The Oct. 6 election is nonpartisan, but party money and support will likely find its way into the race. And with battle lines being drawn on the Democratic side—there are two Dem contenders—campaign season will no doubt be full of twists and turns as the candidates move toward the checkered flag.
Incumbent Mayor Martin Chavez, former state Sen. Richard Romero and state Rep. R.J. Berry qualified as candidates in the October election by turning in their required 6,574 signatures. Romero and Chavez are Democrats, and Berry is a Republican.
Community activist Donna Rowe and businessman Rudy Serrano say they are running as write-ins.
Not much—other than some possible debates and forums—is slated for mayoral hopefuls between now and Aug. 11, when the candidates will be considered official. On July 17, candidates will have to turn in their first financial disclosure statements, giving us a peek at where they’re spending their money. And election signage can start popping up on Aug. 7.
Without any inside knowledge of the campaign strategies, I predict the next couple of months will see Romero (and Berry to a lesser extent) responding to and taking shots at just about everything Mayor Chavez does in and out of office. Incumbents usually have the edge; the others will have garner as much media attention as they can to distract the voters. Challengers should minimize the attacks against Chavez and instead get the public to look at their proposals for their vision of the city, and its policies and finances. That’s something voters really want to hear about—not the sound of mud being slung.
There are 14 people seeking city councilor seats, according to City Clerk Randy Autio.
Five Council districts are up for grabs. In District 1, Ken Sanchez has an easy ride without any opposition. Council President Isaac Benton will face Bernalillo County Commissioner Alan Armijo for his spot in District 3, which includes Downtown and areas to the south, including the Mesa del Sol development. The field is a bit crowded for Michael Cadigan’s District 5 Westside seat with Robert Aragon, Dan Lewis and Jeremy Toulouse throwing their hats into the ring. Incumbent Councilor Sally Mayer has three challengers for her ABQ Uptown area, including Michael Cook, David Green and Louis Schiffman. Incumbent Don Harris will have to battle County Commissioner Michael Brasher and David Barbour to hold on to his Southeast Heights seat.
Of those candidates, four are privately financed—Michael Cadigan, Robert Aragon, Alan Armijo and Michael Brasher. The rest are seeking public financing. Council candidates have until May 31 to collect their $5 contributions and until June 29 to obtain their ballot petition signatures. Those who qualify for a public bankroll will get their bucks on June 3 and will have to officially declare themselves as candidates on Aug. 11. They have until Aug. 18 to change their mind about running. Anyone wanting to run as a write-in Council candidate will have to declare by Aug. 25.