Runoff mayoral candidates Timothy “Tim” Keller and Daniel “Dan” Lewis squared off on KOB 4 Tuesday for the second-to-last debate before election day.
As the election has heated up, so has the candidates’ rhetoric. Both Keller and Lewis found themselves launching attacks, while also being forced to defend themselves from accusations that have followed them throughout their campaigns.
Many questions came from members of the community, resulting in a large focus on crime, an issue that has taken the spotlight in this election.
Despite giving significant attention to the issue, the candidates differed greatly in their solutions.
Lewis’ suggested solution was to have the state legislature pass a “three-strikes-you’re-out” law, which requires those convicted of a violent felony and two other crimes to serve mandatory life sentences.
Lewis said this is necessary to keep criminals in jail for longer.
One of the biggest critiques about Keller is his stance on crime, which Lewis has referred to as “a hug-a-thug plan.”
Keller pointed to the lack of resources in the courts as a huge cause of crime.
“The governor has actually starved our courts and our (District Attorney’s office),” Keller said. “We don’t have enough prosecutors, we don’t have enough judges.”
This was the first debate since the runoff began in which Lewis was questioned about an endorsement he received from local pastor Steve Smothermon. Smothermon said in his endorsement that Lewis “would never in any way support the homosexual agenda.”
“I support the civil rights of everybody,” Lewis said, responding to a question about whether or not he supported gay civil rights.
Keller was also put on the defensive over accusations that arose earlier in his campaign.
For months, his campaign has been accused of taking illegal cash donations. The claim originated from former mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson.
Dismissing the charge, Keller said the donations were never an issue until the election and pointed out what he considers to be the lack of credibility of his accuser. He referred to Johnson as “a disgraced lawyer...who was literally kicked out of his law firm for sexual emails.”
No matter who is elected mayor, that person will confront many different issues facing Albuquerque, including high rates of property crime, a stagnant job market and opioid addiction.
Early voting is open now until Nov. 10. Election day will be on Nov. 14.
Kyle Land is a news editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Kyleoftheland.