Posted at: 09/09/2013 7:00 PM
Updated at: 09/10/2013 8:34 AM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
ALBUQUERQUE -- By design and definition, Albuquerque city elections are supposed to be non-partisan, but you'd never know that from the latest TV ad in the campaign for mayor.
The city has seen Democratic and Republican influence in city elections before, but never quite as out-front and in-your-face as the first TV ad from mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli.
"Now Republican Richard Berry is taking us backwards," the ad proclaims in its first few seconds. Dinelli wastes little time in identifying Mayor Berry as a Republican.
"I'm Democrat Pete Dinelli," he says near the end of the 30 second ad. "I share your values. I'm on your side."
So Dinelli isn't shy about revealing that he's a Democrat. But why all the party positioning?
It's all in the numbers, says Prof. Tim Krebs, a specialist in municipal politics and government for the UNM Political Science Dept.
"The city electorate leans toward the Democratic party," Krebs said. "So if Dinelli thinks he can energize that base of the voters better, then he is going to have an advantage against Richard Berry."
Well, how about Berry? Do we expect him to play the Republican card?
"Probably not," Krebs said. "His approval among Democrats and his approval among Republicans is quite high. I imagine that he will try to stay above the fray when it comes to that."
The Albuquerque Journal poll, published Sunday, shows Berry with a whopping 63 percent of the vote, Dinelli with 18 percent and Paul Heh at two percent.
Just about everybody on all sides of the election expects Berry's margin to shrink some during the next month before Election Day on October 8, but if it doesn't shrink below 50 percent, he will win re-election without a runoff.