Second Judicial District Judge Joshua Allison has denied a petition to remove Republican candidate Eddy Aragon from the November 2, 2021 Albuquerque mayoral ballot after finding that “the evidence in the record does not support the relief requested in the Petition as a matter of law.”
Petitioner Esther Rivera alleged that Aragon is not a legal resident of Albuquerque and that the commercial building where he lives is not zoned for residential purposes.
According to KRQE, Rivera is backing Democrat Manny Gonzales in the race and “questions Eddy Aragon’s character,” stating that her opinion “comes from her experience working for his campaign when he ran in 2017.”
“You must be a resident,” KRQE quoted Rivera as saying. “It doesn’t mean you have to be a homeowner but you must be a resident. For me with all this talk of election integrity, I think it starts with candidate integrity.”
Aragon, who is running as the only Republican in the race, stated he is an eleventh-generation resident whose family came here in 1693, before the Duke City was even incorporated. He said he has lived at his studio, where he runs The Rock of Talk radio station, since May 2020, and that the property allows for residential use.
According to Aragon, Rivera’s attorney didn’t argue whether or not Aragon was a Duke City resident, but based their case on whether or not his studio is legally zoned for residential purposes.
“They didn’t actually say I wasn’t living here,” Aragon said. “They just said that by living here I wasn’t qualified.”
He said his attorney cited case law showing that as long as you can verify that you’re a resident, you’re qualified to run for public office, which ultimately proved to be the basis for the judge’s ruling.
In the petition, Rivera’s attorney, Thomas Grover, cited New Mexico Statute 1–22–3B, which states that “No person shall become a candidate in a regular local election unless the person physically resides within the boundaries of the district or districted area in which the person desires to be elected…”
“The burden of proof was on them,” Aragon said, “and they didn’t prove anything.”
Aragon denies that Rivera ever worked for his 2017 campaign.
“This was a desperate attempt by one of Manny’s supporters to get me off the ballot,” Aragon told The Conservative New Mexican. “From crime to COVID, Democrats have been a disaster for this city, and litigation is the only way they know how to fight. So while we welcome the judge’s ruling, we look forward to getting back to the campaign, focusing on the issues that matter, and ultimately letting voters decide the future of our city.”
Categories: 2021 ABQ Mayoral Race