SANTA FE, New Mexico — Democratic challenger Gary King has stepped up his fundraising in New Mexico's race for governor, but Republican incumbent Susana Martinez maintains a large campaign cash advantage with voting set to start in about a month, according to financial reports filed Monday.
The governor's re-election campaign had cash-on-hand of $3.8 million at the start of this month while King reported a balance of $157,730 in his campaign account.
King raised $379,050 during the past two months, including a $30,000 loan from the candidate. The two-term attorney general had relied on personal loans to fuel his win in a five-way primary election in June.
Labor unions were a top donor to King, contributing about $41,200. The Communications Workers of America, which represents some state workers, gave $10,000. New Mexico chapters of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association each contributed $5,200.
Five companies with the same address in the Virgin Islands gave $30,400 to King, who is a two-term attorney general. King's campaign manager, Keith Breitbach, didn't immediately respond to email and telephone messages seeking comment on the contributions.
Martinez has collected about $961,901 in contributions since late June, including $20,800 from members of a Lea County ranching family — Donald, Norman, Larry and Marjorie Gregory. Two companies that Larry Gregory serves as president of gave $15,600 to the governor's campaign.
Other Martinez donors included former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his wife, Joyce, who each gave $5,200. Rumsfeld owns property near Taos. Also giving $5,200 were Koch Industries, a privately held company based in Kansas with business interests that include refining and chemicals. Two Koch brothers are major supporters of conservative political causes and candidates.
The governor spent $1.4 million during the past two months, including $686,000 in TV and radio advertising.
King's campaign reported expenditures of $337,000, which included nearly $94,000 on advertising and $41,000 on polling.
The latest campaign-finance disclosures come a month before New Mexicans start to cast ballots. Absentee voting begins Oct. 7, and early voting gets underway at more locations on Oct. 18.
Monday was the deadline for political committees and candidates for state office to file their latest campaign finance disclosures with the secretary of state's office.
Fundraising also is heating up for legislative campaigns.
Labor unions have contributed $625,000 in the past two months to a Democratic-leaning political group that has been a top spender in New Mexico's legislative races.
The political committee, Patriot Majority New Mexico, reported receiving $350,000 in July and August from the National Education Association and a political committee affiliated with the teachers' union; $250,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and $25,000 from the Communication Workers of America.
With the latest contributions, Patriot Majority has raised about $805,000 since May — all of it from unions, with AFSCME providing $330,000 so far.
A newly formed GOP-leaning political group, Advance New Mexico Now, raised $227,500. That included $100,000 each from Texas real estate investor and developer Marcus Hiles and a national GOP group, the Republican State Leadership Committee. Giving $10,000 were Denver developer and homebuilder Larry Mizel and EnerVest, a Houston-based oil company with operations in New Mexico. Hiles and Mizel have contributed to Martinez's re-election.
The group had a cash balance of $221,727 at the start of this month, after spending about $5,800.
Patriot Majority reported cash-on-hand of $574,033, after spending nearly $164,000. Its expenditures included $131,790 for research by a Denver-based firm and about $31,500 for "strategic services" by a consulting firm formed by David Contarino, who was former Gov. Bill Richardson's chief of staff and top political adviser. Contarino lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
Both committees are "super PACs" that aren't bound by New Mexico's campaign-contribution limits because the group independently advocates the election or defeat of candidates. Such PACs typically air advertisements and send out mailings for or against candidates.
Patriot Majority was among the biggest spenders in New Mexico legislative races two years ago when Democrats retained majorities in the House and Senate.
All 70 seats in the House are up for election this year, and Republicans are trying to pick up enough seats to gain a majority for the first time in 60 years.
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