Political newcomer Gregg Hull will be the new mayor of Rio Rancho, after decisively beating Mike Williams in Tuesday’s runoff election, according to the unofficial election results posted by the city clerk.
“Obviously we’re very excited about the results, and we’re excited to get started working for Rio Rancho,” said Hull, who will be officially sworn into office at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
Hull, who announced his campaign in August, received 65 percent of the votes cast in the runoff, with 35 percent going to Williams, a city council veteran and former interim mayor.
He will succeed Tom Swisstack, who has served as mayor the past six years and decided not to seek re-election. Swisstack also served a term in the mid-1990s.
Hull said his first priority will be meeting with other city leaders so they can work as a team on what direction the city should take. Many of those leaders attended a victory party for Hull Tuesday night at a home in the golf course area.
“I think it’s very important to recognize that the city overwhelmingly appreciated our positive campaign,” Hull said.
Williams, who lost the runoff by almost 2,000 votes, said in a phone interview he had no comment on the results.
Turnout was down slightly in the runoff. After 12 percent cast ballots in the city’s regular election on March 4, 11 percent showed up for the runoff.
Victory for Hull was far from certain when questions surfaced in February about his residency. Some thought his move to the city in mid-July signaled he was a carpetbagger.
Before long, a more complete picture emerged, which showed Hull had lived in or near Rio Rancho for about two decades.
Hull and Williams were the top two vote-getters in the four-man mayoral race in the regular election.
City rules require runoffs in races with three or more candidates where no one receives at least 50 percent of the votes.
Hull, a former CEO of two local companies, built on the 14-percentage point lead he had over Williams in the regular election.
Most of the donations during the runoff election went to Hull.
In runoff reports of campaign contributions filed Monday, Hull listed $10,407.09 and Williams showed $4,287.18.
The donations Hull received allowed him to hire a campaign consultant, set up a professional-looking website and spread his message via social media. Williams made occasional use of Facebook and YouTube, but lacked a website and paid campaign staff.
Hull collected endorsements from the Rio Rancho Police and Communications Association, the local firefighters union and a few state lawmakers.
Swisstack provided perhaps the only notable endorsement for Williams.
The unofficial runoff election results will be canvassed by Sandoval County Magistrate Court Judge Richard L. Zanotti and certified as official on Friday. The canvass will take place at City Hall at 11:45 a.m.
Observer staff writer Argen Duncan contributed to this article.