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Gonzales, Keller have reached public financing threshold

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Tim Keller

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III have each gathered enough support to qualify for public financing in the city’s 2021 mayoral race, according to numbers posted on the City Clerk’s website Friday.

The candidates have until Saturday to demonstrate sufficient interest in their campaigns by collecting $5 contributions from 1% of the city’s voters, or 3,779 people.

Manuel Gonzales III

As of Friday, the clerk’s office had verified 4,106 contributions for Gonzales and 4,057 for Keller. It had rejected an additional 573 of Gonzales’ and 328 of Keller’s.

Mayoral candidate Patrick Ben Sais had three verified contributions as of Friday, according to the website, while Nicholas Bevins — who had also been seeking public financing to campaign for mayor — has withdrawn from the race.

The City Clerk has until July 6 to complete the public finance certification process and to distribute the public campaign funds. Qualified mayoral candidates will get $661,309, less any “seed” contributions the candidates may have collected.

A Keller campaign complaint alleging that Gonzales committed fraud while collecting contributions — which Gonzales’ campaign has called “baseless” — is still pending. The city’s Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices is scheduled to hold an evidentiary hearing on the matter next week.

While both Gonzales and Keller are pursuing public financing, political action committees are actively raising private donations to support their candidacy. Save Our City, which is backing Gonzales, has raised $68,500 in cash to date, according to city records.

Build Back Burque, which is trying to get Keller reelected, has raised $22,500.

The Retired Law Enforcement for a Better Albuquerque committee, which has signaled its support for Gonzales, also has raised $10,550.

Along with the mayor’s race, the Nov. 2 election will also decide five City Council races. Each features multiple candidates pursuing public financing. The council candidates have until July 5 to collect $5 contributions from 1% of registered voters in their individual districts. Those pursuing public financing and their progress toward reaching the contribution threshold as of the Clerk’s Office’s Friday update:

District 1: Louie Sanchez (0%), Lan Sena (31%)

District 3: Klarissa Peña (52%), Benjamin Telles (4%), Anthony Zamora (7%)

District 5: Cynthia Borrego (28%), Dan Lewis (80%), Phillip Ramirez (1%)

District 7: Emilie De Angelis (4%), Tammy Fiebelkorn (41%), Travis Kellerman (28%), Mauro Walden-Montoya (22%), Andres Valdez Sr. (29%)

District 9: Rob Grilley Jr. (30%), Renee Grout (64%)


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