Finance reports reveal which races are hot


The Roundhouse in Santa Fe (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

The campaign finance reports filed Monday help reveal which statewide races are hot – and which are not.


At the top of the “hot” list, obviously, is the gubernatorial race. It appears from the reports that Republican Susana Martinez has the momentum – which matches recent polling showing her ahead.

Martinez raised just over $2 million in the last reporting period, compared to Democrat Diane Denish’s fundraising of just under $800,000. Martinez spent less than Denish – she spent almost $1.3 million to Denish’s almost $1.7 million. And Martinez largely closed the on-hand cash gap she had against an opponent who has been raising money for years. Martinez ended the reporting period with just over $1 million in the bank to Denish’s $1.3 million.

Martinez was propelled in part by huge donations and lots of out-of-state money. Denish seized on that, hitting Martinez in a news release for getting 52 percent of her money from out-of-state donors. That included $500,000 from the Republican Governors Association, $200,000 from Foster Friess of Wyoming and $100,000 from B. Hughes of California.

But it’s the out-of-state money that reveals the energy that’s helping propel Martinez in this race. Nationally, the GOP is excited about Martinez’s candidacy. They want to be able to say that they, not the Dems, elected the first female Hispanic governor in America. They’re wondering if Martinez has national potential. And they want to pick up a governorship in an important swing state as we head into redistricting.

Martinez has used that money to effectively gain the support of significant numbers of independent and Democratic voters. With the money game nearly even, and Martinez leading in the polls, Martinez appears to have the advantage over Denish heading into the final stretch of the race.

Other hot races

The land commissioner race is also hot. Finance reports show that Republican Matt Rush is leading the money game. He raised $125,000 to Democrat Ray Powell’s $54,000. Rush spent more than $39,000 and ended the reporting period with about $123,000 on hand, his finance report shows. Powell spent $22,000 and ended the reporting period with about $71,000 on hand, according to his finance report.


Either candidate could win this race. But heading into the final stretch, Rush has more money to spread his message. Powell needs to make up the fundraising gap.

In the secretary of state race, Democrat Mary Herrera ended the reporting period with more cash on hand than Republican Dianna Duran – with about $74,000 to Duran’s $36,000.

In the last reporting period, Duran outraised Herrera by a few hundred dollars – both came in around $29,000. Duran, according to her finance report, spent $13,000 to the almost $6,000 Herrera reported spending on her finance report.

Duran is aided by lots of free media – all the negative attention Herrera has received because of scandal in her office. But Herrera has more money to spend in the final weeks. Duran needs to make up the fundraising gap. Even if she doesn’t, however, she has a chance of winning.

Could be hot, but isn’t quite there yet

The attorney general race remains one that could be hot if Republican Matt Chandler were raising more money. He has a message that’s resonating with those who hear it, but he doesn’t yet have the money to spread it far enough to win this race.

Democrat Gary King raised about $273,000, including a $100,000 contribution from the Democratic Attorneys General Association, according to his finance report. That’s more than twice the approximately $113,000 that Chandler reported. King spent about $78,000 in the last reporting period to Chandler’s $72,000, and King had a whopping $340,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period to Chandler’s $166,000.

To top it off, King has had the personal resources in the past to pump extra money into his campaign when needed. Chandler needs to raise more cash if he wants to win this race – but if he does, King may be able to match it with a personal contribution to his campaign.

There may be a path to victory for Chandler in this race, but he hasn’t yet found it. And we’re getting close to the end.

Not so hot

In the state treasurer race, Democrat James B. Lewis raised just over $14,000, spent almost $32,000 and ended the reporting period with almost $13,000 on hand, according to his report. Republican Jim Schoonover raised and spent less than $3,000 and ended the period with $540.39 on hand, according to his report.

And in the state auditor race, Democrat Hector Balderas raised almost $14,000, spent just over $3,000 and ended the period with more than $140,000 on hand, according to his report. Republican Errol Chavez still hasn’t filed a report, though he was legally required to do so by Monday.

Asked via e-mail why he hadn’t filed his report, Chavez responded with this:

“Everything is fine. Doctors appointments and catchin up on my domestic responsibilities in las Cruces caused me to run out of time”

He hasn’t responded to a follow-up e-mail asking when he’s going to file his report. As of the last report, however, he had only raised a few thousand dollars for his campaign.

The only thing Schoonover and Chavez have going for them right now is the national mood that favors the GOP. But that won’t be enough to propel them to victory over strong Democratic candidates.

4 thoughts on “Finance reports reveal which races are hot

  1. Carmen,

    Check out the relationship between Gary King and Richardson\Denish. It’s a triangle of massive contributions back and forth.

    King has received over $55,000 in campaign contributions from the two over the last four years.

    I am not sure how Chandler and Martinez are tied together other than they are both prosecutors that claim to hold officials accountable. I am voting for Martinez, Chandler, and Duran!

  2. Well great strategist Harvey Yates has some problems doesn’t he? I guess he hasn’t figured out that he’s supposed to find GOOD candidates. These Errol Chavez and Jim Schoonover guys are a little weird.

    Why hasn’t there been any reporting on the Lt. Governor fundraising? I noticed that John Sanchez is raising money. Why is he doing that, Heath? Is he trying to pay back the debt he incurred by buying the Lt. Governor’s race?

    The only Republicans I think I’m voting for this year are Duran and Rush. Chandler bothers me because of his ties to Martinez. I’m just not going to cast a vote in the other races.

  3. Ramirez I completely agree! The fact that the Republican party recruits people just to have some running in the race makes us look bad yet we do it every election cycle. If we don’t have anyone good to run then we need to begin finding someone who maybe in a few years could run for the post and represent us as Republicans well and bring integrity to the different offices. Running for the sake of running needs to stop!!

  4. I have not been impressed by Errol Chavez in the least; or Jim Schoonover. Chavez has very little appeal as a candidate, and seems like he simply lacks the energy to be a state auditor. But I have seen Chavez around the state, I’ll give him some credit. I haven’t seen much of Balderas, but he is appealing and has done a good job. Schoonover has not been seen anywhere, has no money and his opponent Treasurer Lewis has been running a campaign like he was fighting for his political life. I give Lewis much credit.

    As for Duran, she really needs to capitalize on Herrera’s errors and raise money; the Secretary of State’s office can be a pivotal race that can affect elections for years to come, especially with the Presidential Election in 2012. We need someone that is competent in office that can administer fair elections. Herrera has lost the trust of many New Mexicans.