Mayoral candidate Gregg Hull moved back to Rio Rancho from Albuquerque’s West Side just weeks before publicly announcing his intention to run for the elected position.
The Cabezon resident said he didn’t make the move just to run for office, and stressed that his loyalty has always been to the city where he attends church and volunteers his time.
“We’ve been involved in the community for 20 years,” Hull said in an interview last week. “Before we even considered running, we checked all campaign laws to make sure we were following the rules.”
In response to a candidate questionnaire from the Observer, Hull said he had “lived in the greater Rio Rancho area for over 19 years, including the communities of Enchanted Hills, River’s Edge, North Hills and now Cabezon.”
A report generated by the Sandoval County Bureau of Elections, whose database goes back to 1996, shows Hull’s registration to vote in Rio Rancho was processed on Oct. 16, 2000. He voted in the 2000 and 2002 general elections while living in Enchanted Hills.
In mid-July, Hull bought his Rio Rancho home. In late August, a campaign page for Hull emerged on Facebook and shared his intention to run for mayor.
During a Feb. 13 candidate forum organized by the Observer and Albuquerque Journal, Hull mentioned he hadn’t voted in the Aug. 20, 2013, special election on the higher education tax issue because of a “voter registration issue.”
Hull said he closed on his Cabezon home on July 17 last year and filled out paperwork to transfer his voter registration at an MVD Express office at the same time he applied to change his driver’s license information.
Somehow the paperwork “didn’t make it” to the Sandoval County clerk, he said. He discovered he wasn’t registered to vote in Rio Rancho on Aug. 2 when he went to vote early for the special election.
Bureau of Elections records show Hull applied to transfer his registration from Albuquerque on Aug. 2, 2013. Bureau staff said the transfer occurred on Aug. 23.
On Aug. 24, the “Gregg Hull Mayor of Rio Rancho” page appeared on Facebook.
Before moving to Cabezon, Hull was living in Ventana Ranch West, south of the Rio Rancho city limits.
While registered to vote in Bernalillo County, Hull voted in general, Albuquerque municipal and other elections from 2004 to 2013, according to the Sandoval County Bureau of Elections.
Hull said last week he was planning to build a home in Loma Colorado when it launched in 2007, but was offered a good deal in Ventana Ranch.
“It was close to Rio Rancho and we didn’t have to change our lifestyle or church. Our lives are truly in Rio Rancho,” Hull said.
He has for many years been a member of Mesa Baptist Church, and its pastor, Jeff Carr, publicly endorsed his candidacy in November.
Until recently, the Rio Rancho TEA Party used to hold its meetings at the church. Hull said he has never been a member of the Rio Rancho TEA Party and denied that he had been asked to run for mayor by any political group. He said he began to explore the idea in January last year after several people whom he helped with business regulatory and permitting matters suggested the city needed a person with his experience in the mayor’s job.
(Observer staff writer Sterling Fluharty contributed to this report.)