Gonzales is the son of another former mayor of Santa Fe, George Gonzales. Prior to his election to the mayoralty, he worked as vice-president of a commercial real estate firm, and served on the county commission of Santa Fe County and as chair of the state Democratic Party.
During the campaign, a complaint was filed with the city's Ethics and Campaign Review Board against Gonzales by Fred Rowe, a supporter of mayoral candidate Patti Bushee, alleging that Gonzales was violating campaign finance regulations by actively coordinating with various political action committees which had endorsed him. Gonzales stated during the campaign that he defended the rights of outside groups to participate in election campaigns, but was not seeking and did not need support from PACs. The board voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, on the basis that it relied on innuendo and hearsay and lacked any properly substantiated evidence of ethical or legal violations.