News Column

Campaign reports: Martinez continues to draw big bucks; Dems lag

May 30, 2014

By Steve Terrell, The Santa Fe New Mexican

May 30--Republican Gov. Susana Martinez continues her commanding lead in campaign fundraising, dwarfing the totals of the five Democrats who want to replace her.

According to campaign finance reports filed Thursday with the Secretary of State's Office, the incumbent reported raising $403,307 in the last three weeks. Though she is unopposed in next Tuesday's primary, Martinez reported she had spent $325,536 during that period.

And perhaps most troubling of all for Democrats, she has just shy of $4.3 million left in the bank -- more than 10 times the combined amount of all the Democrats running for governor.

The reports filed Thursday are the last batch due before the June 3 primary. Candidates for all state and county offices were required to submit financial reports.

Among the Democrats, Gary King, the state attorney general, basically became a self-funding candidate. He raised $235,963 the last period, but $195,400 was a loan to himself. King spent $207,785 during the past three weeks and reported $75,518 still in the bank. While King has led in the few polls taken in the Democratic contest, his fundraising has lagged.

Alan Webber reported raising $180,483. He has spent $474,575 and still has $161,795 cash on hand. Earlier in the campaign, Webber and his wife contributed or loaned his campaign more than $450,00. But in the last two reports, all his money was contributed by others.

Perhaps the only real surprise in the latest reports was Lawrence Rael's surprisingly low fundraising figures. Rael raised $42,792, spent $142,862, and had $109,486 cash left in his treasury.

The other two Democratic candidates lagged even further behind. State Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City raised $25,005, spent $44,581 and had $25,134 cash on hand.

State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, still is in last place as far as finances go. She raised $11,950 in the last reporting period. Lopez spent $6,149 and has $19,757 left in the bank.

Martinez, who has made several out-of-state fundraising trips in recent months, continued to rack up big dollar donors.

Several gave her the maximum allowed, which is $10,400 ($5,200 for the primary and $5,200 for the general election.)

These included the political committee of U.S. Sen. Orin Hatch, R-Utah; the Republican Party of San Diego County; Thomas Jordan, the CEO of a Healdsburg, Calif., winery. (The Jordan Winery contributed another $5,057); Larry Mizel of Denver, the CEO of a homebuilding company; Willis Johnson of Franklin, Tenn., the founder and board chairman of Copart, an auto auction company.

Joyce Connor, a retiree in Artesia, gave Martinez $10,200, while her husband, Clarence Connor, who also listed his occupation as retired, gave another $5,200. Me-Tex Oil & Gas of Hobbs gave $10,000.

Another $5,200 donation came from Tanya Snyder, the wife of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and a national spokeswoman for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Haley Barbour, a former Mississippi governor and onetime chairman of the Republican National Committee, contributed $1,000 to Martinez.

Among Martinez's biggest expenses were buying television and radio time for political ads. She spent a total of $179,057 on media buys, which she purchased through her campaign consultant, Jay McCleskey.

She also spent $15,500 on polling by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican outfit. McCleskey's wife, Nicole McCleskey, is a partner in that company.

Top donors to Webber included Daniel and Sonnett McKinnon of Sioux Falls, S.D., who each gave $5,200. Daniel McKinnon is the son of former New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Dan McKinnon and has been an executive with a New York-based investment firm, The Associated Press reported.

Others who gave Webber $5,200 were John Doerr, a billionaire venture capitalist from San Carlos, Calif., and Barrett Toan of Santa Fe, a former president and CEO of Express Scripts.

Webber, along with King and Rael, are the only Democrats to run television ads in the gubernatorial primary. Webber spent $344,060 -- the bulk of his expenditures -- on media buys through a company called GMMB, a Washington, D.C., advertising company. The campaign also paid GMMB another $25,000 in consulting fees.

King's top contributors were Albuquerque lawyers Turner and Margaret Branch, who gave a total of $10,200. He also received $5,000 from Sourcepoint, a company based in the Virgin Islands that leases slot machines to casinos. King's father, former Gov. Bruce King, was a major opponent of gambling in his last term as governor.

The candidate also got $5,000 from Sigma Technologies of Mission, Kan.

King received $250 from Eric Serna, a former state Corporation Commission member and one-time state insurance superintendent.

King's campaign reported spending $110,000 for a television commercial that began airing last week, through Canal Partners Media of Marrietta, Ga.

Rael's largest donor was Bill Armstrong, a Roswell retiree who gave $3,000. Anselmo Valerio, a Taos-area builder, gave Rael $2,500.

Rael spent a total of $80,537 om advertising through Brown Inc., a Santa Fe company.

Morales' largest contributor was the American Federation of Teachers-New Mexico, a union that has endorsed him and gave him $5,200.

Lopez's largest contributor was her own state Senate campaign committee, which threw in $4,000.

Contact Steve Terrell at Read his political blog at


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Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, The (NM)

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