June 1, 2018

Dem gubernatorial candidates spend big as election day nears

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.

Former media executive Jeff Apodaca spent over $250,000 and had just over $80,000 cash on hand. His fundraising included $12,500 in loans.

Cervantes has largely self-funded his run for governor, loaning his campaign over $2 million, while Apodaca has loaned his campaign over $460,000.

Steve Pearce, the lone Republican in the race, spent less than the Democrats, but still hit six figures with $106,000 in spending. He will have the cash on hand lead headed into the general election, as he ended the campaign finance period with $1.9 million in the bank.

Commissioner of Public Lands

In the Democratic primary for State Land Commissioner, finance reports show how much money the oil and gas industry is spending to oppose two of the Democratic candidates.

The Super PAC NM Strong received contributions from oil and gas giants Chevron and Mack Energy, and then paid Revolution Media Group for TV, online and direct mail ads.

The group NM Prosperity, meanwhile, received $50,000 from Mack Energy and paid McCleskey Media Strategies for campaign efforts. The president of the group is Jay McCleskey, Gov. Susana Martinez’s political advisor.

The Conservation Voters New Mexico Action Fund endorsed VeneKlasen.

State Sen. George Muñoz raised over $100,000 and spent over $250,000, the most of any non-gubernatorial candidate in the period. Muñoz still has $55,000 cash on hand.

Garrett VeneKlasen, who spent over $140,000, finished with $30,000 cash on hand, while state Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard spent nearly $60,000 and finished with $21,00 in campaign cash.

Republican Pat Lyons, a former State Land Commissioner, finished the period with nearly $91,000 in campaign cash and has no opponent in the party’s primary.

Other statewide races

The other statewide races saw less last-minute spending and fundraising compared to those two races. In the race for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, Billy Garrett raised the most money, over $75,000, almost all in in loans. He spent $95,000. Howie Morales spent $80,000 and raised $28,000. Both have over $12,000 cash on hand.

Former House Majority Leader Rick Miera finished with $17,000 cash on hand after spending $20,000.

Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes is unopposed in the primary and has over $31,000 cash on hand.

For State Auditor, Brian Colón continued to lead in the cash race for Democrats, spending over $125,000 and finishing the period with $31,000 cash on hand. State Rep. Bill McCamley, meanwhile, spent $25,000 and has less than $200 cash on hand.

No other statewide race has contested primaries.

The next campaign finance report is due well after the primaries, making this the last glimpse into candidates’ finances before polls close next Tuesday.