House District 4 candidates reach out to Navajo voters
FARMINGTON — As next month's election approaches, the two candidates for New Mexico House District 4 are focused on reaching out to Navajo voters.
Democrat GloJean Todacheene is challenging incumbent Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland, for the seat. The two candidates have raised and spent more funds while campaigning than any other local legislative candidates.
The largest expense for both candidates in the last campaign finance reporting period for the general election was on radio ads. Both candidates say the majority of the District 4 constituents receive communication through radio broadcasts.
Todacheene reported a balance of nearly $33,800 in her campaign coffers. For the most recent reporting period, which started Sept. 5 and ended Oct. 11, she detailed nearly $20,300 in contributions with expenditures of a little more than $25,800.
Clahchischilliage reported a balance of nearly $73,600. In the most recent reporting period, she raised $12,000 and spent nearly $35,000.
The majority of her expenditures were on radio ads. Clahchischilliage paid SRCP Media Inc. — an Alexandria, Va.-based company — more $26,434 for radio ads, according to campaign finance reports released earlier this month. She has also spent $58.88 on radio ads on KNDN-AM, the Navajo language radio station based in Farmington.
About half of Todacheene's expenditures were on radio ads. She paid Michelsohn Creative Communications — an Albuquerque-based company — $16,944 for radio ads, according to her most recent campaign finance reports. She said she speaks the Diné language in her radio ads.
Todacheene also paid Fletcher Rowley Inc. out of Nashville, Tenn., $2,000 for online advertisements.
The candidates plan to continue advertisements reaching out to District 4 constituents.
Todacheene said her focus in the weeks ahead will be to encourage people to get out and vote.
"That's what really matters," she said.
Clahchischilliage said she will focus on spreading a message that District 4 needs a representative who has experience and understands it.
In addition to reaching out to Native American voters through the radio, the candidates were also campaigning at the recent Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock.
Todacheene spent more than $1,635 on parade-related expenses. She said those expenses paid off.
"We got the first-place trophy for political float," she said.
She said the fair is an important place to campaign because it has a huge turnout.
In addition to the money she spent on the float, she spent $141.96 for a pop-up canopy for her fair booth.
Clahchischilliage also spent money campaigning at the fair. The finance reports show her spending $386.62 for a banner for the fair and another $393.86 for parade supplies.
The majority of Todacheene's money came from small individual donations from local residents while Clahchischilliage has received money from political action committees — including $4,000 from the Republican Leadership PAC — and businesses.
Todacheene said she was surprised by the local Democratic support, which she did not see while campaigning for the San Juan County Commission seat that she previously held. She said she thinks the sudden support is because it is a state race.
"It affects a lot of people in the county," she said.
The oil and gas industry has backed Clahchischilliage. Chevron Policy Government and Public Affairs gave Clahchischilliage $2,500, and the Concho Resources Inc. PAC gave her $500.
Clahchischilliage said the oil and gas industry has a huge presence in District 4, and she has advocated for the energy businesses.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.