Clobbered!

Dan Lewis got clobbered early and he got clobbered continuously. In fact, the clobbering never stopped.

In the end, the 2017 mayoral race between Tim Keller and Dan Lewis was no contest.

Keller won the election with 62.2 percent of the vote to Lewis' 37.8 percent. In terms of total votes, Keller had a 23,625-vote advantage.

The race was decided a little before 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when 60,451 early and absentee votes were posted by election officials. Those votes represented 62.3 percent of the total votes cast in the election, and they told a story that never changed.

In that first vote dump, Keller had 62.76 percent of the vote to Lewis' 37.24 percent. And the end result of the night's vote tallies wasn't much changed.

Total votes cast in the runoff election were 96,908, just 0.5 percent less than the 97,399 votes that were case in the Oct. 3 general election.

So enough of the numbers. What does it all mean?

Well, Keller and his Democratic and progressive allies will control six of the nine City Council seats, and they'll be able to do pretty much anything they want. In the District 5 City Council runoff election, Democrat Cynthia Borrego easily beat Republican Robert Aragon.

Besides Lewis, the biggest loser is probably the proposed 14,000-acre Santolina development on the Westside. The city has four seats on the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority's seven-member board. Those seats include three city councilors and the mayor.

The Santolina developers need a water development agreement from the ABCWUA to supply the now waterless land with water, and that agreement has to be approved by the board. Keller opposes Santolina. With Keller and his allies holding most of the seats, and with two Democratic Bernalillo County commissioners on the board, it seems highly unlikely that Santolina will get its water agreement anytime soon.

The challenges

Keller, who will take office on Dec. 1, will have a lot of things to deal with, including an economy that just plain stinks and that continues to be one of the worst in the region. But his biggest challenge will be the Albuquerque Police Department and the skyrocketing crime problem.

Keller has pledged to launch a national search to find a new police chief, and he has pledged to quickly and fully implement the APD reform settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. In the three years since the city signed the settlement agreement with the DOJ, the department's command staff has obstructed the reform process.

APD critics have said that the department needs, not just a new chief, but an entire new command staff, and that its culture needs to change. APD has long been known for resisting change and trying to sabotage new chiefs. We'll see if Keller can pull it off.

And then there's the crime epidemic that has swept the city in the past several years, and the chronically understaffed police department. Unless Keller finds ways to hire lots of new cops, and prevent current officers from leaving the department, he'll be stuck with – and blamed for – the continuing crime problem.

The campaign for Keller was relatively easy. His opponents were, for the most part, uninspiring and unimaginative.

But now comes the hard part. Actually governing and working to lift this city out of its 10-year nightmare of a stagnant economy, skyrocketing crime and a rogue police department command staff.

It's not going to be easy.

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I've been a reporter, writer and editor for 37 years. I'm dedicated to honest, fair and hard-hitting reporting. I'm not conservative or liberal, but am just a reporter who tries to get to the truth at any given point in time. I don't believe in pulling punches or being a lap dog because that serves no one. A free and aggressive press is essential to human liberty. That's why the Founding Fathers put a free press in the Constitution. So on this site you'll get a variety of news, fearless opinion, analysis, humor, satire and commentary. It's kind of like a free-for-all. My motto is "Without fear and without favor."  But good journalism takes time and money, so I hope you will contribute what you can to these efforts by clicking on the "Donate" button above. I could use your help. Thanks, Dennis Domrzalski.

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