Here's a look at the campaign contributions and expenditures from the latest campaign finance reports.
BY PETE DINELLI
The second Campaign Finance Reports for mayor of Albuquerque were filed on Aug. 11, 2017 with the Albuquerque City Clerk.
There are eight candidates running for mayor and if no candidate secures 50 percent or more of the vote, a runoff will be held between the top voted candidates, which appears more likely than not.
There is only one publicly financed candidate, seven privately financed candidates, and seven weeks remaining until the Oct. 3, 2017 municipal election.
Voters need to follow the money to know who will have influence over a candidate once elected.
Here’s a look at the campaign contributions and expenditures from the latest campaign finance reports:
From review of the finance report of contributions and expenditures, Democrat Brian Colón continues to be the top fundraiser of all the seven privately finance candidates and has a large cash reserve for a television and media buy.
The Colón Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $517,539.72 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is $535,579.82. Colón raised an additional $89,717 during the reporting period and spent $71,676.
Notable individuals or businesses that made cash contributions of $5,000 or more each listed in the August Campaign Finance Report for Colón include the following donors:
Realteck Inc.; TG&W Agency; Cab Trujillo; Kathy Trujillo; Alfred Bernal; Blanchard Properties (Paul Blanchard); D&S Appliance Sales and Service; EKORE, LLC; Kenric Management; and Mechanical Control Solutions.
Notable individuals or businesses that made $1,000 cash contributions include the following:
Cate Stetson, former State Democratic Party Chair; former New Mexico U.S. Attorney John Kelly ($2,000); Roy Benson; Stephanie Valencia; Don McCleod; Richard and Janine Holcomb; Shalini Shanker; Nick Chavez ($2,000); Ricardo Reichsfeld; Jasmine Gauba; Edward Avalos; Douglas Craft; Shalini Shanker; David Poms ($1,500); San Bar Construction ($1,500); and Star Paving Company ($750).
Other notable donors to Colón include:
Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima ($500), private attorney F. Michael Hart and brother of County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins ($500), former Democrat New Mexico State Treasurer James Lewis ($200), former Democrat New Mexico State Representative and former Bernalillo County Commissioner Lenton Malry ($100), David Gold ($500), David Mendes ($500), Francis Duffy ($500), New Mexico Independent Auto Dealers ($500), attorney David Buchholtz ($500), Roy Benson ($500) and Dale Dekker ($500).
There are numerous donations of anywhere between $50 to $100 or more to the Colón campaign during the reporting period.
Notable expenditures listed in the August Campaign Finance Report to Colón’s campaign include:
$25,502, $4,427 and $4,124 payed to The Payroll Company (Nester Romero) for payroll; $16,096 paid to Altivus CRM Solutions, LCC; telecommunication (Michael Padilla who is a New Mexico State Senator running for lieutenant governor); $12,550 paid to Switchboard Digital Advertising; $2,017 paid to SAGE Payment Solutions (Credit Card Merchant); and $1,768 paid to FOCUS Ink Printing (Nancy Denker).
Democrat Tim Keller is the only “publicly financed” candidate for mayor.
Upon being qualified for public financing, Keller agreed in writing to spending caps and he is strictly prohibited from soliciting and using donations from any other source to run his campaign.
The July 14, 2017 Tim Keller Campaign Finance Report states that on April 3, 2017 the Keller campaign was given $342,952 by the City of Albuquerque in public financing.
The last Keller Campaign Finance Report filed on July 14, 2017 listed total expenditures of $130,863.63 with $116,978 spent on campaign staff, consultants and political research, leaving a closing balance of $232,446.09.
The Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $232,446 and the closing balance for the second reporting period is $227,229.88. The report reflects that $5,216.21 was spent during the last reporting period, which includes $3,115 paid to Rio Strategies for the printing of 2,000 signs. It reflects that $24,615 of “in-kind” donations reflected in cash amounts were made to the Keller campaign.
