Publicly Financed Keller To Get PAC Help

Publicly Financed Keller To Get PAC Help

Keller will have the best of all political campaign finance world’s by getting public financing to the tune of $380,000, claiming he is “walking the walk” and running a “grassroots campaign,” while at the same time receiving assistance from a measured finance committee.

Tim Keller’s Measure Finance Committee

BY PETE DINELLI

Tim Keller is the only candidate for mayor who has qualified for public financing, and he’ll get $380,000 from taxpayers. And while that legally limits how much his campaign will be able to spend on the race, Keller is going to get some financial help from a PAC.

According to the City Clerk’ Office, Keller thus far is the only candidate for mayor who has a measured finance committee formed on his behalf, but expect that to change.

As a result, Keller will have the best of all political campaign finance world’s by getting public financing to the tune of $380,000, claiming he is “walking the walk” and running a “grassroots campaign,” while at the same time receiving assistance from a measured finance committee that is chaired by a political consultant who has worked on his past campaigns for the New Mexico State Senate.

Neri Holguin is identified on the City Clerk’s website as the chairperson for “ABQFORWARDTOGETHER.COM,” whose purpose is to “to support Tim Keller’s bid for Mayor”.

Neri Holguin is with “Holguin Campaigns and Communications” and its website lists as former clients the “2008 Tim Keller for State Senate (Primary)” and “Tim Keller for State Senate District 17 (General, 2012).”

There is nothing legally that prohibits the Keller for Mayor measured finance committee from soliciting and collecting contributions from those donors who contributed over $480,000 to his candidacy for New Mexico State Auditor, or from those who contributed to his campaigns for the New Mexico State Senate.

The fact that a measured finance committee has now been set up for Tim Keller significantly increases the likelihood that other measured finance committees will be set up for other candidates especially Republicans Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson given the Republican’s desire to hold onto the mayor’s office and all the patronage and city contracts involved.

According to the Albuquerque City Charter for the first election, qualifying public financed candidates for mayor are given $1.00 per registered voter in the city or approximately $380,000, and if the mayoral candidate makes it into the runoff, they are given an additional 33 cents per registered voter or approximately $127,000 for the run off.

The city charter provides that for the first election, qualifying public finance candidates for City Council are given $1.00 per registered voter in their City Council Districts or approximately $35,000 to $40,000, and if the city council candidate makes it into the runoff, they are given an additional 33 cents per registered voter in their district or approximately $12,000 to $14,000 for the runoff election.

All public finance campaigns and public finance candidates are required to agree to the spending caps in writing and are prohibited from soliciting and asking for any other donations.

Public finance candidates are at a distinct disadvantage to privately financed candidates when it comes to what can be raised and spent.

It is naive to think that any candidate for mayor or City Council will refuse or denounce any help from a Measure Finance Committee set up to campaign for them and help get them elected or help them in a runoff election.

Measure Finance Committees can do all the dirty work for a candidate, especially in any runoff when the public finance candidate has spent all the campaign money they had to get into the runoff.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.