Campaign finance reports filed Monday showed positives for both gubernatorial candidates, with the Republican showing a lead with money left, but the Democrat raised, and spent, more money. Republican nominee Steve Pearce finished the campaign finance period—which lasted from July 1 to Sept. 3—with nearly $1.9 million cash-on-hand for the final two months of the race. This was well ahead of the $1.2 million cash-on-hand for his opponent, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham. Lujan Grisham, however, raised $1.9 million in the period and spent almost $1.5 million.
As last-minute attacks swirl and campaigns shift efforts to get voters to the polls, candidates filed their final campaign finance reports before the Tuesday primary election. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham once again led the way in fundraising, and she also spent the most money out of all four gubernatorial candidates in the most recent campaign finance period, which spanned from May 8 to May 29. She raised over $215,000, more than twice her two Democratic opponents combined, and spent nearly $710,000. She finished May with nearly $1.1 million cash on hand. State Sen. Joe Cervantes spent nearly $575,000, and finished with nearly as much campaign cash in his coffers as Lujan Grisham.
Some incumbent state Representatives are raising and spending big money to stave off competitors in the upcoming primaries. In other races, open seats are proving expensive for those seeking to replace legislators bowing out of another term at the Roundhouse. The candidates filed campaign finance reports on Monday that showed their financial activity between April 3 and May 9. Related: Dem Guv candidates raise big money as primary nears
Incumbents facing challengers in the primary
Once of the most-watched primaries is in House District 46 in northern New Mexico. Incumbent Carl Trujillo spent the most of any legislative candidate in his attempt to hold off former Regional Coalition of LANL Communities executive director Andrea Romero.
Two of the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for governor have over $1.5 million cash on hand for the final stretch before the primary election on June 5. Early voting has already started. State Sen. Joseph Cervantes has now loaned his own campaign over $2 million and raised only about $15,000 from others. He now has $1.65 million cash on hand. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham raised over $410,000 and spent nearly $640,000 between April 3 and May 7.
Voters got to see the latest campaign finance numbers from candidates running for statewide and legislative offices Monday. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce, both U.S. Representatives running for governor, led the way among candidates reporting fundraising numbers Tuesday. Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, reported raising $1.4 million over the last six months, while Pearce, a Republican, raised $1.6 million. Nearly half of the money Pearce raised in the period came from a transfer of money from his federal campaign accounts after the Republican congressman won a legal battle in federal court. Former media executive Jeff Apodaca raised $254,000, while State Sen. Cervantes raised $1.05 million.
When candidates file their campaign finance reports Monday, there will be all types of ways to analyze the data. One will be to look for the biggest donors. But identifying them can be tricky. Even though New Mexico passed campaign contribution limits in 2009 after several high-profile elected officials went to jail for corruption, people still have the potential to contribute more than the limits by giving through companies they own, or combining with family members to give. This year New Mexico’s campaign contribution limit for statewide office is $5,500 in both the primary and general election cycles.
With a big gubernatorial race on tap in 13 months, two high-profile candidates reported Monday each bringing in more than $1 million in contributions in the last six months. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced raising nearly $1.4 million since her last campaign finance report in April. The campaign finance period was between between April 4 and October 2. Lujan Grisham’s campaign reported these came from nearly 6,500 contributors. Lujan Grisham’s campaign reported these came from nearly 6,500 contributors.
On the surface, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver’s proposed changes to campaign finance reporting rules appear to be a wonky topic. But to some outspoken opponents it’s a free speech violation. Burly Cain, the New Mexico state director of Americans for Prosperity, compared the proposed changes to forcing an 80-year-old woman to “wear an armband to say what she believes on her arm.”
Officials with the secretary of state’s office say they are simply attempting to update outdated sections of the state’s Campaign Reporting Act that are no longer legally valid after high-profile court decisions. This includes the state law definition of “political committee,” which is broadly defined as two or more people who are “selected, appointed, chosen, associated, organized or operated primarily” for influencing an election or political convention. This definition was found to be “unconstitutionally broad” in New Mexico Youth Organized v. Herrera, a 2009 court case, according to Secretary of State Chief Information Officer Kari Fresquez.
Tuesday was a filing day for New Mexico candidates, the first for the general election. It was another important day as Republicans fight to hold their two-year majority in the House and take over the Senate, while Democrats hope to take back the House and hold the Senate. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission, with light editing. New Mexico In Depth the secretary of state contest, plus 16 key legislative races, and we’ll check out the super PACs too. You’ll find the money coming in between Sept.
From 76 cents to Hillary Clinton to the $5,400 maximum for a variety of candidates, more than 5,000 New Mexicans kicked in cash to presidential campaigns through the end of April. More than half those donors are giving in repeated small amounts to Democrat Bernie Sanders, who far outstrips all other candidates in number of donations received. The Vermont Senator has received 18,879 donations, compared to 5,346 given to Clinton through April. These donations include, in many cases, multiple donations from the same person. This story originally appeared in New Mexico In Depth.