District court judge denies public financing for Manny Gonzales again

Local Elections

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It may be the end of the road for mayoral candidate Manny Gonzales’ in his quest to get more than $600,000 dollars in public funding. A district court judge Tuesday shut down another attempt by the sheriff to overturn the city’s decision.


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Gonzales’ campaign tried to convince a Santa Fe district court judge to overturn the Albuquerque city clerk’s decision to deny Gonzales $661,000 in public campaign funds, based on admissions of fraud.

“There has been really nothing presented to the court to indicate that the clerk’s initial finding was fraudulent, arbitrary, de-precious.. that it wasn’t’ supported by substantial evidence,” said Judge Bryan Biedscheid.

Albuquerque city clerk, Ethan Watson, initially denied Gonzales public financing in July, saying there is compelling evidence that the Gonzales campaign forged signatures, and fronted donations that were supposed to come from voters.

Gonzales took the fight to the district court and Judge Biedsheid forced the clerk to give the Gonzales campaign a hearing earlier this month. Where he was ultimately denied funding again.

At the latest district court hearing Gonzales’ attorneys argued again, the city clerk is biased because he is an appointee of Gonzales’ opponent, Mayor Tim Keller. The judge denied the argument.

Gonzales’ campaign held a news conference on Tuesday afternoon after the hearing saying they plan to move forward by private financing. “What we want people to know is that not only am I more inspired than ever but I’m also ready to win this race on behalf of the people,” said Gonzales.

Gonzales’ attorneys also argued even without the signatures in question – he still has enough to qualify for the funding but city rules allow the clerk to deny public financing, no matter how much fraud is found.

Gonzales now has about two months to get private contributions for his mayoral campaign. Gonzales’ campaign also tried to get the New Mexico Supreme Court involved but they passed on taking up the case. The election is on November 2.

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