Notable “in-kind” donations to the Keller campaign include:
Former New Mexico Lt. Governor Diane Denish ($1,000), who ran for NM governor with Brian Colón as her running mate for lieutenant governor; New Mexico State Senator Mimi Stewart ($200); John Badal ($1,000); Scott Goodman; Goodman Realty Group ($2,500); Art Gardenshwartz ($1,000); Paul Cochran ($5,000); Joinie Griffin, Griffin & Associates, the firm handling the public relations for the ART bus project ($1,000); Adam Harrington, HB Construction ($1,000); IATSE Local 423 ($1,000); William Sabatini ($500); City of Albuquerque Union AFSME Council 18 ($220); APD Police Oversight Board member William Kass ($1,000); Sam Field (1,000); Caporale Consultants ($1,000); Jim Collie ($1,000); Jason Harrignton ($1,000); Debra McFarlan ($500); Virginia Scharff ($500); and Polly Jackson ($500).
The Albuquerque public finance laws provide that for the first election, qualifying public financed candidates for mayor are given $1 per registered voter in the city, and if the candidate makes it into the runoff, they are given an additional 33 cents per registered voter, or approximately $118,000 for the runoff.
If Keller gets into the runoff, his campaign will be given approximately $118,000 more in public finance funds.
THE TIM KELLER MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEE
ABQ Forward Together is a measure finance committee, registered with the City Clerk’s office, formed for the purpose “to support Tim Keller’s bid for mayor”.
Measured finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like a candidate.
Neri Olguin is identified on the City Clerk’s website as the chairperson for “ABQ Forward Together”. Olguin is with “Olguin 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)”.
The Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance report for “ABQ Forward Together” reflects that it had a beginning cash balance of $2,562 from the last reporting period and it had monetary contributions of $84,930 for the current reporting period, spent $10,319.43 and now has a $77,172.92 balance left in the account to spend as it sees fit to promote Keller.
Cash donations to “ABQ Forward Together” that are noteworthy include:
Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters ($20,000); New Mexico Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) ($10,000); Curtis-Lucero Law Firm ($10,000); Drive Committee, Teamsters Labor Union ($5,000); Central New Mexico Labor Council ($5,000); Sheet Metal Workers Local Union ($2,500); New Mexico Laborers Political Education Fund ($2,500); OLE, the main advocate for Healthy Workforce Ordinance ($5,000); former Lt. Governor Diane Denish ($1,000); Sandy Buffett ($2,500); James Collie ($2,000); former 2nd Judicial District Court Judge Anne Kass ($1,000); attorney and NM State Representative Daymon Eli ($1,000); former U.S. Senator Fred Harris ($250); private attorney David Duhigg ($250); private attorney and former candidate for Attorney General Robert McNeil ($500); former New Mexico State Senator Richard Romero ($100); Romero Consulting ($100); Catherine Allen ($500); attorney NL Gagne ($100); Morton Simon ($250); Bonnie Anderson ($500) and attorney John Boyd ($100).
The Aug. 2017 “ABQ Forward Together” finance report reflects expenses of $10,319.43 and of that $2,500 was paid to Holguin Consulting, Inc. for consulting fees, $2,042 to the Mendenhall Law Firm for law services, $1,161 to Biogeocreations for website services, $998 to Janet Aranda for consulting, and $649 to Beth Charles for consulting.
It is clear from the donations made to ABQ Forward Together that Keller has substantial support from organized labor, which will translate into significant volunteer help and even more large contributions.
ABQ Forward Together can raise money up and through to the election day and beyond for a runoff election if Keller gets into the runoff.
The big question is if ABQ Forward Together can secure monetary donations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, as was done last year when George Soros contributed $100,000 to promote District Attorney Raul Torrez in the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s race.
On Aug. 13, 2017, the Sierra Club, who has already endorsed Keller, promoted and did a “Conservation Fundraiser for the PAC supporting Tim Keller”.
