ABQ mayoral candidate faces legal challenge - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ mayoral candidate faces legal challenge

Albuquerque mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A petition filed in 2nd Judicial District Court seeks to remove Albuquerque mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon from the ballot, alleging he improperly listed a commercial address as his residence.

The petition alleges Aragon violated the law by listing a building in a commercially zoned area on both his voter registration and candidate forms.

It asks a judge to direct Bernalillo County Clerk Linda Stover to disqualify Aragon and remove his name from the ballot.

A conservative radio host and station owner, Aragon declared his mayoral candidacy Aug. 24, joining incumbent Tim Keller and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales on the ballot.

Aragon calls the petition a “political hit job” from those fearful of his campaign’s momentum. He said his attorney will file a motion to dismiss the petition. “There’s no validity to the claims,” he said Wednesday.

The petition alleges the building is in an area zoned “NR-BP” – nonresidential/business park – which allows office and commercial uses, but not residential.

But Aragon said residential is an allowable use in the building where he runs his radio station. He said he has lived in his office since 2020 following a divorce, and that he is considered the property’s “watchman.”

Aragon listed the address as his residence on a voter registration form filed Feb. 24 and on his mayoral candidate registration filed April 21, the petition alleges. The petition was filed Tuesday against Stover and Aragon by Esther Rivera, who is identified as a registered Albuquerque voter. The Journal was unable to contact Rivera on Wednesday.

Her attorney, Thomas Grover, said Rivera is “concerned that the integrity of the election had been tampered with.”

Aragon’s office “is not a building that is zoned for residential occupancy,” Grover said. “Under those facts, it doesn’t satisfy the city’s requirements for what constitutes a residence.”

Stover said Wednesday she has no plans to remove Aragon’s name from the ballot.

“As of right now, we have no reason to disqualify him,” Stover said of Aragon. “He’s registered and he lives within the city of Albuquerque, until a judge tells me otherwise.”

The petition argues that, under state law, county clerks are required to reject voter registration forms containing a commercial mailbox as the physical address. Stover said she is not familiar with that law.

“I’m really not going to get into the weeds on that because, until a judge tells me to do something, (Aragon) has qualified as a candidate.”

Journal staff writer Jessica Dyer contributed to this report.

 

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