ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – So far, Democratic State Auditor Tim Keller has an even more commanding lead than the polls suggested leading up to Election Day.
He’s heading for a runoff next month with 40 percent of the vote.
Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis is in second, holding a steady lead over former State Democratic Party Chair Brian Colon.
Dan Lewis might not be in the lead, but that won’t matter Tuesday night if no one candidate can snag more than 50 percent of the vote. Keller and Lewis are now expected to go head-to-head in a runoff election next month.
Lewis was up by 6 points over Colon a little earlier — that tightened up a bit as Tuesday’s ballots from the voting centers come in.
The absentee and early election ballots are in, and 43 out of 53 voting centers are reporting as of 10:50 p.m.
Supporters of mayoral hopeful Tim Keller remained in high spirits Tuesday night as he took a sizable lead.
The mayoral race is nonpartisan but Keller is a Democrat, and if fellow Democrat Brian Colon were to be eliminated from the race after Tuesday night, Keller supporters are hopeful he’ll win over those voters in a runoff.
Political expert Gabe Sanchez says it will be interesting to see whose support Lewis and Keller pick up.
“I did not expect Keller to get close to the 40 percent clip that he’s polling at. That’s much better than anybody speculated so I think he goes into this feeling very good about things. Number one, he did not want to see Colon in a runoff so being able to face off with Lewis is a real advantage for him,” Sanchez said.
He added that Keller is likely to pick up Colon’s supporters. One disadvantage for Keller, Sanchez says will be funding.
He says since Keller was publicly financed, he’s essentially capped on how much money he gets. Sanchez says on the other hand, Dan Lewis can still do some fundraising. He says the issue Lewis could face is whether he will get Commissioner Wayne Johnson’s supporters.
“So he has to think about shifting gears from really going toe to toe with Johnson and to now having to say ‘I got to consolidate that republican base and what ammunition do I have to use against Keller,'” Sanchez said.
He also said Lewis is likely to frame Keller as out of touch and too left for Albuquerque.
If you did not vote in this election, you can still vote in the upcoming run-off. The city clerk’s office will even allow people to register to vote for this runoff.
The incumbents are leading in the city council races. In District 1 on the westside, Democrat Ken Sanchez easily took the lead from his three opponents. He has held that seat for 12 years.
In District 3 in the southwest, incumbent Klarissa Pena came out ahead. In District 5 in the far northwest, a runoff election will also take place for the seat formerly held by mayoral candidate Dan Lewis. Republican Robert Aragon and Democrat Cynthia Borrego will face off.
In District 7, Democrat Diane Gibson will keep her seat in the Northeast Heights, and in District 9 in the southeast, three-term incumbent Don Harris held the lead over his two opponents.