By Richard Barish, Central New Mexico Political chair
Sierra Club-endorsed candidates Tim Keller, for Mayor, and Diane Gibson and Cynthia Borrego, for City Council, were all victorious in their respective Albuquerque election races.
The mayoral race had eight candidates. Keller won convincingly in the first round of voting, but because he did not get more than 50% of the vote, a runoff was held on Nov. 14 between Keller and the second-place finisher, City Councilor Dan Lewis. Keller beat Lewis in a landslide with 62% of the vote.
Keller was the only mayoral candidate who was publicly financed, which meant that he had less money than several of the other candidates, but he based his run on a large cadre of volunteers to identify supporters and turn out the vote. The Sierra Club played a significant role in this effort by getting our members to the polls and recruiting volunteers for the campaign.
Dozens of volunteers came to the Albuquerque Sierra Club headquarters every week to make hundreds of calls to other Albuquerque members and talk about our endorsed candidates.
Incumbent Diane Gibson had an easy victory in the first round of her race in the near northeast heights. Cynthia Borrego’s race for Dan Lewis’ former seat on the northwest side went to a runoff, where Borrego beat Susana Martinez loyalist Robert Aragon with 54% of the vote, flipping this seat from Republican to Democrat.
Albuquerque now has a very pro-environment mayor in Tim Keller and six Democratic city councilors out of nine.
It should be much easier over the next four years to protect the Bosque and other open space that Albuquerque residents cherish and to move Albuquerque along toward significant reductions in carbon emissions.
Featured photo: volunteers call fellow Sierra Club members to discuss endorsements for Albuquerque elections.