Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Range of Domenici Wealth Revealed: Her Worth Could Be Near $100 Million Or $21 Million On Low End; How Much Will Go To Her Senate Race? Dems Howl: "We Want An Election Not An Auction"; Our Exclusive Deep Dive Into The Monied World Of A Would-Be Senator  

Nella Domenici
New Mexico has not seen a candidate with this kind of money in the modern era. Now the question is how much of the vast personal fortune of Nella Domenici and husband Patrick McDonough will the state see deployed in her campaign against Democratic US Senator Martin Heinrich and to what effect?

In her US Senate candidate financial disclosure report this week Domenici, 63, and making her first bid for elective office, was required to give only a broad range of her personal wealth. But even the low end of that range at $21 million puts her in rarefied air in a place where simple millionaires are as rare as a crime-free ABQ weekend.

On the high end of the range--$94 million--even the East Coast circles where Domenici accumulated her wealth as an investment banker and financial chief for a giant hedge fund, would win her a nod of approval. 

(Her full disclosure statement is here. Highlights to follow below.)

But in the public arena she is walking on egg shells--as gold-plated as they may be--as she tries to assure everyday voters that she is one of them--or at least used to be--until accumulating a fortune that is akin to hitting a nice-sized Powerball.

Martin Heinrich, one of the least wealthy of the 100 US Senators, must be terrified and elated at the same time. Terrified that Domenici could flood the zone with cash, move the polling numbers and get their race in play in a Democratic state. Elated because that same wealth gives him a meaty issue to contrast himself with Domenici in one of the poorest states in the nation. 

Domenici, the daughter of the late GOP US Senator Pete Domenici who accumulated power but not money during his long carreer, has already opened her checkbook to the tune of $500,000 to kick-start her campaign, a mere pittance for her. The prospect of her risking a backlash and coming with several million is more conceivable now that we know she could be closing in on centi-millionaire status.

Heinrich reports $4 million in cash hand in his latest report which sounded like a hefty bundle but now seems oddly vulnerable. 

Domenici is like Santa Claus with a huge bundle of gifts thrown over her shoulder. How many of them will she put under her tree? 


The state Dems had this to say:

Nella Domenici and her husband confirms the former hedge fund manager is worth up to an eye-popping $94 million, raising even more concerns about her recent return to the state to run for political office.  Nella may have parachuted back into the state to run for office, but New Mexicans aren’t buying what she’s selling. We want an election, not an auction.


Where did all that money come from and where is it now? We delved into her financial disclosure to bring you details and analysis.

--Her investment in True North Capital Advisors in Nashville, whose founder is husband Patrick McDonough, is put at $5 million to $25 million. The firm provides strategic advice to major business clients.

Analysis: So much for McDonough being a "kept man."

--Her New York City Fifth Avenue apartment is assigned a worth of anywhere from $5 million to $25 million.

Analysis: Big Apple real estate listings point to the higher figure.

--The couple's Stamford, CT home is also valued in the disclosure at $5 million to $25 million. 

She also two mortgages--one for $5 million to $25 million and another for $1 million to $5 million. The couple also own a Santa Fe home. 

Analysis: Yes, there is an irony that homelessness is a major issue against that backdrop.

--She reports having $1 million to $5 million in stock in Bank of America.

Analysis: The stock has doubled in value since 2016 so if she's a long-term holder this is a winner.

--She reports holdings of $2 million to $10 million in two Neuberger Berman stock mutual funds. A Merrill Lynch mutual fund is valued at $1 million to $5 million.

Analysis: The stock market has been the place to be the last decade. And even if the future is not as bright, she's not going to be hurting,

--She reports owning United Health stock valued at $500,000 to $1 million.

Analysis: Another long-term market winner

--Her Morgan Stanley employment plan is valued at $1 million to $5 million 

Analysis: Earn a lot, save a lot.  


--Stock in Dataminr, a nonpublic stock of an artificial intelligence company. Her holdings are valued at $1 million to $5 million.

Analysis: When you're wealthy you're on the inside of companies with nonpublic stock that could explode in value.

--She has an investment in Element US, a Florida recyclable waste company valued from $1 million to $5 million.

Analysis: Google it and get nothing--unless you're worth north of $20 million. 

--Domenici pulled down about $850,000 in earned income in 2023 much of which came from the financial asset management firm AllianceBernstein where she sits on the board of directors.

Analysis: Everyone needs some walking around money.

In a news release Domenici's campaign says:

In the past seven years Domenici and McDonough have donated more than $1 million to charities and other causes, nearly half of that donated to Excellent Schools New Mexico.

That works out to about $140,000 a year in charitable donations and Democrats are already questioning whether that level of charity is commensurate with her striking wealth. 


Explaining her wealth, her campaign says:

Nella has broken barriers for women in business and has been incredibly successful. She and Pat have been blessed, and are committed to giving back to New Mexico and working every day to give New Mexico families the opportunities they had to achieve their own versions of the American Dream.

Well, this is the American Dream on steroids and in an age of historic income inequality might be dubbed a nightmare by her populist detractors.

But we haven't seen wealthy candidates punished for their status. Former GOP Governor Gary Johnson was worth several million and spent some of it like Domenici to start his campaign. Of course, he was not in her league financially. 

Former Gov. Bruce King had millions in land holdings but never did use much of it for political purposes and there was little resentment of his wealth. But he made his money in New Mexico--not New York.

Around the nation this cycle there seem to be more rich candidates. That includes David McCormick, Domenici's former colleague at the Bridgewater hedge fund, the world's largest. He's spending big while running as a Republican for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

If their campaigns don't work out at least Nella and David can still exchange stock tips when they meet up. 

This is the Home of New Mexico Politics.  

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