ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The mayor of New Mexico’s largest city hopes to overcome attacks on his handling of its scandal-plagued police department and lackluster economic recovery to win a second term on Tuesday.
Mayor Richard Berry is the city’s first Republican mayor in two decades and needs at least 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.
A September poll showed him with a comfortable lead. But two Democrat challengers have since stepped up their criticism of his handling of the troubled police department, which is under federal investigation for a series of high-profile cases of abuse and more than two dozen officer-involved shootings since 2010. They also have attacked him for not defending enough a voter-approved minimum wage, the economy and for refusing to speak out against a proposed late-term abortion ban that goes to city voters next month.
According to an Albuquerque Journal poll conducted by Research & Polling Inc., Berry headed into early voting with a comfortable lead against his challengers, former Deputy City Attorney Pete Dinelli and retired police sergeant Paul Heh. The Sept. 3-5 poll found Berry with 63 percent of likely voters, while Dinelli had 18 percent and Heh 2 percent.
But pollster Brian Sanderoff told the Journal that would have been a high-water mark for Berry, who paints himself as a non-partisan who is successfully leading the city out of recession.