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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Here We Go Again; It's Big Billzilla; Guv Already Near $7 Million In Fundraising; R Damron Barely Registers, Plus: More From The Money Reports 

Big Dollar Bill
We call him Big Bill. But today it's Dollar Bill. Despite a cakewalk of a re-elect, the incumbent Guv appears to be on his way to raising the astonishing sum of $10 million for his campaign, reporting Monday that he has already hit the $6.9 million mark and has over $5.5 million in cash. He raised $8 million in 02'. The news for the R's was equally dramatic, but in the opposite direction. Their Guv nominee-to-be, Santa Fe M.D. J.R. Damron, raised only $285,000 during the past year, and most of that he loaned himself. If you're doing the math, that's about a 24 to 1 spending advantage for Dollar Bill.

The reports covered the period May 1, 2005 through May 1 of this year. Here is the list of filings from the secretary of state. There will be one more report for the month of May on June 1, before the June 6 primary.

The Guv's big contributions came from a wide assortment. Presbyterian Health Plan gave a whopping $75,000. Los Alamitos Racetrack in California put up $10,000. The teachers union, NEA, gave $10.000. Major Friend of Bill Paul Blanchard, operator of the Downs at ABQ, kicked in $5,000. Lovelace Sandia hospital came through with another $10,000 and Texas insurance exec Mark McAndrew did them one better, writing a check for $20,000. Hollywood producer Norman Lear gave $4,000 and Don Henley of Eagles fame, $5,000.

The Guv also received $10 Grand in tobacco money from UST and more from other tobacco interests. Trial lawyer Turner Branch is in for at least $13,000. My Alligators counted at least $125,000 in contributions from booming energy related businesses in Lea county in the SE. Guess Big Bill's tough talk on oil companies hasn't stopped his personal oil gusher. (The Guv's complete report of donations and expenditures is on the sec. of state site linked above.)

STOP THE FIGHT!

Like a stoic soldier, Damron put up $190,000 of his own money to kick-start his campaign, but the overwhelming financial advantage of the Guv had the Alligators pleading for mercy. "Someone stop the fight," yelped one.

And where is Big Bill spending his largesse? Of the $1.2 million in expenditures, $37,500 went for polling and his campaign manager, Amanda Cooper, took in what appears to be about $10,000 a month. The Guv also spent well over $20,000 for an opposition research outfit, apparently to look into Damron's background. Maybe they found something, but I'm still looking for a heartbeat.

The Guv also wrote nearly $5,000 in checks to ABQ private investigator and onetime state House hopeful Michael Corwin. Did he find J.R? Of course, Damron could turn the tables and start connecting the dots between campaign contributions received and legislation introduced or passed. Oh, I forgot. One has nothing to do with the other. Sorry.

Here's a fun one. The NM Dental Association PAC gave Big Bill $14,000. That association's executive is none other than ABQ GOP State Senator Kent Cravens. Politics can be an awkward dance, Kent.

ATTORNEY GENERAL


The hotly contested three way race for the Dem nod for attorney general had the trio reporting respectable totals with Santa Fe's Geno Zamora topping the list for the twelve months raising over $430,000. Gary King recevied $300,000 and prosecutor Lem Martinez, $200,000. Zamora's report revealed his close ties to many of the same donors who have been backers of Big Bill.

Martinez's camp tried to slip Zamora up by claiming he did not return a $5,000 donation from securities broker Guy Riordan who was implicated in the Treasurer scandal by ex-treasurer Michael Montoya. But Zamora said Martinez had jumped the gun and that the money had been donated to the NM Coalition Against Domestic Violence and was clearly listed on the report. Martinez's campaign issued a retraction. Riordan asserts his innocence.

Gary King's camp had computer trouble and will file late, but we got the totals, along with this tidbit--their latest poll in the AG's race which, predictably enough, has him well ahead. But so did a poll released by Zamora a month or so ago and King remains the man to beat. King will start his TV ads this week. Lem and Geno are already up.

BATTLE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS


That heavyweight battle for Dem land commissioner seems close and the finance reports reflect that. Ray Powell has raised $98,000, but $45,000 of that was a loan. He has $69,000 in cash. Jim Baca raised about $77,000 and has $29,000 in cash. It will be interesting to see if the ex land bosses buy TV.

Meanwhile, incumbent R Land Commissioner Pat Lyons reports raising over $433,000. And he will need that and more to do a repeat in the seat traditionally held by the Dems.

SECRETARY STATE

Mary Herrera and Stephanie Gonzales each have raised $43,000 in the battle for the Dem nod for secretary of state, but Stephanie loaned herself most of hers while Mary did not. Letitia Montoya topped the list with $61,000, but like Stephanie, most came from her own pocket. Shirley Hooper came in with $25,000, but only about $5,000 out of her own pocket.

BOTTOM LINES

To his credit, the Guv released a complete list of his contributions and expenditures in a form we can let you browse. The NM secretary of state's office was only able to post limited info from the dozens of candidates required to file Monday because of computer problems. When, oh when, will Mr. & Mrs. New Mexico get the services they are paying for?....

Lieutenant Guv Diane Denish has said she would try to raise a million bucks for her re-elect and she has, minus the $10,000 she received from stockbroker Riordan and gave to charity. GOP Light Guv candidate Sue Wilson Beffert raised about $23,000.

And we'll pick thru a few of the more interesting reports and update you tomorrow. In the meantime, if you run into Big Bill the Starbucks is definitely on him.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2006
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