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