Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber is headed for another term — and it was easier than many had anticipated.

He held a significant lead late Tuesday over his two challengers — City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler and environmental engineer Alexis Martinez Johnson — in the first round of the ranked-choice election. He was almost certain to maintain 55 percent of the first-choice votes, avoiding the need for a second-round count.

Over 18,000 city voters cast ballots in the race, a turnout of around 30 percent.

A jovial Webber, surrounded by more than 50 of his supporters, thanked voters for the win at his campaign party Tuesday at Hotel Santa Fe.

“I’m going to give this speech as if my campaign manager’s words are prophetic,” Webber said with a smile, “but they are looking awfully good for our team.”

While Webber and attendees at his election watch party seemed confident of his win, Vigil Coppler — his closest contender, who was down by 20 percentage points — declined to concede until her campaign manager, Sisto Abeyta, said it was “time to call it a day.”

Vigil Coppler told a crowd of supporters at the Santa Fe Country Club, “This is not a concession speech. There’s a heck of a lot more votes to count.”

Martinez Johnson, who drew the fewest votes and campaign funds, offered her support to the winner in a phone interview earlier Tuesday evening.

“I definitely wish whoever does become mayor success,” she said. “I pray that unification is the result and we can progress to a better quality of life here in Santa Fe.”

Now that the hard part — holding onto his seat — is over, Webber said he’s ready to focus on tackling the priorities he set for his second term.

During his campaign, Webber stressed his ability to lead the city through the COVID-19 pandemic, his approach to addressing homelessness and the growth of the city’s affordable housing stock, an issue he has cited as a primary focus of his second term in office.

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State Rep. Linda Serrato and her daughter Alma, 4, speak with Alan Webber at his watch party at Hotel Santa Fe on Tuesday evening.

Leaning on his background in the business realm — he co-founded the business magazine Fast Company, which was sold for $300 million, and was a longtime business adviser — he’s also touted his ability to expand the city’s economy.

“I think we need to work with the reelected governing body and the new governing body members to develop an agenda the reflects both the fundamentals of daily life that we have to attend to and really pressing issues that are crying out for attention,” he said Tuesday night.

“I think the experience of coming into a second job will help me do a better job,” he added.

Questions about quality-of-life issues, such as a rise in violent crime, and two tardy state-mandated audits threatened to doom Webber’s candidacy, as did his response to the destruction of the obelisk on the Plaza in 2020.



The local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents most city employees, has been at odds with Webber’s administration, filing multiple complaints with the state Public Employees Labor Relations Board. The union endorsed Vigil Coppler.

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Santa Fe mayoral candidate JoAnne Vigil Coppler greets supporters Tuesday at her post-election party at the Santa Fe Country Club.

Still, Webber had a huge lead in fundraising, according to the most recent campaign finance reports released Monday.

In 2018, Webber beat out four other candidates to win his first term.

In that election, Webber raised more than $315,000. He shattered that number this year, bringing in nearly $500,000.

He also received endorsements from three Santa Fe city councilors: Jamie Cassutt, Carol Romero-Wirth and Roman “Tiger” Abeyta.

Abeyta was poised to lose his seat Tuesday night to challenger Lee Garcia.

Cassutt, who attended the mayor’s campaign event, said she was excited to continue the work that she and Webber have embarked on during her first two years on the City Council.

“I endorsed Webber really because of the platform he put out,” Cassutt said. “He has really supported me in pushing child care accessibility, which, me being a single mom, is very important to me. I’m excited to continue that.”

Romero-Wirth, who also attended the event with her husband, state Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth, also said she was eager to continue working with Webber.

“We have some important community conversations to have, and we need to bring the community together and work for the better of all of us,” Romero-Wirth said.

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Santa Fe mayoral candidate JoAnne Vigil Coppler greets supporters Tuesday during her post-election party at the Santa Fe Country Club.

Originally from St. Louis, Webber moved to Santa Fe in the early 2000s. He shares a home with his wife of more than 40 years, Frances Diemoz. The pair have two adult children.