If ABQ Forward Together receives aggregate contributions more than 30 percent of the mayor’s salary from one individual or entity, it must incorporate the donor’s name into the name of the committee.
For 2016 measure finance committees, the threshold number was $31,156.32 and will likely be the same in 2017 because the mayor’s salary has not changed.
If any one person or organization make a financial contribution of more than 30 percent of the mayor’s salary to ABQ Forward Together, their names must appear in the name of the measured finance committee.
In his January announcement for mayor, Keller said, “Let’s elect a mayor without the big money we’ve come to expect in politics. That’s why we are running a community-driven, publicly financed campaign that fits the future of Albuquerque.”
Keller now has the best of all political campaign finance world’s by getting public financing to the tune of $342,952 and 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 former political consultant who has worked on his past campaigns for the New Mexico State Senate.
The Dan Lewis Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $192,588.87 and the closing balance for the current reporting period is now $169,289.
Republican Dan Lewis raised an additional $43,962 during the reporting period and had expenditures of $6,261 during the last reporting period.
It is interesting to note that Terri Baird, the former chief of staff for Mayor Marty Chavez, who raised Chavez over $1 million in a reelection bid, is the fundraising chair for Lewis.
Notable individuals or businesses that made cash contributions listed in the Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Lewis include the following donors:
Larry Chavez ($2,500); Robert B. Wood, Albuquerque Asphalt ($2,000); John Badal ($1,000); Onepayhr, LLC ($1,000); realtor Scott Throckmorton ($1,000); Michael Foote ($1,250); Chaves-Grieves Consulting Engineering ($1,000); John Sedberry ($1,000); Kane Oueis ($2,500); Josh Baird ($1,000); Jeff Grady ($1,000); Edward Garcia, Garcia Cars ($5,192); Duggers Towing Services ($1,250); Allen Sigman Real Estate Group ($1,250); Andrew Dolan with Titan Development ($500); PG Enterprises, LLC, granite suppliers ($1,500); New Mexico Restaurant Association ($500); New Mexico Independent Automobile Dealers ($500); Restaurant Entertainment Concepts ($2,500); Samia Rabadi ($1,000); Fernando C De Baca ($100); James A.Griffin, Aspen Masonary ($3,000); Jeff Grady, Raylee Homes, ($1,000); The Kroger Company Political Action Committee ($500); and attorney William Keller ($250).
Lewis has little cash on hand to run a viable, traditional media political campaign on TV and radio. Making traditional, 30-second television commercials and making large television and radio buys appears not to be Lewis’ strategy. The $169,600 available to Lewis for a television and media buy is not very much.
Notwithstanding, Lewis appears to be running a social media campaign and may not feel much will be needed for television and radio buys. Lewis continues to produce and release 2 minutes or more commercials on Facebook that are impressive, slick and well produced.
The ads released on Facebook have been viewed by tens of thousands and include numerous comments. Though there are doubts that a social media campaign will reach the older, conservative audience who are most likely to vote.
The Wayne Johnson Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $187,008 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is now $207,770.
Republican Wayne Johnson raised an additional $34,176 during the reporting period.
Notable individuals or businesses that made cash contributions listed in the Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Johnson include the following donors:
Kurston Johnson ($7,000); John Bode, Bode Aviation ($2,596); Neil Hise ($2,000); Mechanical Control Solutions ($2,500); John Rockwell, Sierra Peaks Tibbets ($2,000); Don Mcleod ($1,000); Admiral Beverage Corp ($1,000); Julie Pisto ($1,000); private attorney Geoff Reider ($1,000); John Rockwell ($1,000); Sandia Park Tram Corporation ($1,000); Nancy Johnson ($1,000); Charles Johnson ($1,000); Allen Sigmon Real Estate Group ($1,000); New Mexico Restaurant Association ($500); former Republican New Mexico State Senator Mickey Barnett ($500); Stephen Byrd ($500); Robert Godshall ($500); Abruzzo Trust ($500); New Mexico Independent Auto Dealers ($500); and attorney David Buchholtz ($750).
