August 20, 2015

Here’s how ABQ city council candidates spend money

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As Albuquerque’s October city elections approach, campaign finance reports are trickling in. The latest period for campaign reports covers July 17-Aug. 13.

Money flying

Four city council seats are up for election, only two of which have more than one candidate.

We’ll start with Pat Davis, who we’ll disclose here helps raise money for New Mexico Political Report through his role as Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico to keep our operations running but exerts no control over our editorial content.

Davis, who is running to replace retiring Councilor Rey Garduño in District 6, qualified for public financing in June. He started off the period with $33,802.26 and spent $12,438.62. More than $10,000 of Davis’ expenditures went to Full Arsenal Strategies, the firm of his campaign manager Alan Packman.

District 6, which encompasses the University of New Mexico and the International District, historically leans heavily Democratic. Though the election is technically nonpartisan, Davis is closely aligned with the Democratic Party through his work with ProgressNow New Mexico.

Davis’ campaign recently took shots at opponent Hessito “Hess” Yntema, a registered Republican, for most of his campaign expenses going to McCleskey Media Strategies. The firm is run by Jay McCleskey, known to most as Gov. Susana Martinez’ top political consultant.

Yntema, who is funding his campaign privately, started the period with $1,676.25. He ended up raising $5,325 and spent $1,303. Among Yntema’s contributors are Paul Kennedy, a former state Supreme Court justice who is currently representing Martinez in several lawsuits, Jeff and Ted Garrett of the Garrett Group real estate firm and Mickey Barnett, a former Republican state senator and current lawyer and lobbyist.

A third candidate, 22-year-old University of New Mexico student Sam Kerwin, started the period with just over $90. He spent about $30 of this, mostly on printing campaign fliers, including 46 cents on four printouts to “enlist interns.” Kerwin also spent $2.18 on a “blue watercolor crayon.” He reported no fundraising.

The only other contested city council race is in District 4, where incumbent Brad Winter faces off against newcomer Israel Chavez. Chavez qualified for public financing and had more money than his opponent at the beginning and end of the  campaign finance period. Still, Winter nearly doubled his own money through fundraising.

Chavez started the period with $35,499.55 and spent just over $3,300 mostly toward campaign manager Angie Poss.

Winter started with $7,270 and raised another $7,175 through the period. He spent just $100 on supplies from Staples and the post office. Winter’s donors include Jeff and Ted Garrett, the New Mexico Restaurant Association and Associated Builders and Contractors’ political action committee.

Winter, a Republican, recently retired as chief operations officer of Albuquerque Public Schools and spent a year as the interim superintendent of the school district. Chavez, a Democrat, works for Equality New Mexico. District 4 historically leans Republican.

Neither of the city council incumbents who are running for reelection unopposed spent much of their campaign chest. District 2 Councilor Isaac Benton, who is using public financing, spent just $401.36 of his $37,691.15 on printing and postal fees. District 8 Councilor Trudy Jones spend $1,462 of her $9,338.54 on yard signs.

Albuquerque city elections take place Oct. 6.

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