Byline: Gilbert Gallegos GGALLEGOS@ABQTRIB.COM / 823-3670
RIO RANCHO Without an incumbent to run against, Rio Rancho mayoral candidates are campaigning hard against the next best political target: Cottonwood Mall.
Outgoing Mayor John Jennings said it's hard for the candidates who want to replace him to ignore the "big sucking noise" coming from the bottom of hill just south of Rio Rancho.
Albuquerque, generally, and Cottonwood Mall, in particular, have traditionally been the only choice for Rio Rancho shoppers.
For mayoral candidates, the lack of a retail base in Rio Rancho is a major issue.
It doesn't matter much that the city has attracted thousands of new residents each year, and perhaps more important, as many as 3,000 new jobs during the past four years.
None of it makes much of a difference at City Hall when most of the city's 51,765 residents are spending tax money in Albuquerque.
"If you look at communities like Roswell or Farmington communities that are maybe 100 miles from a major city …