2021 ABQ Mayoral Race

Manny PAC Attacks…Eddy?

Politicos are scratching their heads over a pro-Manny Gonzales political action committee filing an ethics complaint with the city clerk against Republican Eddy Aragon.

According to The Albuquerque Journal, the complaint allegedly accuses Aragon of violating city and federal laws by using his radio station to advertise his candidacy.

Huh?

Joe Monahan this morning quoted “veteran political analyst and attorney Greg Payne” as saying, “This is an eyes glaze over issue for voters” that is “not going to convince anyone to vote for Gonzales over Aragon.” 

“Their campaign needs to be all about keeping Keller under 50 percent and forcing a run off. The Gonzales PAC and the Gonzales campaign need to focus on the real target—the incumbent mayor. Keller remains poised to get over 50 percent Election Night and take a second term.”

– Greg Payne

We agree there’s no bigger snoozer than election lawsuits—Aragon volleyed, denying the allegations and hitting back at his opponents for refusing to accept his offer of equal air time to “have a better conversation” about what’s happening in Albuquerque—but the rationale for filing the complaint raises interesting questions.

Either the Gonzales PAC is so politically inept that they don’t know what to spend their money on, or they’re so politically savvy that they know something the experts don’t.

Why else, three weeks before an election, would the primary challenger to Mayor Tim Keller’s incumbency shift attention from the front-runner to punch down at the late-comer that everyone who’s anyone in politics assumed would finish not only third, but a very distant, unremarkable, single-digit third?

Gonzales is the darling of non-Progressive Democrats and Republican Party loyalists alike. He was assumed to be a contender against Keller because of his name, his law enforcement career, and Keller’s generally poor handling of hot-button issues like crime and homelessness.

But his debate performances so far have been mediocre on his best night, and his campaign, despite telling us they would be hitting Keller hard with TV ads, has failed to connect against Keller with anything but short jabs. 

Everybody was already scratching their heads wondering what the hell Gonzales is doing. At this point we’re boring holes in our skulls.

What are Gonzales’ people seeing to justify attacking Aragon when every politico in town has been saying for months that the biggest obstacle to a “Mayor Manny” is Keller himself. If he reaches 50% of the vote on Election Night, there’s no December runoff.

The only possible justification for such an about-face is that Gonzales would rather lose in second place this November with Keller over 50% than risk losing in third. The general public wouldn’t care—with the exception of whoever out there that’s actually concerned about the future of our city—but the political class would be shell-shocked.

Aragon is the Great Satan of establishment Republicans and Progressive Democrats alike. If he were to knock off “beloved Manny,” Gonzales would never live it down.

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