The Johnson campaign reported spending $13,414 during the last reporting period, which included paying Wyatt Barsch $2,000 and EKERN Company $5,375 and $3,157 for consulting.
The Johnson campaign had $3,733 of “in-kind” donations during the last reporting period including $1,060 from retired and former APD Commander Sonny Leeper with Law Enforcement Training International and $1,357 from Julie Rodger.
Johnson is competing for the same conservative Republican votes as Republican Dan Lewis.
Johnson appears to be attempting to run a social media campaign by posting video commercials, statements and testimonial endorsements on Facebook. Republican Sherman McCorkle, who was chairman of Mayor Richard Berry’s transition committee eight years ago, and Ed Lujan, brother of former congressman Manuel Lujan, have both done Facebook endorsements of Johnson.
Ricardo Chaves is a “self-financed” candidate for mayor.
The Ricardo Chaves July 14, 2017 Campaign Finance Report revealed that he loaned his campaign for mayor $500,000.
Chaves reported in the July 14, 2017 report that he spent $134,666.27 for campaign consulting, management and petition signature gathering to get on the ballot and had $373,981.53 remaining in his campaign account.
The Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $373,957 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is now $373,228. Chaves reported he received $2,479 “in kind” donations from himself for office space, and his expenditures for the period were $728 for an alarm system and administrative services.
The fact that Chavez has personally loaned his campaign $500,000, that he has spent $126,107.33 in consulting fees and still has $373,228 indicates he is a serious candidate with enough money to run political commercials or send out mailers that will impact the race.
MICHELLE GARCIA HOLMES
The July 14, 2017 financial report reflects Michelle Garcia Holmes reported contributions of $22,131 with expenditures of $73.28 and a closing balance of $27,590.11.
Garcia Holmes and her husband Earl Holmes each contributed $5,000 for a total of $10,000 to her campaign for mayor. The Garcia-Holmes Aug. 2017 Campaign Finance Report states a cash balance from the last reporting period of $31,725 and a closing balance for the recent reporting period of $33,300.
Garcia Holmes is attempting to run a social media campaign by making numerous posts on Facebook. Total “in kind” donations for the period were $1,172.
The Susan Wheeler-Deichel campaign did not file its Aug. 2017 finance report.
The July 14, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Wheeler-Deichel reported monetary contributions of $6,275, in-kind contributions of $420 and expenditures of $5,955.23. Of the $6,275 in monetary contributions to the Wheeler-Deichel campaign, $6,175 was a personal loan to her campaign.
Gus Pedrotty reported beginning monetary contributions from the last period of $1,986 with monetary contributions for the current reporting period of $2,505, in kind contributions of $212 and expenditures of $1,091 with a closing balance of $3,091.
Pedrotty is attempting to run a social media campaign by making at least two Facebook commercials that he has written and produced himself, with one commercial being slick and well produced.
Pedrotty is very articulate, understands the issues and has stood out thus far at all the debates and forums.
From a historical standpoint, municipal elections are very low voter turnout. The reliable municipal voters tend to be 50 years and older and conservative.
Four years ago, only 19 percent of eligible voters voted in the lowest voter turnout since 1977. As the saying goes “a week in politics is an eternity”.
The biggest campaign issue is what effect on the mayor’s race will social media campaigns have versus traditional television or radio mass media buys.
The privately finance campaigns and the measured finance committees can continue to raise as much money as they can up and until the election day.
Political television ads, especially negative ads, can affect poll numbers and the outcome of the race. There is plenty of time for events to develop and missteps to influence the race for mayor. There are numerous forums and debates scheduled.
However, the seven weeks remaining is little time to raise enough money for an effective TV and radio media campaign.
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