Despite a an aggressive campaign on the part of the fire fighters union, Mayor RJ Berry won re-election as Mayor of Albuquerque with a record 68% of the vote, thus avoiding a runoff. Republicans lost one seat on Council and face a tough challenge getting Janice Arnold-Jones over the finish line in a runoff election. You can count on that being a boisterous election as Democrats simply need to retain all of the votes while Arnold-Jones needs to either boost Republican turnout or draw in more Democrats or Independents in the runoff. Since this will be for control of Council, it promises to be an interesting month.
Certainly, Berry’s success proves that common sense, center-right policies delivered in a low-key style are popular among Albuquerque voters. And, while labor unions may be very organized and have more signs, they can’t sway an election all by themselves. This is good news. The bad news is that he didn’t have very long coattails and may wind up losing City Council, thus making it tough to move a reform agenda. Also, the runoff system raises the bar facing conservatives for the future.
If Berry sticks to his pledge to only serve for 8 years, he won’t have to run for re-election. Given the fact that the unions have and will fight him every step of the way, it would seem to be a good time to continue and expand upon those public labor reforms.