Low turnout expected for mayoral election
Posted at: 09/30/2013 5:55 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The race for mayor of Albuquerque enters its final week Tuesday, and so far it hasn’t exactly caught fire with the voters. Many election watchers are predicting a low turnout. Who’s to blame? How about voters who don’t vote, candidates who don’t inspire, and a news media that sometimes ignores the campaign – in short just about everybody!
Even when the debates get scrappy, like ours did on Sunday morning, the election somehow just doesn’t catch fire with most people. Here’s a typical exchange over one of the dominant issues of the campaign.
“The rank and file of the police department are not the problem,” said retired cop turned candidate Paul Heh. “It is the leadership of the department.”
“I believe the biggest problem with the Albuquerque Police Department is the mismanagement that has occurred,” said former prosecutor Pete Dinelli.
“Our folks are doing great work for you,” said incumbent Mayor Richard Berry. “Our neighborhoods are safer.”
Trouble is that polls show only about 30 percent of the voters think APD is a big issue. Far more say the big issues are education, crime and above all the economy. But that doesn’t generate many sparks, said politics blogger Joe Monahan who has either covered or played a part in every mayor’s election since the first one in 1973.
“A lot of it has to do with a sense that there’s not much that government can do,” Monahan said. “A lot of people are bunkered down. They’re in survival mode. They don’t look for city government to really solve their problems as they might have looked for it in the past. They still turn out for presidential elections, but they tend not to for state and local elections, not the way they used to.”
Editor's note: The way to prove old cynics like Monahan and our own Stuart Dyson wrong is to get out and vote! Nothing would please them more than to be wrong about the turnout. Dyson has covered every mayor’s election since the second one in 1977.
“Joe’s got me beat by one election, and I don’t think he’s ever stopped reminding me about it,” Dyson said.