Democrats wrested control of New Mexico’s largest city from the GOP on Tuesday as Democratic New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller easily won a race to become Albuquerque’s next mayor.
According to unofficial results, Keller beat Republican Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis with 62 percent of the vote compared to 38 percent in a race that centered on the city’s raising crime rates and its struggling economy. The election came a week after Democrats won governorships and legislative seats in Virginia and New Jersey and took mayoral seats in places such as Helena, Montana.
Keller told a packed room at Albuquerque’s historic Andaluz Hotel that his victory was a rejection of fear and “language that divided us” — a veiled jab at President Donald Trump.
“We embraced inclusion. We embraced unity,” said Keller, who will replace GOP Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry who opted not to seek re-election.
Lewis, who joined Keller in a runoff, thanked supporters and said he hoped Keller would succeed as mayor. “I just wish him the very best,” Lewis said. “I want him to be a great mayor.”
Keller’s victory also came a day after a city ethics board ruled Keller violated campaign finance laws.
The board did not issue sanctions against Keller, who has been successful in past campaigns for a state legislative seat and the state auditor’s post.