Tim Keller plans to resign from his current job as the state’s auditor if he wins the Albuquerque mayoral race later this year.
“If elected mayor, Tim will resign as state auditor,” said Jessie Hunt, who is managing Keller’s mayoral campaign.
Keller hasn’t formally entered the Oct. 3 mayoral race, but Hunt confirmed he’s running and said a formal announcement is forthcoming.
New Mexico voters elected Keller, a Democrat, to be the state auditor in November 2014, and he took office the following January. If he is elected mayor he would be sworn in to that office around Dec. 1, a little more than a year before his term as auditor ends.
Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, would be responsible for appointing someone to serve the remainder of Keller’s term as auditor, which ends on Dec. 31, 2018. The auditor’s office is responsible for ensuring that hundreds of state and local agencies complete annual audits in addition to investigating complaints of waste, fraud and abuse in government.
Keller’s election as state auditor was a rare bright spot for Democrats — along with the election of Hector Balderas as attorney general — in 2014, when Republicans won greater control of state government than they held at any previous point in New Mexico history. When winners of the 2014 election were sworn in, Republicans controlled four of seven statewide elected offices and the House of Representatives.
Last year, Democrats won back control of the House and the secretary of state’s office.
Current Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, a Republican, isn’t seeking re-election this year, and the race to replace him is already crowded.
Joining Keller in the race thus far, according to the Albuquerque Journal, are:
- City Councilor Dan Lewis, a Republican.
- Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta, a Democrat.
- Former Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman Brian Colón, a Democrat.
- Independent Michelle Garcia Holmes, a retired police detective who was also chief of staff to former state Attorney General Gary King.
- Retired Old Town resident Stella Padilla, a Democrat.
Several others are also considering running.
At an event hosted by the nonprofit ProgressNow New Mexico on Saturday, Keller pledged to improve schools, fix the troubled Albuquerque Police Department, and deal with the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project on Central Avenue if elected mayor.
He also spoke generally about a plan to create one new job for every small business and nonprofit employer in Albuquerque by focusing the city’s economic development infrastructure locally instead of on attracting out-of-state corporations.
“That is 10 times more helpful to our economy than any company we’re going to bring from out of state,” Keller said.