he should have communicated more clearly with assisting officers and further reviewed evidence even more  before it was presented to the court.

Democrat John  Allen’s campaign has also gone negative saying Republican Pacheco should be called  “Pinocchio” calling him a liar and pointing out that in recent ads Pacheco  has changed the pronunciation of his last  name from Pah-CHEEK-o to PAH-CHECK-o.  Pacheco for his part has defended the way he pronounces his last name saying that he is of Portuguese and Spanish heritage. He says the pronunciation of his name is  a “back East”  pronunciation where his family is from and there it is pronounced “Pah-CHEEK-o.” He said he promised his mother on her deathbed that he would pronounce it that way but also admitted he pronounces it  “Pah-CHECK-o”  so as not to offend people. What Pacheco  does not disclose is if he uses the Pah-CHECK-o pronunciations only with Hispanics especially in the South Valley as he campaigns and uses the “Pah-CHEEK-o” pronunciation only with Anglos thereby attempting to mislead people about his ethnicity.

Brian Sanderoff,  president of Research & Polling Inc., made this  disclosure regarding the Sheriffs’ poll and he said this:

“In our survey we pronounced his name ‘Pah-CHEEK-o’ because that’s what he goes by, what he went by as a legislator, that’s what he went by in his early ads. … When you see the name on the ballot in the voting booth, you’re going to see “Pacheco” and that could create some interesting dynamics.”

Ostensibly what Sanderoff is saying is the spelling of the the last name on the ballot will lead people to think he is Hispanic as opposed to being Anglo thereby giving him an edge with Hispanic voters when they vote. The Hispanic vote in the county is formidable and decisive in an close county election because of the South Valley.


The Journal Sherriff’s Poll is based on a scientific sample that includes people who registered to vote since January 2021 who said they are likely to vote in the upcoming election. The poll was conducted from Oct. 20 through Oct. 27. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The link to read the unedited Albuquerque Journal article with charts on the poll is here:



The positions of Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer and State Land Commissioner as well as the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s office are highly critical positions protecting the public’s safety,  best interest, voting rights, and remedies and its finances.

Please vote on November 8 if you have not already voted.


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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.