News Column

In two key House contests, Dems ahead in race for cash

July 9, 2014

By Steve Terrell, The Santa Fe New Mexican

July 09--In two hotly contested state House races in the Santa Fe area, the Democratic candidates are outraising their Republican rivals, the latest campaign finance reports show.

Stephanie Garcia Richard, a Los Alamos Democrat who is completing her first term in the Legislature, representing House District 43, reported having more than $70,000 in the bank. Meanwhile, her Republican opponent, Geoffrey Rodgers, had only $6,446, according to his report filed last week with the Secretary of State's Office.

Republican Vickie Perea of Belen, who was appointed to represent District 50 by Gov. Susana Martinez, had more than $34,000 cash on hand. Her Democratic opponent, Matthew McQueen of Galisteo, had nearly $49,000.

These two districts are among 10 statewide that both parties are watching closely. Republicans are making an effort to gain control of the House for the first time in more than 60 years. Democrats control the House by a shaky 37-33 margin.

District 43, which includes Los Alamos County and parts of Santa Fe and Sandoval counties, was represented for 20 years by Republican Rep. Jeanette Wallace, who died in 2011. Garcia Richard won the seat in 2012 by a slim margin over Republican Jim Hall, whom Martinez had appointed to fill out Wallace's term.

The latest campaign finance reports show Garcia Richard has raised $13,801 since the June primary. Her biggest contributors in this report were a Democratic political action committee called the New Mexico House Majority Fund, which gave $5,000; the Pueblo of Isleta, which contributed $2,000; Emily's List, a national PAC that supports female candidates, which gave $1,000; and Dr. Curtis Boyd of Albuquerque, who gave $1,000.

Garcia Richard spent $6,018 in that period. The biggest chunk was $4,500 for campaign strategist Tarin Nix.

Republican Rodgers, who is chairman of the Los Alamos County Council, raised $3,925 in June and spent $2,634. His biggest contributors in last week's reports were the Chaves County Republican Central Committee, which gave $1,550, and Rep. James White, R-Albuquerque, who gave $1,000. White is not seeking re-election this year.

Rodgers' biggest expenditures were $1,741 paid to Red Tag Strategies for political mailings and $705 for radio ads.

In District 50, Perea was appointed to take the place of freshman Rep. Stephen Easley of Eldorado, a Democrat who died unexpectedly last year. District 50 includes part of southeastern Santa Fe County, as well as parts of Bernalillo, Torrance and Valencia counties.

McQueen reported he had raised $6,079 and spent $5,606 since the primary. His major contributor in the last report was Forward NM PAC, which gave him $2,500.

The biggest share of his spending went for political consultants: $3,250 to Emily Thomas of Albuquerque and $2,100 to Joy Pesonen of Santa Fe.

Incumbent Perea said she raised $4,245 and spent $494 in June. As was the case with Rodgers, her major donors were the Chavez County Republican Central Committee ($1,500) and Rep. White ($1,000.)

In previous campaign finance reports, both Perea and Rodgers listed contributors they had in common. Both Republicans reported $4,800 contributions from the Builders Trust of New Mexico.

Many of their contributors were oil companies that traditionally give to GOP candidates, including Devon Energy of Oklahoma City ($4,800 to Perea, $2,400 to Rodgers) and Occidental of Dallas ($2,000 for Rodgers, $1,000 for Perea).

Perea also had contributions from other oil and gas interests: Mack Energy of Artesia ($3,050), Roswell oilman Harvey Yates ($2,500) and The Jalapeno Corp. ($2,000).

One of Rodgers' biggest contributors in previous reports was a political action committee headed by former Rep. David Doyle, R-Rio Rancho, called New Mexico Forward, which gave him $4,000.

Both Garcia Richard and McQueen have benefited from a number of Democratic political committees and PACs that traditionally have contributed to Democrats. Most of these committees get their funding from national Democratic Party groups like the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, unions, trial lawyers and legislative campaigns.

The Committee on Individual Responsibility, a trial lawyer's group, gave $5,200 to both candidates.

New Mexico Freedom gave Garcia Richard$5,000 and McQueen $1,000.

House Speaker Kenny Martinez'sLeadership Fund has given McQueen $5,200 and Garcia Richard$3,350.

Garcia Richard has received contributions from Democratic committees including Forward NM PAC ($5,200), Viva New Mexico PAC ($5,000) and Our New Mexico ($1,500). She also got a $2,400 contribution from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

McQueen has received $5,000 contributions from the New Mexico Defense Fund and Rick Miera Leadership PAC. Rep. Miera, D-Albuquerque, is the House majority leader and is not seeking re-election.

Another PAC supporting McQueen -- contributing $1,500 -- is A Strong New Mexico PAC.

McQueen loaned himself $10,000 in February. His father, Alan McQueen, and stepmother, Maria McQueen, both of Long Beach, Calif., gave his campaign $4,800 each.

Contact Steve Terrell at sterrell@sfnewmexican.com. Read his political blog at www.santafenewmexican.com/news/blogs/politics.

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(c)2014 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.)

Visit The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.) at www.santafenewmexican.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Santa Fe New Mexican, The (NM)


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