The Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office has announced that the City Council District 6 runoff race is scheduled for December 12. Early voting starts Tuesday, November 21, and runs until Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at five early voting convenience centers. The voting sites will be closed for the Thanksgiving weekend. On December 12, voters can head to one of 10 Election Day voting convenience centers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Locations available at bernco.gov/clerk
District 6 largely covers Southeast Albuquerque and includes Nob Hill, the International District and areas around the University of New Mexico and includes the Meas Del Sol Area. District 6 is currently represented by the current City Council President and Progressive Democrat City Councilor Pat Davis who did not seek a third term.
The two top vote getters in the November 7 election between 4 candidates who qualified for the ballot and who will be in the runoff are Nichole Rogers and Jeff Hoehn. Twenty-three percent of District 6 voters headed to the polls on or before Nov. 7, slightly above the overall average, while the city wide vote on November 7 was 19%. The results of the November 7 election were:
Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers: 40.14% (Total Vote 2,947, Absentee Vote: 373, Early Vote: 1,023, Election Day Vote: 1,551)
Progressive Democrat Jeff Hoehn: 32.42% (Total Vote 2,380, Absentee: 378, Early Vote: 986 , Election Day Vote: 1,016)
Progressive Democrat Kristin Greene 17.94% (Total Vote 1,317, Absentee: 181, Early Vote: 479, Election Day Vote 647)
Progressive Democrat Abel Otero 9.51% (Total Vote 698, Absentee: 124 , Early Vote: 217, Election Day Vote 357)
RUNOFF CANDIDATE PROFILES
Following are the candidates profiles in alphabetical order:
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT JEFF HOEHN
Progressive Democrat Jeff Hoehn has a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico, he is married to Charlotte Itoh and the couple have one child. He has lived in the district 21 years. He is the executive director of Cuidando Los Niños, a shelter and school for homeless children. He has identified crime and homelessness as his top concerns for District 6.
Hoehn’s approach to the homeless would differ significantly from Mayor Keller’s large shelters at the Gateway Center and Westside Emergency Housing Center. To combat homelessness and the housing crisis in the city, he would fund smaller, population-specific shelters that are attractive and safe for those who want help. He agrees that the Albuquerque Community Safety Department should be a proactive force that is on the streets every day, all day actively encountering individuals who are homeless so that they accept help or choose to relocate.
Hoehn advocates short-term mobile APD command units in high crime areas. He advocates for a dedicated team of police officers that can embed with the community, build trust and make the area unfriendly to criminal activity. His crime proposals lean heavily on police and policing technology to get that done. Hoehn told the League of Woman Voters this:
“I advocate instituting short-term APD mobile command units in high crime areas. … We must be strategic so that officers can spend their time preventing and addressing crime. Technology such as speed cameras has a role to play also.”
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT NICHOLE ROGERS
Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (Basic) and has an Associate of Arts and Sciences in Integrated studies from Central NM Community College (2012). She lists her occupation as a business consultant and financial adviser, She has 2 children, aged 15 and 6 years old and had lived in District 6 for six years.
Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers identifies herself as a Black and Hispanic single mother and survivor of abuse. She has worked for the Mayor Tim Keller Administration as a policy advocate and community organizer. Progressive Democrat Nichole Rogers cited poverty as her top priority if she is elected seeing it as an underlying cause of crime and homelessness. Rogers says too many families do not have what they need to survive much less thrive. Rogers says short-term solutions include getting the Gateway Homeless shelter open and functioning and the long-term solution is addressing poverty. She vows to work to implement a Universal Income pilot that will provide families with the financial boost they need. To combat homelessness and the housing crisis in the city, Rogers wants to increase the number of shelter beds as a short-term solution and from there increase “wrap-around services” to get the unhoused in permanent supportive services that will help them stay housed.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The District 6 runoff election is expected to be very contentious with the exchange of charges and dueling press conferences and perhaps one or two debates between the candidates.
MAYOR TIM KELLER’S INFLUENCE
What is clear is that Mayor Tim Keller was involved with the campaign of Nichole Rogers from the get go and that it is likely to extend to the runoff. Sources have confirmed that Mayor Keller workers contacted candidate Jeff Hoehn even before he announced. They told Hoehn in no uncertain terms that he could not win and not to run and that he would not be receiving the support of Mayor Tim Keller. Sources have also confirmed that the paid political consultant for Kristin Greene contacted Hoehn and insisted that he not run because he is not a minority and he could not win. Hoehn decided to run after he was convinced to do so by neighborhood progressive activists.
Rogers worked for the Mayor Tim Keller Administration as a policy advocate and community organizer. Confidential sources confirmed that Rogers received significant help in collecting nominating petitions signatures and qualifying donations from at least 2 city hall employees who work directly for Mayor Tim Keller. Sources have also confirmed Democrat Progressive County Commissioner Adriann Barboa help collect nominating petitions and qualifying donations for Rogers using voter registration lists. Both Barboa and Rogers are kindred spirits and have much in common. Rogers also has gone so far as to tell Progressive Democrats privately in the District that she is Mayor Keller’s candidate to replace Progressive Democrat Pat Davis who is a Keller ally.
