By wide margins, Republican incumbent Gov. Susana Martinez continued to raise and spend more campaign money than all of her would-be Democratic opponents, according to the finance reports filed Monday with the Secretary of State’s Office.
In the second round of reports for this primary season, Martinez said she had raised more than $561,500 since early April. The governor spent nearly that much — about $552,500 — mostly for television ads. That leaves her campaign with more than $4.2 million in the bank.
Martinez raised more than twice the amount reported by all of the Democrats put together. Even before Monday’s reports, the incumbent’s huge fundraising edge was one reason the Democratic Governors Association decided against pumping money into the New Mexico governor’s race this year.
Alan Webber, a retired magazine publisher who lives in Santa Fe, continues to lead his rivals in fundraising. He reported taking in just under $115,700 in the past month. Of that, Webber said he spent spent about $99,800, leaving him with nearly $455,900 in cash on hand. Among his contributors was Robert Shilling, a former state police chief who was appointed by Martinez.
Longtime civil servant Lawrence Rael reported raising about $58,000 in the last month. He spent $77,240 and has about $209,600 in cash on hand.
State Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, took in $22,012 in contributions for his gubernatorial run, spent just under $27,300 and has a little over $44,700 in the bank.
Coming in even further behind, Attorney General Gary King reported he had raised $12,270 since early April and spent about $53,100 during that period. He has $48,340 in the bank.
And bringing up the rear, state Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, raised about $10,230 this period, spent a little under $15,600 and has about $13,950 cash on hand.
Martinez listed in Monday’s report at least eight contributors who gave $10,400, the maximum amount allowed by state law. Those donors included the Builders Trust of New Mexico; New Mexico Home Builders Political Action Fund; Energy Solutions of Salt Lake City, which, according to the Associated Press, has transported plutonium-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory; Robert Miller, a gaming industry entrepreneur from Hinsdale, Ill.; Miller’s wife, Amanda Miller; Dan Perry, a lawyer at Law & Mineral Management in Santa Fe; Charlene Hamilton of Worland, N.Y., who described herself as a “homemaker”; and Rockland Lawrence, who owns Nicor, an Albuquerque electrical equipment company.
Giving Martinez $10,000 during the last month were Waste Control Specialists, a Dallas company also involved in transporting radioactive waste from Los Alamos, according to the Associated Press. The Angell Ranch in Lovington and its owner, Bill Angell, also gave a total of $10,000.
Among other contributions to Martinez was $5,200 from the political committee of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and $500 from Koch Industries, owned by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch. The company previously had contributed $4,694 to Martinez’s campaign for this election, plus another $5,000 to the governor’s political action committee.
Webber has been airing a TV spot making an issue of Martinez’s relationship with the Kochs — who are a target for many Democrats across the country this year.
Martinez reported spending more than $300,000 on her own television ads.
Webber’s biggest contributors — each giving $5,200 — were Steve Berkowitz of Santa Fe, who is CEO of a California-based real estate company called Move Inc.; H. Gerald Bidwell of Santa Barbara, Calif., who is the retired president and CEO of the Portland, Ore.-based investment company Bidwell & Company; and Barry Libert of Dover, Mass., founder and chairman of OpenMatters, a technology investor.
Except for an in-kind (non-cash) donation of $1,100, Webber didn’t put any more of his own money into the campaign. Earlier in the year, he and his wife loaned or donated more than $450,000 to his campaign.
Webber’s most famous contributor in this report was former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee. He gave $250. Webber, who lived in Boston before coming to Santa Fe, worked as a speechwriter for Dukakis when he was governor.
But probably the most surprising contribution was $100 from Shilling, who was appointed by the Martinez administration in 2011. Shilling resigned in July 2013. At that time, both he and the governor said he wasn’t forced out. A spokesman for Martinez at the time called Shilling “a tremendous public servant.”
In an interview Monday, Shilling, who described himself as a “hard-core conservative,” said there was no animosity between him and Martinez. But he said he’s supporting Webber over her because “things are dismal in the state.” Martinez, he said, “lacks the business background” he believes is necessary for a governor. He said he likes Webber’s background and “entrepreneurial spirit.”
Rael’s biggest contribution was from Roswell oilman Robert Armstrong and his wife, Sara Armstrong. They gave a total of $5,000.
Morales’ biggest contribution wasn’t cash, but an in-kind contribution from Roque Garcia, the CEO of a mental health provider in Las Cruces that had its Medicaid payments suspended by the Martinez administration last year because of allegations of fraud. Morales’ campaign manager said the donation was for travel expenses, including use of Garcia’s private airplane.
A name that popped up in a couple of campaign finance reports was that of former University of New Mexico interim President F. Chris Garcia. Garcia in 2011 was was charged with operating an online prostitution business. The state Supreme Court ruled last year that the website Garcia allegedly was involved in wasn’t illegal under state law.
Rael’s campaign reported refunding the $2,500 that Garcia donated. King’s campaign manager told the Associated Press that King refunded $25 from Garcia and this would be reflected in the next report later this month.