New Mexico cities vote on retaining progressive mayors

SANTA FE, NM (AP) — Voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s largest city and state capital, were deciding Tuesday whether to re-elect progressive mayors or support more conservative challengers within the Democratic Party. Is.

Tuesday’s local elections are a prelude to statewide and congressional elections in 2022, when Democrats are expected to increase their hold on all statewide offices, including governor and a majority in the Legislature.

Tuesday was the last day for in-person voting, with a 7 p.m. deadline for absentee ballots to arrive at polling stations, clerks’ offices or drop boxes. Elections extend to city councils, school district boards and tax initiatives for local education spending.

In Albuquerque, first-time Mayor Tim Keller is facing questions about its ability to prevent crime with plans and programs that focus on root causes, such as addiction and poverty.

His challengers include Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales, who supported a move by then-President Donald Trump to send more federal law enforcement agents to Albuquerque. Conservative radio station owner Eddie Aragon is also looking for a top job in Albuquerque, describing a city plagued by crime and economic insecurity.

Concerns about crime came to the fore this summer when Albuquerque surpassed the record for homicides within a calendar year – a tally that continued to rise in the days before the election.

Affordable housing has been a major issue in New Mexico’s largest city, where Keller blamed the pandemic for homelessness.

In Santa Fe, publishing entrepreneur and Mayor Alan Weber has spearheaded efforts to expand coronavirus protection, pandemic aid and affordable housing. His progressive leanings include support for a pilot program that provides a guaranteed minimum income to parents attending community college.

Challenger and fellow Democrat Joanne Vigil Kopler — a city councilor, real estate agent and Latina born in Santa Fe — are highlighting their long careers in public administration, a state district court and personnel divisions in city, county and state government. taking care of.

He has also positioned himself as a custodian of respect for the city’s cultural traditions in a contested election contest over historical monuments.

Republican environmental engineer Alexis Martinez Johnson is running for mayor in Santa Fe as a political outsider, after losing a bid for Congress last year.

Albuquerque voters will also weigh in on a disputed bond measure worth $50 million to help pay for a new stadium. New Mexico United for All – a political action committee controlled by the New Mexico United soccer team – has been the biggest fundraiser and spender in the city election.

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