ABQ mayoral race taking shape

Posted at: 04/22/2013 5:01 PM
Updated at: 04/22/2013 5:21 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The campaign for mayor of Albuquerque is shaping up as a three-way race – with one candidate way behind in fundraising.

Democrat Pete Dinelli, a former city councilor, is hoping to knock off Mayor Richard Berry in his bid for a second term. Dinelli has qualified for public financing of his campaign, which will amount to $360,000. Berry, a Republican, has raised about $250,000 in private contributions. At last report, retired city cop Paul Heh, a Republican, had raised less than $100.

UNM Political Science professor Tim Krebs is an expert on municipal elections and government.

“Albuquerque is a Democratic city, and so you think, well, it could be advantage Pete Dinelli,” Krebs said. “But you have here a popular incumbent mayor who I think is vulnerable on some key issues, but nevertheless he’s in a fairly good position for re-election.”

Democrat Margaret Aragon de Chavez, ex-wife of three-time mayor Martin Chavez, dropped out of the race last week.

Krebs and other analysts say that a runoff election is less likely now, with just three candidates in the running and one of them – Heh – apparently not raising any serious money. It’s likely to be a showdown between Berry and Dinelli in October, with one or the other able to go over the 50 percent mark and win the election without a runoff.