Retired Educator Elected Albuquerque Mayor
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Retired educator Louis Saavedra won a lopsided victory Wednesday over City Councilor Pat Baca in the runoff election for mayor of Albuquerque, pulling down more than 60 percent of the vote.
With all 152 precincts reporting, unofficial returns showed Saavedra with 39,245 to Baca’s 25,621. The margin was 60.8 percent for Saavedra and 39.1 percent for Baca, also a retired educator.
Saavedra, 56, the former president of Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute, credited his emphasis on ″a positive campaign.″
″I tried to focus on what I felt were the issues. People believed that part and totally rejected the negative campaign of my opponent,″ Saavedra said in an interview at City Hall as returns came in.
Saavedra takes office Dec. 1, succeeding outgoing Mayor Ken Schultz, one of the seven also-rans in the Oct. 3 city election. Schultz had sought to become the first Albuquerque mayor to win re-election.
The mayoral runoff had evolved into a controversy-filled campaign that centered more on the candidates’ backgrounds than on city issues.
Saavedra’s campaign was plagued by the revelation that he secretly received a paid-up $250,000 life insurance policy from the T-VI board of directors. Saavedra resigned from the school last summer to run for mayor.
Baca, 62, had to battle criticism surrounding his council voting record. Critics accused him of voting in favor of proposals that eventually benefited him, his business interests or those of his family.
Saavedra gathered the largest vote in the October election but, like Baca, failed to receive the 40 percent needed to win outright.