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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Following Up On Filing Day; Readers And Operatives Weigh In, Plus: Apo's Fight Against Joe's Petitions Headed Back To Court 

The political operatives and Alligators have been busy mulling over the finance reports filed by the candidates this week and they have some filing day follow-up. . .

We pointed out that Dem land commissioner candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard has come in light in the cash count when compared to rivals Garrett VeneKlasen and George Munoz. Tarin Nix spins it for Stephanie:

Munoz has loaned himself everything but 48k. Garcia Richard has raised more in half the time. Loaning yourself 200k isn't proving viability with voters. VeneKlasen has raised a good amount and spent it on nothing. $131,000 wasted on consulting fees. None on advertising...not enough left for TV. Garcia Richard will win because we spend our funds correctly. Best ad of the year....40,000 door knocks...thousands in targeted advertising...with way more to come.

VeneKlasen, with $82,000 in cash and still raising money, may very well have enough for a TV buy in the campaign's final weeks whereas Garcia Richard with only $32,000 might be the one to find herself in the dark. But then there are those third party groups that sometimes emerge to help candidates out.

A reader poring over the reports from DC points out we came in low when we said Michelle Lujan Grisham's polling expenditures for the last six months were $72,000. Our reader notes she has spent $158,300 on polling. Her pollster is Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner which has a lot of experience in the state and they obviously get paid quite well for that.

In the Dem race for lieutenant governor we noted Dona Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrey had a solid six months by raising $78,000. However, we should point out that  $25,000 of that was a loan Garrett made to himself.

And how about Hector? We didn't get into his financial report Tuesday because we concentrated on the contested races and Dem Attorney General Balderas has no primary opposition. But it's worth pointing out that he now has $891,000 in cash in his account. That's 20 times more than his Republican opponent Michael Hendricks who has $44,000 in cash on hand. Blair Dunn, the Liberation Party candidate for AG, reports having $7,500.

APO VS. JOE

After his first effort to remove Joe Cervantes from the June 5 primary ballot failed, Guv hopeful Jeff Apodaca will make a last stand. His challenge to Cervantes' petition signatures was thrown out by a District Court judge on a technicality. Apodaca attorney Cate Stetson sets the stage for round two:

We have found case law that opposes the judge's dismissal and filed a motion for reconsideration in the District Court. The case he cited was not applicable to the facts. Also, we have other cases in New Mexico by the federal court and by New Mexico courts that. . . say the Attorney General does not need to be served notice by the party making a petition challenge. The fact that the attorney general appeared in court and entered his appearance on the record, and participated in the writing of the order kind of begs the question in my mind; however the motion includes this information and there is still time to go through the petition signatures if the court wants.

It is an uphill battle in New Mexico to challenge petition signatures, as challenges are disfavored by the courts due to our policy of encouraging as many people as possible to exercise their right to participate in choosing their political representatives. However, perhaps that should be balanced against the specter of blindly accepting duplicate signatures, signatures of deceased people, signatures of people from another party, signatures that are not made by the person whose name is signed, and incomplete signatures and registration information. 

The Cervantes campaign denies he has submitted bad signatures.

Veteran consultant Steve Cabiedes, who has specialized in petition gathering for several decades and who is not working on any Governor campaign, was critical of the decision to throw Apodaca's case out simply because the attorney general had not been officialy served notice of the challenge:

What are we to think? We've had petition challenges for years brought before the courts and the vast majority without notifying the AG of the complaints. The secretary of state does that. Are we to assume all those candidates who did not notify the AG with their challenges should have had them thrown out?

MY BOTTOM LINES

There will be some candidates this year who won't have the headache of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver  says:

(My office) has certified candidates for the Public Regulation Commission (PRC) and statewide judicial seats to receive public financing to fund their campaigns in the 2018 election cycle.

The full list of those candidates and how much public money they will receive can be found here.

Peter St. Cyr, a veteran news reporter and most recently the executive director of the NM Foundation for Open Government, has a new gig. He's the new public information officer for GOP State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn. Kristin Haase has left the post to become assistant to for Dem Public Regulation Commissioner Sandy Jones.

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