Webber graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts and then served as an adviser and speechwriter for officials in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and Oregon.

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Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber speaks with supporters gathered at Hotel Santa Fe on Tuesday evening.

Staff writer Robert Nott contributed to this report.

(74) comments

Robert Fields

Me thinks a lot of the anti-Webber posts here are because he supported mask mandates. For some very odd reason, the republican usuals hate that and so hate Webber and MLG both. It eats them up that their anti-mask opposition lost to Webber.

Oh well.

Richard Reinders

What???

Gail Larson

Very sad day for the future of Santa Fe. More people got off their butts to vote against the "Sugar Tax" than to vote against the absolute worst mayor this city has had for as long as I've lived here (40 year transplant). I am beyond disappointed, especially in the 8% of you who care more about the price of a Pepsi than the future of "your" town.

Kiki Martinez

Ok so I guess it's not fair to say he won because of his money - he won because of his money and all his cronies from out of state and their money. Wake up people! Another 4 years of overcrowding Santa Fe, building million dollar homes that knock affordable housing out of touch for the "regular guy", more political favors to be paid back, and let's see what other destruction of historical monuments is allowed to happen with no punishments - particularly if they relate to the local Hispanic community. God help us.

John Cook

How, exactly, (or inexactly to try to help your poor self) did the obelisk relate to the local Hispanic community? Do you have an idea of what events it was a commemoration?

Angel Ortiz

I suppose you have an in depth understanding of the Hispanic and Native American culture and history of our community. Please elaborate

Richard Reinders

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Katherine Martinez

This “teen center” that is touted about constantly—please show me how this has helped crime in our city. Show me how this has helped deter the teens that have wreaked havoc on our city streets every single day written about in our papers, killing our tourists and locals, with the needles scattered about. Perhaps it may be a band-aid, but I doubt it’s a permanent solution. Show me how this helped our hollowed out town square. #Fools.

paul pacheco

4 years came, and 4 years went, and 4 years will go again! He's an outsider whose money made him mayor! But like the other guys said, "he's the best mayor money could buy!"

William Walker

Suggesting that Webber's money swayed the vote in Santa Fe is wrong on so many levels. It is charged without evidence. It suggests that the preponderance of the money came from those outside the state. And it impugns the intelligence of the limited number of citizens who bothered to vote. In short, the comment does not advance discussion or understanding of the election's outcome.

Lucille Armijo

Oh lovely, we just extended life of our crappy parks, homeless issues for the midtown area, crime, and all money going to the north side of town. Webber does not care about the people that live south of the south capital area. PERIOD.

John Cook

Have you missed the news of the 17,000 square foot teen center on the South side that Mayor Webber got put together and ground broken? Facts still matter.

Angel Ortiz

Add in 3 late audits, a gross mismanagement of city resources, etc. Yes, sounds like a lot of success!

Dottie Lopez

So sad, but the right person was not running against him.

Santa Fe, we can do better! "We don't need no stinking water hog!"

Angel Ortiz

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Cheryl Maes

I am so sad for Santa Fe. Webber cares nothing for the current needs of our city. He and his followers of transplants are oblivious to homelessness, sprawl, pollution, lack of affordable housing, education, parking, etc. etc. etc. I was really hoping there were enough voter turn out to get this guy out of office.

Lupe Molina

I think commentary like this did more to help Webber than his opponents. He's a mediocre politician at worst. When people read nothing but insults about him not being from here coupled with exaggerations or outright lies that he knows nothing about the community or it's problems, when many of those issues were a major part of his platform, don't be surprised when people don't take you seriously. Most people, regardless of where they are from, read your comment as xenophobic and mean.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Be clear: The grossly inept Webber's campaign war-chest was filled with out-of-state, dark money. This is how Republican and Democrat national committees alike, manipulate state and local elections.

I'm truly flattered to see some comments echoing what I've taught for decades: Not unlike "American Justice", U.S. "Elections" are the best "Elections" money can buy - CONFIRMED. After all, even the SF New Mexican -shamelessly- endorsed him despite the general public's disgust.

