ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Former city councilor and prosecutor Pete Dinelli announced Wednesday he will not be a candidate in the race to replace Mayor Richard Berry.
Dinelli, a Democrat who was widely expected to run this year, made the announcement in a blog post on his personal website. He cited the financial and emotional investment of the mayoral race as the factors behind his decision.
“My heart tells me to run, but my head tells me no,” Dinelli told the Journal. “All the reasons that led me to run last time still exist today. But unless you’re committed to raising millions of dollars, you have no business being in this race.”
Dinelli ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013 and 1989. He said he was so far unimpressed with those who have announced their intention to run and is not planning on endorsing another candidate at this point.
Those who already have announced their candidacy are Brian Colón, the former chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico; state Auditor Tim Keller, a Democrat; City Councilor Dan Lewis, a Republican; retired police detective Michelle Garcia Holmes, an independent; former Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta, a Democrat; Old Town resident Stella Padilla, a Democrat; and talk radio host Eddy Aragon, an independent.
Others who have expressed interest: County Commissioner Wayne Johnson, a Republican; Elan Colello, a Democrat and CEO of a virtual reality company; Scott Madison, a Democrat who works with the nuclear weapons program at Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories; Susan Wheeler-Deichsel, an independent and founder of the civic group Urban ABQ; and City Councilor Ken Sanchez, a Democrat who’s also weighing a campaign for Congress. James Lewis, president of the Alumni Association of the University of New Mexico and a former state treasurer, announced in late December he was no longer considering a run.
In his blog post, Dinelli said he had concluded he would not be able to raise enough money from his supporters to run a viable campaign. He estimated a successful candidate will need $1 million for the initial election with another $500,000 for a runoff.
Dinelli said his decision also took into account his age and the time he spends with his family. He is 65.
“At some point in time, quality of life means a lot to a person,” said Dinelli. “Whoever becomes the mayor will have a daunting task in front of them.”