Democrats grab Albuquerque mayoral seat back from GOP in blowout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Democrats wrested control of New Mexico’s largest city from the GOP on Tuesday as Democratic New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller easily won a race to become Albuquerque’s next mayor.

According to unofficial results, Keller beat Republican Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis with 62 percent of the vote compared to 38 percent – results CBS Albuquerque affiliate KRQE called “a blowout” — in a race that centered on the city’s raising crime rates and its struggling economy.

The election came a week after Democrats won governorships and legislative seats in Virginia and New Jersey and took mayoral seats in places such as Helena, Montana.

Keller told a packed room at Albuquerque’s historic Andaluz Hotel his victory was a rejection of fear and “language that divided us” – a veiled jab at President Trump.

“We embraced inclusion. We embraced unity,” said Keller, who will replace GOP Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, who opted not to seek re-election.

Lewis, who joined Keller in a runoff, thanked supporters and said he hoped Keller would succeed as mayor. “I just wish him the very best,” Lewis said. “I want him to be a great mayor.”

Keller’s victory also came a day after a city ethics board ruled Keller violated campaign finance laws.

The board didn’t issue sanctions against Keller, who has been successful in past campaigns for a state legislative seat and the state auditor’s post.

Keller contends the violations weren’t intentional, but Lewis said he was disappointed that the ethics board let his opponent off the hook despite finding that he violated the city’s election code.

“This ruling serves as proof that Tim Keller lied to Albuquerque voters and illegally worked with his political allies to funnel cash to his campaign,” Lewis said late Monday. “How can we trust Tim to hold criminals in this city accountable when he thinks he is above the law himself?”

Keller dismissed accusations that his campaign was dishonest, saying the ethics board noted…

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