Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis and State Auditor Tim Keller will face off tonight in the first televised debate of the mayoral runoff.
The debate, which is co-sponsored by the Journal, will be broadcast live over KOAT-7, beginning at 6 p.m. KOAT anchor Doug Fernandez will moderate.
Keller and Lewis emerged as the top two mayoral candidates during the Oct. 3 municipal election. Since no one in the race received 50 percent of the vote, a runoff is required.
That election will be held Nov. 14. Early voting is already underway.
The new mayor takes office Dec. 1.
Tonight’s debate is important for both candidates as Keller, who got 39 percent of the vote Oct. 3, attempts to cement his lead, while Lewis, who received nearly 23 percent, fights to overtake him.
The two candidates have already taken part in a handful of debates and several others are planned.
Lewis has gone on the offensive in recent weeks, launching television attack ads against his opponent and accusing Keller in debates of choosing to protect criminals over law-abiding citizens.
Keller has fired back, accusing Lewis of distorting his record and noting that the Albuquerque Police Officers Association endorsed him, not Lewis.
Albuquerque hasn’t had a mayoral runoff since 1993, when Martin Chávez narrowly defeated David Cargo.