Alan Webber, vaya con queso.

John Cook

The general public voted for him by a 20% margin. Turns out the “disgust“ was shared by a very small, even if shrill, minority.

Joe Brownrigg

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Prince Michael Jauregui

Incorrect - again. A 20% margin from a low voter turn-out does not constitute the general public.

Think much, Mr. Cook?

Lupe Molina

Do you? Turnout wasn't low, about on par with previous elections, and certainly not enough to account for 20 point margin. Any other excuses?

Prince Michael Jauregui

Ms. Molina, purportedly, the voter turn-out was only 30%.

Read, much?

Lupe Molina

Which is about what it was in the last election... And you're going to question my reading comprehension? Jeez bud, glass houses and all that.

Lupe Molina

Last I saw, less than a quarter of his contributions were from outside the city, much less out of state. It helps to have actual evidence for your argument. As others have pointed out, just because you and handful of friends scream about something doesn't make you right. My guess is the hyperbole spoken by Webber's detractors was probably counterproductive. And turnout was in line with other local elections, it was drastically lower

Angel Ortiz

Well said. [thumbup]

Comment deleted.
Prince Michael Jauregui

Molina, I've been called many things in the Life, -bad and good- but I've never been called a liar. Read Milan Simonich's column today - and call one of America's best newspaper columnists a liar too?

!Dios lo ve todo! Heathen.

Comment deleted.
Angel Ortiz

[thumbup]

Prince Michael Jauregui

Thank-you again, Mr. Ortiz. Please note, the removal of my original reply. See how cowards respond to Truth?

Ariana Jarvis

I really don't understand all the griping and complaining about Webber. No one has provided any actual evidence of what he's done or not done that they disapprove of. The only argument seems to be, "He's not from Santa Fe." Having lived in other cities, I can tell you that if the biggest issue here is that the city doesn't pull weeds, then we're in pretty good shape.

And neither of his opponents made compelling cases for why they'd do a better job, nor did they have any actual plans or goals for what they wanted to achieve. Well, other than pulling the weeds, which again, is the weirdest campaign promise I've ever seen.

Lyle Corton

I’m confused as well what the issues with him are. I don’t know much about him but I’ve gotten the vibe a lot despise him, but I haven’t heard anything specific like “he supports x” or “he did y which caused z”.

I can get on a personal level why some locals will call him a “carpet bagger” aka being a transplant, but maybe Santa Fe needs that. A lot of the locals don’t have the work ethic to do anything meaningful.

Cheryl Nace

“A lot of the locals don’t have the work ethic to do anything meaningful.” Goodness. Do you have evidence to support this? Just saying…

Angel Ortiz

Leo, you have a lot to learn about locals and our work ethics. Since you proclaim yourself to be transparent, I assume that will be your justification for your sour comment. [thumbdown]

Russell Scanlon

Predictions of doom. Hoping for Webber to get sick. (!!) Calling the majority of voters who voted for Webber “ignorant”. Accusing Webber of “buying”the election. I guess it never occurred to some of you that your message is toxic and negative. Oh well—at least you can be happy that a Trump acolyte and history denier won in Virginia.

Richard Reinders

The Parents won in Virginia not Trump, the left can't always use Trump as an excuse for their problems. Trump is gone it is the left that keeps him alive.

Russell Scanlon

Well—just ask future candidate Ronchetti if he supports Trump or if he thinks the 2020 election was fair. Then tell me if TRump is “gone”. Until the GOP renounces Trump we got nothing to talk about.

Joe Brownrigg

[thumbup]

Joe Brownrigg

Really???

"Parents" in Virginia were sold a bill of fake goods.

Mike Peterson

It appears that Santa Fe got the best mayor that money can buy.

Robert Fields

At least we didn’t get the worst mayor money can buy…

Joe Brownrigg

Stop it!

