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Albuquerque City Council sees largest election turnover in 20 years

City of Albuquerque

Four new Albuquerque city councilors are set to take their oaths of office on Saturday. As longtime city councilor Isaac Benton told the Albuquerque Journal, this could be called the “big reset”.

 This marks the single largest council transition that has taken place in the last 20 years. With this past election turning over more seats than the past three elections combined.

Tammy Fiebelkorn, a Democrat, replaces fellow Democrat Diane Gibson, who served two-terms before choosing not to reseek election

Republican Renee Grout succeeds fellow party member Don Harris, who left after 16-years of representing Albuquerque’s southeastern-most district. 

Rounding out the group of freshmen council members is Republican Dan Lewis and conservative Democratic Louie Sanchez, who both replaced Democratic incumbents

Though the city council elections are officially contested as nonpartisan, there will be five Democrats and four Republicans occupying the seats. Democrats will still hold the edge in majority, 6-3.

The newly elected city council is taking over a city that is facing record high homicides and challenges related to those experiencing homelessness. 

They will also be working with reelected Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller, who easily won reelection back in November.

But Kiebelkorn is hopeful the council will be able to set party politics aside and find common ground on the issues Albuquerque faces. Telling the Albuquerque Journal that “we’re finding overlap and areas of interest we can agree on.”

Party politics have never been an issue for past city councils, but there are other differences that led to many 5–4 votes. 

Benton told the Journal that he would describe this new council as “independent-thinking” and said that might be “best thing right now.”

Both the current and newly elected members are hopeful that despite some deep ideological differences between all nine counselors, this will be a fresh start for both the city and the council.