Manny’s campaign may not be eligible for public funding as the deadline for contributions approaches
Hopes of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales to secure public funding for his mayoral bid may soon end. With just 8 days to go until qualifying closes, the candidate is a long way from meeting the city’s qualifying requirements to unlock over $ 600,000 in public funds for his campaign. Not receiving this money would put him at a great disadvantage against Keller who will certainly qualify.
In order for a mayoral candidate to be eligible for public funding of $ 600,000 from the city, a candidate must receive public funding contributions of $ 5 from at least 1% of voters. This equates to 3,779 contributions showing the support each mayoral candidate must garner in just over 60 days. As of June 7, Gonzalez had only managed to muster 67% of that required amount with just over a week to go. Mayor Keller currently has 98 percent of the contributions needed for public funding.
To complicate matters further, Gonzales is now accused of funding at least one of these contributions out of his own pocket. This, if true, constitutes a potential violation of the law and could prevent it from receiving public funds, even if it is eligible to do so.
Gonzales made national headlines last week when a drone with a dildo attached interrupted a campaign event. Video of the incident showed a man hitting the drone in the air. Gonzales accused outgoing mayor Tim Keller of organizing the hiatus. Keller has denied any involvement.
Keller campaign says sheriff scammed public funding for his campaign
Gonzales officially announced his intention to run for mayor in March after nearly two years of teasing that he would. The Bernalillo County Sheriff is posing as a tough Democrat on crime. After Keller and other prominent local Democrats denounced the Trump administration’s plan to send federal agents to “lawless” cities, Gonzales appeared in the White House at an event with Trump and the prosecutor General Bill Barr. Barr appointed Gonzales to a DOJ mental health task force, although it’s not clear if the group has met before.
Gonzales and the Trump administration have agreed to deploy 35 federal officers to be stationed in New Mexico’s largest city as part of Operation Legend.
Gonzales’ cooperation with the Trump administration in Operation Legend appears to haunt him in a city that has historically leaned for Democrats and continues to veer left. Albuquerque voters have strongly rejected attempts by Republican Mark Moores to portray Democrat Melanie Stansbury as weak on crime and a supporter of police funding in a recent congressional special election. Like Gonzales, Moores attempted to form a coalition of conservatives and moderates with a tough platform against crime.
In the first fifty or so days of qualifying, Gonzales mustered 2,542 of 5 contributions, placing him well below the 3,779 needed to access the city’s public funding for mayoral candidates, according to the official website of the city of Albuquerque. This equates to approximately 50 new contributions per day. To reach the 3,779 threshold in 8 days, Gonzales would need to collect more than 150 new donations per day, or triple its current rate.
Keller gathered 3,703 of them. June 19 is the deadline for candidates to submit their campaign contributions to the city. If a candidate cannot obtain the 3,779 necessary contributions, the contributions of $ 5 that he collects do not come back to him. These funds remain in the city’s public finance fund for other mayoral and council campaigns, meaning that funds raised by Gonzales could, ironically, be used to pay for Keller’s campaign if Gonzales does not qualify. .
If Gonzales fails, it looks like Keller will be without a major challenger for re-election. No prominent Republican politician entered the race. Mayor Keller won the previous mayoral race in 2018 with 62% of the vote, beating Republican candidate Dan Lewis by 25 points.