Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Hot Summer On The Campaign Trail: Fundraising Surprises In ABQ Mayoral And Congressional Contests Rattle Contestants  

It's a hot summer on the campaign trail. Let's start with that growing hotter-by-the-day ABQ mayoral race. . .

Bad news for Dan Lewis. The GOP city councilor can't shake fellow R mayoral hopeful and BernCo Commissioner Wayne Johnson who surprised with a campaign report showing he raised $122,000 in the last three month reporting period and now has $187,000 in cash on hand. That pretty much ensures Johnson will have a TV buy and mail campaign for the final stretch leading to the October 3 election.

(All mayoral campaign finance reports here).

In his personal appearances Johnson has been running an aggressive attack campaign against Lewis. The latest insider polling still has Lewis holding on to second place. His chances to make a two person run-off--which will happen if no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote--still seem good. But Lewis will have to look behind him as he runs, keeping track of Johnson's position.

Lewis has $192,000 in the bank, only a few thousand more than Republican rival Johnson. But Lewis is thought to have a better shot at raising more. He paid longtime fund-raiser Terri Baird nearly $30,000 in the latest reporting period.

Then there's 81 year old businessman and Republican Ricardo Chaves. Can he catch fire? He has the kindling. Chavez has stoked his campaign kitty with another $200,000. That's on top of the initial $300,000 he anted up. He reports $374,000 in cash on hand, second only to Brian Colon.

Chaves is the first mayor wannabe to do a mass mailing. It hit last week and we have it posted here today.


There are no signs yet that the Governor's political machine is in on the Johnson effort, according to the finance reports filed last week with the city. He has been using veteran GOP fundraiser Ann Ekern to help him raise his cash. She has not been associated with Martinez machine leader Jay McCleskey.


Brian Colón's reputation for being an able fund-raiser was enhanced when he again zipped past the field by raising $263,000 in the past three months. The other good news for Colón--who polling shows running a distant third behind Dem Tim Keller and Lewis--is that he has hardly spent any of that cash. He has $513, 000 cash on hand. If he can come with a message that resonates--something that has eluded him thus far--his supporters believe that money could help him quickly close the gap.


Keller opted for public financing and he hasn't been shy about spending it. He has already burned through $132,000 of the $342,000 the city deposited into his account. The state auditor has coughed up over $100,000 of that for consulting and campaign salaries. He is being consulted by Alan Packman's firm which has emerged in recent years as a near ubiquitous presence on Democratic campaigns.

Keller is going to need every penny that independent committee being formed on his behalf plans on raising. Right now it has a paltry $2,000 in its account. But that is expected to change. If for some reason the committee falls short or its media is ineffective, early frontrunner Keller could find himself threatened by Colón and Lewis because his own campaign account is headed lower.


Chaves mailer (click to read)
Some entertaining entries from the finance reports. Former NM Democratic Party Chairman and attorney Sam Bregman donated $250 to none other than Republican Dan Lewis. Bregman is also a former ABQ city councilor. . .

Another lawyer and A former GOP state senator--Lisa Torraco--came with $1,000 for Republican Wayne Johnson. . .

Former GOP US Senator Jack Schmitt ponied up $2,000 for Johnson who is more conservative than Lewis. . . And who says the news media is a bunch of liberals? Former TV news anchor Carla Aragon raised the flag for Johnson with a $350 donation. . .

He may know something you and me don't because what money Brian Colón spent went largely for a $28,000 poll. Do tell, Brian. . . Lewis is paying the campaign manager he brought in from out of state--Stewart Bragg--$6,000 a month, according to the reports. . .

And here's one of the eyebrow raisers from the reports. Former Dem state Senator and now lobbyist Richard Romero gave $150 to Wayne Johnson. Romero has been scorned in some Democratic circles ever since 2009 when Romero, then-Dem Mayor Martin Chavez and R Richard Berry duked it out for the mayoral chair. Berry went on to win handily and many Dems hold Romero accountable for the loss, saying he split the Democratic vote. . .


There will be major mayoral action in ABQ tonight as all the candidates are expected at a League of Women Voters/ABQ Tea Party sponsored forum. It will be at the UNM Continuing Education Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m.


An early shake-up in the seven way Dem race for the ABQ congressional seat. The most "progressive" candidate in the bunch came with a surprisingly weak money report.

ABQ City Councilor Pat Davis, who heads the advocacy group ProgressNowNM and who is thought to have access to national political support, only raised $68,000 in the most recent quarter. That was far surpassed by attorney Antoinette Sedillo Lopez who came with $201,000 and former Dem Party Chair Deb Haaland who raised $150,000 but says she only solicited funds for two of the three months,

The early knockdown of Davis raises the question of whether he can get off the canvass. His next report will be watched for signs of recovery and if the well-known progressive doesn't show progress, his foes will pounce.

For Sedillo Lopez the question going forward is whether she can keep up her fundraising pace. Her first quarter is dominated by contributions from fellow law professors and attorneys from here and across the nation. Former NM AG Patrica Madrid came with $1,000 as did Cynthia Hall, an attorney who serves on the state Public Regulation Commission. Lopez loaned herself $8,400 and her son donated $5,400.


Something a bit historic is happening in the early going in the Dem race for Congress. Large sums of money from Native America tribes and pueblos here and outside the state is starting to flow to Haaland, who would be the first Native American woman ever elected to the US House.

There have been questions about the tribes coming through for her, but that seems put to rest based on an examaination of her first finance report. Take a look:

NM's Santo Domingo Pueblo made one of the many $2,700 Indian Country primary contributions that flowed to Haaland, the maximum allowed by law. Matching that amount were the Washginton state tribes Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottowa And Chippewa Indians and the Swinomiosh Tribal Community. Back here, Isleta Pueblo gave her $2,700 as did the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in Claifornia.

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