Daniel “Dan” Lewis and Timothy “Tim” Keller will now go head to head in a runoff election for Mayor of Albuquerque after citizens crowded polling places Tuesday, Oct 3. to cast their vote for the next leader of the city.
The University of New Mexico’s polling location in the Student Union Building saw a line across the top floor of the building all day, at times trailing down the stairs.
There were three candidates polling ahead when voting opened Tuesday morning; Keller, Lewis and Brian Colón. The final results of Tuesday’s election showed Keller winning 39.35 percent of votes, Lewis winning 22.93 percent of votes and Colón winning 16.55 percent of votes.
Augustus “Gus” Pedrotty, recent University of New Mexico grad and the youngest in the race, took 6.85 percent of votes.
Over the next six weeks, Keller and Lewis will continue to run against each other. The next election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Men, women, children — even dogs — gathered at Red Door Tap Room Tuesday night to support Keller.
Keller and his supporters watched election results from across the city roll in as they were projected on a wall at the bar.
All eight of the balloted candidates ran on crime-centered platforms, which Keller plans to continue in the next six weeks as he and his campaign team head into the next leg of the race.
“I feel very excited, and also pumped that everyone, all the students especially, came out to vote,” Keller said. “I would encourage them, no matter who they voted for, our city needs them to vote again in the runoff.”
The Keller campaign saw help from more than 400 volunteers before Tuesday’s elections, and will need just as many through October, Keller said.
The team was shocked to see the bar packed with Keller’s supporters and even more surprised when he walked away with almost 40 percent of the votes.
“I did not think this many people would show up,” he said. “I did not think we would do as good as we did.”
“It’s amazing,” said Liz Kistin Keller, wife of the city’s poll leading candidate. “There is something about this, about the chance for Tim and I to have a big impact on both our hometowns.”
Keller and his wife were born in Albuquerque, and Liz Kistin Keller is honored to be a part of this moment in history, which is “sort of where our country finds itself and where our city finds itself,” she said.
Lewis held his results viewing party at Flix Brewhouse, where supporters gathered with signs in support of his campaign.
Lewis also focused his campaign platform on crime.
“We’re going to make this the worst city to be a criminal, the most unwelcome place for people who want to break into our cars and steal our cars and break into our homes,” he said.
The crowd at the brewhouse and theater was active.
“I am excited, there is nobody more excited than me,” said Terri Baird, who went to the brewhouse to support Lewis. “I think we need somebody who is passionate about the city, who cares about the city and who will stand up for us.”
Lewis said he is extremely grateful for his supporters and is waiting to see what’s next for Albuquerque.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I mean we’re extremely grateful for the people that have supported us and the many people that have come out here tonight, so many people that went to the polls, thousands of people, just extremely grateful.”
Though the conclusion of Tuesday night’s election knocked Colón out of the race for mayor, his campaign team did not lose the excitement of Election Day.
Campaign supporters filled the “Casa de Colón” Tuesday evening, accompanied by music and cheering. A variety of authentic cuisine filled the air of Colón’s home in the hours leading up to the announcement of Albuquerque’s next mayor.
“I believe the hard work will pay off,” said Nicholas Baca, UNM student and Colón’s campaign finance director. “I’m really hoping that we come up on top, because I believe Brian Colón is going to make Albuquerque a better place for everybody.”
Many volunteers expressed their dedication for the race, and that they felt a lot of optimism.
“(Colón) is the guy for the job, and he would do great things for the city,” said Sherri Perez, campaign volunteer.
“We wanted to open our home to people who put their heart into this campaign,” Colón said. “I can see that my story resonates with others who have grown up in Albuquerque.”
With votes from 43 of the 53 districts counted, Colón addressed the crowd gathered at his home.
“We are very grateful to have people who’ve believed in us,” he said. “We’re very honored just to have been in the race.”
After it was evident the 22-year-old candidate Pedrotty would not win the position as Albuquerque’s next mayor, he addressed a crowd of about 30 ardent volunteers and supporters.
“This is a great time to talk about what this campaign was and how much it authentically accomplished in a new way that hasn’t been seen nationally,” Pedrotty said.
According to county information, Pedrotty’s campaign brought in just shy of 7 percent of the city vote on Tuesday — an unique accomplishment for a candidate who graduated from UNM less than a year ago.
“We ran 229 (campaign) days with nothing but the best of Albuquerque,” Pedrotty said to cheers from his supporters.
Pedrotty spoke highly of his campaign and staff early Tuesday night as final counts rolled in. His campaign relied heavily on volunteers and didn’t have the same access to funding as some of his competitors, he noted.
Ultimately, Pedrotty hopes his campaign will inspire civic engagement in those who supported him.
“If we don’t chose to stand up for ourselves and our experience, then we’ve lost our voice and our vote,” he said.
As for the future, Pedrotty is focused on action and utility, he said.
“It’s still about redefining the idea of politics not as government positions but about community solutions,” he said.
Ludella Awad is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @LudellaAwad.
Rebecca Brusseau is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @r_brusseau.
Brendon Gray is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @notgraybrendon.
Celia Raney is the news editor for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Celia_Raney.