Money pours in for Manny Gonzales’ campaign for Albuquerque mayor

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – If money is any indication, challenger Manny Gonzales’ position just got a whole lot stronger in the race for Albuquerque mayor.

Monday’s campaign finance report updates show the current Bernalillo County Sheriff has raised quite a lot of money in a relatively short amount of time — more than $330,000 in less than a month.

Now, Gonzales has more money on hand than current Mayor Tim Keller.

Keller has $313,875 available compared to Gonazales’ $332,770, according to the city’s website.

Gonzales’ cash is all from private donations — nearly a thousand of them — after he was denied public financing.

Keller is allowed to use public financing, which means he’s had a set amount to work with — more than $600,000. Candidates who choose that option cannot also take in private cash donations.

Both candidates have paid for ads that are airing on TV. Keller’s focuses on the city’s pandemic response. Gonzales’ talks about his upbringing and public safety.

Another candidate, Eddy Aragon, a local radio host, has raised $25,456 for his campaign.

KOB 4 talked Monday with Tim Krebs, University of New Mexico professor and Department of Political Science chair, to get his reaction on how much money Gonzales has raised.

“He’s had a pretty good month. Now he’s got to be able to translate that into a message voters find compelling,” Krebs said. “It’s going to help him be competitive down the stretch.”

Krebs says a candidate who’s privately funded probably wants to raise around a million dollars in a race such as this, so Gonzales will need to make his money count.

Unlike many challengers in races like these who aren’t well-known, Gonzales is. Krebs says that’s good news for the sheriff, and that means being behind on fundraising won’t hurt him as much as it would someone else.

As for Keller, Krebs says while he may not be in a perfect position, it doesn’t seem like there’s an effective challenger right now.

“He’s faced a ton of headwinds especially with regards to the COVID pandemic and the crime issue, and the homeless issue, which is facing cities all over the country and incumbent mayors all over the country right now,” Krebs said. “But he’s still, I think, doing pretty well. He’s got money to spend as well down the stretch and will sharpen his message. It will likely get more negative before this election is over.”

Krebs points out that Gonzales will want to keep Keller under 50% of the vote in November, which would force a runoff, and would give Gonzales more time to fundraise.

There was a runoff in the last mayoral election, in which Keller beat out Dan Lewis.

KOB 4 will host a mayoral debate Tues., Oct. 19 from 6 to 7 p.m.