For months, candidates canvassed the city, petitioned their constituents and gathered signatures. On Thursday, County Clerk Katharine Clark finished verifying the efforts of all 11 City Council and mayoral hopefuls.
The qualifying of the candidates means those citizens will appear on the 2021 municipal ballot, setting the clock two months ahead of Election Day. In addition to one seat in each of four council districts, the city’s top government job is up for contention. Incumbent Mayor Alan Webber will face two challengers: District 4 Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler and former candidate for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District, Alexis Martinez Johnson.
In Vigil Coppler’s district, two women will appear on the ballot to vie for the seat that will come open at year’s end. Amanda Chavez, a director in Santa Fe Public Schools, and Rebecca Romero, who works with the state Department of Health, both say their roots in the Southside will help shape their work on the council.
Vigil Coppler declines to endorse either of them.
In the event she defeats Webber, she tells SFR, “In my mind, I will have to work with either one of them and I don’t want to create any animosity.”
Farther west, in District 3, two candidates want a seat on the council. The incumbent, Councilor Roman “Tiger” Abeyta, ran unopposed in his first election. With two decades of city and county government experience, Abeyta now spends his non-council time as the chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe.
This time, he faces local tire business owner Lee Garcia, whose family has run and operated Garcia Tires, or some version of the company, for 47 years.
“I’d like to set an example for just about anybody. I don’t care who you are. You can put yourself forward and try to make a difference.” Garcia tells SFR of his decision to enter the race and give the people of District 3 a choice, “We have a public funding option right now; you don’t have to come from big money to run a campaign.”
District 1 residents have a smorgasbord of candidates to choose from. The district, which encompasses the Plaza and stretches down to Siler Road, has candidates from all stripes competing for the seat.
Joe Hoback, whose family ran the Pink Adobe restaurant, has campaigned on a platform to give city workers a raise to $15 an hour. Brian Gutierrez, chairman of the city’s Planning Commission and owner of Mr. G’s Pro Tow, hopes to improve public safety by working to support and retain more police officers in the city.
Another candidate in the crowded District 1 race, Roger Carson, a Las Campanas real estate agent, thinks he can solve Santa Fe’s perpetual housing crisis by approaching development through a more sustainable model.
Hoback, Gutierrez and Carson are looking to unseat Councilor Signe Lindell, has two previous terms under her belt and hopes her track record on the council will give her another four years to represent District 1.
Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth seeks re-election, unopposed, for District 2.
Other, uncontested down-ballot candidates include representatives for the school board. Kate Noble will hold onto the District 3 seat and newcomer Sascha Anderson will assume the seat previously held by the late Lorraine Price. Last night, the school board voted to welcome Anderson aboard ahead of the elections, to fill the vacant District 5 position.
At the college level, two seats on the board are up for election. Linda Siegle and Xubi Wilson will assume District 1 and 4 seats, respectively, come January. Wilson is an adjunct professor at the college who headed up the solar program before its recent demise, and Siegle currently sits on the college board. Wilson ran for the Santa Fe Community College Governing Board in 2015.
For details about registering to vote, voting by mail and Santa Fe’s ranked-choice system, head over to SFR’s election FAQs.