Three of eight Santa Fe city councilors have said they will support Mayor Alan Webber’s bid for reelection on Nov. 2, but others on the council apparently seek to remain neutral or aren’t publicly saying who they’ll back.
Webber’s campaign announced via email earlier this week that Councilors Roman “Tiger” Abeyta, Jamie Cassutt and Carol Romero-Wirth were supporting the mayor, who faces City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler and Alexis Martinez Johnson in the race.
“We are thrilled to have such strong support from local leaders, who have worked directly with Mayor Webber and know his leadership skills first hand,” Sascha Anderson, Webber’s campaign spokeswoman, wrote in an emailed statement. “These Councilors work day in and day out with the Mayor; they know his character and his heart. Together, they are leading the city forward.”
Vigil Coppler’s allegiance, of course, is with her own campaign. But of the four remaining councilors, three indicated they wouldn’t endorse in the race. One, Signe Lindell, whose north side District 1 is viewed as a stronghold for Webber, could not be reached for comment. Lindell is in a four-way race to keep her District 1 seat.
Councilor Michael Garcia, a frequent Webber critic, said he had no plans to endorse a candidate but encouraged voters to do their homework before voting.
“It’s critical that when folks cast their ballot, they are casting it in an informed manner,” he said. “Voters should not solely focus on what candidates are claiming that are their successes but take the extra step and educate themselves on what their failures have been; what have they not accomplished?”
Councilor Chris Rivera didn’t rule out an endorsement, but said he was remaining neutral at this time, as he has for the majority of his 10 years on the council.
“Never say no to anything,” Rivera said of making an endorsement. “I guess if the circumstances were warranted, I might.”
In an email, Councilor Renee Villarreal wrote she believed the ethical approach was not to make an endorsement.
“While I realize the importance of election endorsements, endorsement by your peers while currently serving in office with them are a distraction from the current work at hand that we need to be doing as a Governing Body,” she wrote in an email. “And asking for endorsements while we are currently serving with one another is inappropriate and creates a ‘divide and conquer’ approach, which only creates more divisions and fractions.”
Sisto Abeyta, Vigil Coppler’s campaign spokesman, wrote in an email the District 4 city councilor had spoken with her colleagues, and many expressed an interest in “maintaining a sense of decorum and respect” before declining to endorse a candidate.
When asked if Webber’s campaign asked for an endorsement from the other councilors, Anderson replied endorsements from more local leaders will be rolled out over the coming weeks. U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Luján and Martin Heinrich recently announced their support of Webber.
The mayor’s campaign has rolled out an exhaustive lists of endorsements on its campaign website, including former Mayor Sam Pick and state Reps. Linda Serrato, Andrea Romero, Roger Montoya and Susan Herrera. Other entities, including the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club and most recently, Animal Protection Voters, said they will support Webber.
Vigil Coppler recently was endorsed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union Local 3999, which has frequently battled Webber on labor issues.
In a phone interview, Martinez Johnson said she didn’t know which councilors were supporting Webber but had an idea based off council voting history. She said she would welcome any endorsement from council members.
“I really think we should put our personal agendas and political affiliations aside for the benefit of Santa Feans,” Martinez Johnson said.