John Cook

Sean Thomas, I wonder if you would consider a follow-up story on ranked choice voting. How many total voters ranked a second and/or third choice? If possible, how did that break down between Webber, Vigil Coppler and Martinez Johnson voters? It's also interesting, and a possible addition to such a story, that about 14% of voters who voted on the school bond levy did not vote for mayor, at all. Thanks for considering this. I don't think the County Clerk is going to devote the time and energy to dig this out for a citizen but might do it for the paper.

Joe Brownrigg

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Inez Russell

John, another reader had the same question about difference in votes for school bonds/mayor. The school election goes into the county, so people from Tesuque, Eldorado, Galisteo, etc., can vote on bonds and positions on the board but not for mayor.

Cheryl Nace

I must say I was completely unimpressed with Webber. Apparently his ineffectiveness to lead was due to “the pandemic.” I guess we will see how he does this term. Will his win make him motivated to lead or complacent in his office? I fear the latter. I hope for a surprise.

Richard Reinders

We haven't had a pandemic for four years just about one 1/3 of the 4 years.

Cheryl Nace

Point taken. Thank you.

Joe Brownrigg

Then show it!!

William Walker

A 30 percent turnout is abysmal for such an important election. Democracy is increasingly at stake in the nation. The people of Santa Fe did not do themselves proud in this regard. Also, it is noteworthy that Vigil Coppler's appeal to her local roots did not increase participation. Hence, the limits of her divisive strategy.

Stefanie Beninato

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Joe Brownrigg

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Lupe Molina

Congratulations to team Webber. He won with a 20 point margin. I am glad that the bizarre attacks against him didn't seem to carry much weight. I do hope he faces a more challenging opponent next time around.

Robert Fields

55% Webber to 35% Vigil Coppler. Despite the grumbling here, Santa Fe did well.

KK Hannegan

This is depressing. Another four years for Webber to cause discord and chaos in Santa Fe.

Joe Brownrigg

WHO is causing discord???

rodney carswell

We are in the weeds again

Jennifer Alfonso

Yeah bc a woman who was let go after an audit uncovered she increased payroll for her friends is someone you want in office.

Many of you act like Webber is so bad when this city is doing a lot better than 95% of others. You run a city during a pandemic and race wars where the same “keyboard warriors” do nothing but whine and see how you do.

Beverly Garcia

Jennifer Alfonso, Obviously you don’t know Joanne at all. She is a person of integrity who did no such thing! And nothing of the sort was “uncovered!” In fact, the Finance Director himself disputed this fallacy. A Personnel Director has no line-authority over financial disbursements or authorizations.

Robert Fields

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Mike Johnson

Two lessons here. 1. This was an intelligence test, SF voters failed that. 2. Money easily buys elections in NM. A sad day, but not a surprise at all, NM still last.

Lupe Molina

I'm happy to live in a community where most residents fail your "intelligence test."

Stan Biderman

[thumbup]

Bob Tomlinson

Best comment award!

Emily Koyama

So you are "happy" with everything Webber has done?

Low standards indeed.

Lupe Molina

Uhhh, no. I'm not happy with everything any politician had done. But that's not what this or any other comment was about. You're so busy grasping at straws that all you can make is straw dog arguments.

Joe Brownrigg

Knock it off, Mike. Let's get on to solving problems.

Richard Reinders

Another very sad day for Santa Fe

Maryann Palker

Yes, Richard Reinders a very sad day.

Angel Ortiz

Another ugly 4 years for Santa Fe!

David Brown

👍

John Cook

I've checked, Angel. There is no law stopping you from leaving this terrible place and moving to Amarillo.

Angel Ortiz

John, sounds as though you are a much better fit for Amarillo. As you are probably another transplant who failed and moved here. How is like on the East side?

John Cook

Are there a bunch of failed folks on the East side? When I've driven up there I've seen a lot of nice houses with, presumably, high property taxes. I, myself, wouldn't like Amarillo. I like Santa Fe.

Angel Ortiz

John. You are absolutely refreshing. Thank you for your contributions to this post. Enlightening. Well thought out. As for Amarillo, I think not. Santa Fe is my home and having individuals such yourself living here, only makes me determined to stay. Gracias. Have a super wonderful evening.

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