ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Tuesday was filing day for candidates in Albuquerque's city election.
While the ballots aren't counted until Oct. 8, this is the start of the home stretch and things should start getting interesting.
This is a three-man race with Mayor Richard Berry, former city staffer Pete Dinelli and former APD Sgt. Paul Heh.
Soon, a relatively sleepy race may raise some eyebrows as the challengers fight to make a three-man race into a two-man contest.
It is not the kind of day that makes voters giddy with anticipation.
Filing day is another step in a long campaign filled with deadlines for the people who want to be mayor.
The difference is that soon, people will be paying attention.
"I've spent the last few weekends talking to my boss at their front door, which is one of my favorite things to do,” said Berry.
Heh said, "You know, people I talked to, they all felt like their vote doesn't count, but it does count. And I'd like to see a huge turnout."
But chances are, says UNM political science professor Tim Krebs, this is going to be a low turnout election.
"In general, low turnout contests are going to probably work to the advantage of the incumbent, work to the advantage more conservative candidates," Krebs said.
A lot of that has to do with voters assuming a result is a foregone conclusion.
But the bar is set higher for Berry this time, where he'll have to top 50 percent to win outright and avoid a runoff election – instead of 40 percent as in years past.
Challengers like Dinelli will be hammering away at the mayor's record with TV and radio ads and flyers in the mail.
"Businesses aren't going to come to Albuquerque as long as we have perception of being a very violent city," said Dinelli.
Candidates' hope is that they can narrow the field, pique voter interest and drive voters to the polls.
Krebs said, “[Dinelli] hopes that that runoff is forced so that perhaps the election can turn on voter registration, which, in Albuquerque, favors democratic candidates."
City Hall elections are non-partisan, but as Krebs points out, if there's a tight race, people can bet the parties will make it clear who's who on the ballot.
Absentee ballots go out the day after Labor Day. Two weeks after that, in-person early voting begins.
Election day is Oct. 8.
There could be another issue driving voters to the polls - the proposed ban on late-term abortions which could still make it onto this ballot.
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