ROGERS NEEDS MORE VETING, WITH EVEN MORE QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Although Rogers came in first with 40.14% to Jeff Hoehn’s 32.42%, virtually 5 days before the election Nichole Rogers candidacy and credibility was severely overshadowed and rocked by news reports of impropriety. The reports were that Welstand Foundation, the nonprofit Rodgers founded and manages, was not in good standing with the New Mexico Secretary of State until recently, that she failed to file required legal documents with the NM Attorney General for charitable organization Welstand Foundation, failed mandatory declarations of income with the Internal Revenue Service which resulted in her nonprofit losing its federal 501 C 3 status as a charitable organization. It was also revealed that she still did fundraising for the none profit she formed after it lost 501 C 3 status and that she did not make full disclosure of what was raised and what it was expended on.
When the news reports first broke, Rogers admitted that she mishandled her charitable non-profit, which benefited from both private contributions and COVID relief money. In classic last minute politcal spin to salvage her campaign, Rogers said her conduct was not disqualifying. Rogers said this:
“I am a person who has had successes and has had failures. But I really believe in failing forward. When you know better, you do better and I’m someone who can teach folks to watch out for these pitfalls.”
“Failing forward?” How about just not failing by following the law? Up and until the allegations were made, Rodgers had momentum and the allegations no doubt had an impact on her final numbers, but early voting and absentee voting had already occurred with the news reports made 5 days before the election.
It is very difficult to understand how a candidate for Albuquerque City Council can hold herself out as a business consultant and financial advisor given her failures to file in a timely manner mandatory documents with the IRS, the New Mexico Attorney General, and the Secretary of State for a charitable organization she created.
The most troubling question that needs to be answered by Nichole Rogers is exactly how much was she able to raise for her foundation since its creation in 2019 and where did the money go and what was it used for? No one knows, except Nichol Rogers. Forms are required annually of every 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Those forms are essentially a nonprofit’s income and expense report, allowing oversight of what revenue and donations were brought in, and how and where the money was spent. Not only does it provide financial oversight, but it ensures that a nonprofit’s spending is in accordance with its mission.
The IRS sends compliance letters, so pleading ignorance of the filing requirements is not a valid excuse. The IRS will not revoke a 501(c)(3) organization’s tax-exempt status unless the nonprofit has been out of compliance on filing of the forms for three consecutive years. This is what finally happened with the Welstand Foundation. Its tax-exempt nonprofit status was revoked on May 15, 2022. It was also listed as “Not In Good Standing” by the NM Secretary of State website as of October 20, 2023, but that has now changed.
A simple search on the NM Attorney General’s charity registry reveals no 990s have been filed with the office. Nichole Rogers posted on the Nextdoor.com social page in mid-October 2023 that she had closed the Foundation in 2020. That statement appears to false because in a more recent post on Nextdoor.com she stated she closed the nonprofit down in 2021.
It is clear that the Welstand Foundation continued to seek donations after after it was supposedly closed and did in fact bring in unreported revenue. Not only has the trust of private donors been violated, the public’s trust has been violated. The City of Albuquerque gave the Welstand Foundation at least $15,000, which has also never been fully accounted for by Rogers.
Other questions that Nichole Rogers needs to answer before the runoff election include:
Will Nichole Rogers seek more city funding to benefit Welstand Foundation or does she intend to step down from its management or dissolve the corporation if she is elected?
Will Nichole Rogers continue with fundraising efforts for Welstand Foundation if she is elected and to what extent?
Will Nichole Rogers engage in lobbying efforts on behalf of Welstand Foundation before the New Mexico legislature as a registered lobbyist if she is elected and to what extent will she lobby on behalf of the city?
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency as a candidate for city council, Nichole Rogers should release her personal income tax returns as well as those of Welstand Foundation so that a comparison can be made and her sources of income can be disclosed as to what extent she has personally benefited from her fund raising activities for the corporation.
Expect far more on Nichole Rogers background to come out during the run off as she is further vetted by the media.
ENDORSEMENTS BY OTHER CANDIDATES
Progressive Democrat Abel Otero who dropped out of the race but who nonetheless garnered 9.51% of the vote immediately endorsed Nichole Rogers. What was surprising is that Nichole Rogers distanced herself from the endorsement saying she did not ask for it even though she knew outgoing City Councilor Pat Davis had endorsed Abel Otero early on.
Progressive Democrat Kristin Greene who came in third and who garnered 17.94% of the vote, has endorsed Progressive Democrat Jeff Hoehn. Greene endorsed Hoehn in glowing terms saying Hoehn is the best candidate to represent the District.
Current District 6 City Councilor Pat Davis has yet to make any endorsement.
The blunt reality is that the biggest challenge for both candidates will be voter turnout. District 6 voters can expect a campaign of political flyer mailings and personal door to door canvassing and social media posts. Despite all the campaign activity, it is doubtful that the election turn out will be any higher than 20% and likely will be in the neighborhood of 12%. So is the discouraging reality of municipal runoff elections.
If you live in District 6, please vote. Too much is at stake for District 6.
The links to related Dinelli blog articles are here:
District 6 City Councilor Candidate Nichole Roger’s Holds Herself Out As Business And Financial Consultant; Failed To Timely File Required Legal Documents For Her Charitable Nonprofit; Failed To Make Full Accounting As To Where Funds Raised Has Gone; Rogers Should Release Tax Returns; Will Rogers Seek City Funding For Her Non-Profit If Elected City Councilor And Lobby New Mexico Legislature For It?
Update On November 7, 2023 ABQ City Council Races; One Candidate Drops Out After Exposed For Falsehoods; Voter Fraud Alleged In District 4 With One Registration; Candidates Identify Biggest Issues And Solutions Facing Districts; Mayor Tim Keller Operatives Helping 3 Council Candidates To Insure His Influence Over City Council For His Politcal Agenda As He Plans To Run For Third Term In 2025