April 17, 2017

Where mayoral candidates got campaign cash and how they spent it

Candidates for the Albuquerque mayoral election filed their campaign finance reports over the weekend. The financial reports shed some light on which privately-financed candidates have raised the most money and from whom they’re getting their contributions.

Right now, 16 official candidates are running for the city’s top office, but only four have raised significantly large amounts of money.

Brian Colón

Former Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairman and one-time candidate for lieutenant governor Brian Colón leads the pack in fundraising. Most of his $350,000 haul came in large donations from business owners and executives.

The Albuquerque-based mapping technology company Holman’s USA donated more than $14,000 through the company’s president, vice president and sales supervisor.

Colón’s employer, the law firm of Robles, Rael & Anaya, donated almost $5,000. Those contributions include $2,500 from Colón himself, $250 from former Albuquerque City Attorney Bob White and $500 from former Bernalillo County attorney Randy Autio.

Other notable donations to Colón’s campaign include $2,500 from New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and $500 from New Mexico Speaker of the House of Representatives Brian Egolf.

Between last fall and March, Colón spent about 12 percent of his contributions. About $20,000 of the $43,000 spent by the campaign went to Barndollar Associates, a local consulting company.

Dan Lewis

Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis raised more than $100,000 since January and has about $146,000 on hand. As a sitting elected official, Lewis was required under Albuquerque’s election code to file earlier and more frequently than other mayoral candidates. Lewis carried over $90,000 from his last reporting period after spending almost $45,000.

A large amount of Lewis’ money came from local construction companies. Other big donors included local chain restaurants like Weck’s and Wisepies Pizza. Former gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidate Allen Weh and his wife gave Lewis a combined $3,500. Lewis spent about $7,000 on campaign consulting services from Florida-based Majority Strategies.

Deanna Archuleta

Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta started collecting contributions last May and raised more than $140,000 in that time. She and her husband personally gave a combined $10,000 to the campaign. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham gave $4,100 in a personal donation to Archuleta’s campaign. Archuleta’s campaign manager Heather Brewer donated more than $5,000 worth of goods and services to the campaign. Brewer’s husband Gordon Monaghan also donated $5,000 in cash to the campaign. Most of the monetary contributions to Archuleta’s campaign came from relatively small donations, mostly less than $500 each.

So far, Archuleta has spent almost $50,000 to pay for campaign staffers, voter research, campaign fundraising services and banking fees.

Wayne Johnson

Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson raised slightly less than $90,000 since January but saw his campaign buoyed by almost $22,000 worth of goods and services as in-kind contributions. A large portion of Johnson’s contributions came from local businesses.

The owners of Albuquerque’s famous Frontier restaurant personally gave Johnson $3,000 while one of the owners of TLC Plumbing personally contributed the maximum amount of $5,193. The two owners of commercial real estate company Midway Leasing gave Johnson a combined $10,000. In addition to donating to Lewis’ campaign, Weh gave $2,500 to Johnson. Johnson’s campaign expenses were less than $500 since January and included only banking and credit card fees and printed campaign materials.

Tim Keller

New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller is the only publicly-financed mayoral candidate and because of this was limited to how much seed money he could raise. Still, Keller raised almost $40,000 dollars in seed money, which will be deducted from the amount of public funds he receives. The Keller campaign spent almost half of that initial cash on banking fees and consulting costs. About $12,000 of the $17,000 spent went to Rio Strategies for campaigning services.

Other Candidates

Ricardo Chaves, a new addition to the list of candidates, loaned his campaign $300,000, none of which has been spent.

Michelle Garcia Holmes, a retired Albuquerque Police Detective and former chief of staff for former Attorney General Gary King, raised about $6,000, mostly in small contributions. She has spent only about $600.

Stella Padilla raised slightly more than $3,000 but spent about 80 percent of it on office supplies and rent for her campaign office. She has about $600 on hand.

Augustus “Gus” Pedrotty collected almost $2,000 in small contributions, none over $100, mostly from college students. A student, Pedrotty expects to graduate from the University of New Mexico in May. He still has a majority of what he’s raised on hand.

Susan Wheeler-Deichsel received about $1,500 in contributions and spent more than $2,000 on office supplies and social media advertising, leaving her campaign about $700 in the red.

The six other candidates either did not file a finance report or reported no financial activity.

Candidate Lamont Davis told NM Political Report that he expected his campaign manager would file a report soon, but added that his campaign had a “busy political agenda.”

Elan Colello told NM Political Report he is dropping out of the race to support other candidates.

“I am withdrawing to allow stronger candidates to win like Tim Keller and Deanna Archuleta,” Colello said in a text message Sunday morning.

He said he will also work on “grassroots” campaigns aimed at making environmental issues a priority in the city.

The next big date for mayoral candidates is April 28. Candidates must collect 3,000 signatures from registered Albuquerque voters by that date to qualify for the ballot in October.

Keller, Garcia Holmes and Lewis all announced they have already collected enough valid signatures to do so.

Correction: This story previously stated that three businesses donated to Wayne Johnson’s campaign. The owners of these businesses actually donated to Johnson’s campaign personally.