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Democratic challenger confident despite trailing GOP incumbent in fundraising
Sharon Clahchischilliage raises more than Anthony Allison
FARMINGTON — Republican incumbent Sharon Clahchischilliage leads her Democratic challenger, Anthony Allison, in fundraising in their District 4 race for the state House of Representatives, but both candidates remain focused on getting their names before voters.
While Clahchischilliage has raised more than $54,000 since she began campaigning and has spent $30,000, Allison has raised $17,500 and spent $6,500 according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. But Allison downplayed the significance of that deficit.
“I really don’t think that money has much to do with it,” he said. “It’s what you commit to the people that’s going to get you the votes. I don’t intend to buy votes.”
Clahchischilliage’s races tend to carry high price tags
Clahchischillaige has served as the representative for the northwest corner of the state since defeating seven-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Ray Begaye, of Shiprock, in 2012. The Kirtland Republican is no stranger to raising money, and her races traditionally have carried high price tags. In 2014, she raised more than $111,000 and spent more than $93,000 to defeat Harrison Todacheene, of Shiprock.
Her most expensive race was the 2016 election, when she raised more than $154,600 and spent more than $174,880 to defeat GloJean Todacheene, of Shiprock, who is now running for the San Juan County Commission against Republican write-in candidate Pete Atcitty, of Shiprock.
Candidates draw from different sets of donors
Allison’s supporters include unions while Clahchischilliage has received donations from many political action committees and industry groups.
One of the PACs she has received money from is the PNM Responsible Citizens Group, which is connected to the Public Service Company of New Mexico. The PAC donated $1,000 to her campaign.
PNM is the majority owner of the San Juan Generating Station, which is located in her district. The company plans to close the coal-fired power plant in 2022 and is hoping to get legislation passed next year that will help it recover the lost cost of its investments into the power plant, such as its recent environmental upgrades.
Chevron gave Clahchischilliage $2,500 and oil and gas operator the Jalapeño Corporation also donated $2,500 to her campaign.
Allison’s top contributions included $2,000 from the NEA New Mexico Education union and $5,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Incumbent representative has focused on ID issues, infrastructure
During her time as a state representative, Clahchischilliage has focused on fixing issues with Real ID laws and has sponsored events to help people, especially Navajos who were born at home instead of in a clinic or hospital, receive a birth certificate.
She also helped secure funding for the Gadii’ahi irrigation system, a wastewater system in the Kirtland area, and improvements for the intersection of N.M. Highway 371 and Navajo Route 36, which was considered a dangerous intersection
She serves on several legislative committees, including Indian Affairs, Transportation and Public Works, and Appropriations and Finance.
Clahchischilliage could not be reached for comment.
Allison describes his platform priorities
Allison said some of the issues he will prioritize if elected include promoting investment in infrastructure and renewable energy, and bringing a railroad to San Juan County.
“Our roads continuously need to be improved,” Allison said.
He also wants to see high-speed Internet transmission lines added to every power line.
In addition, Allison said he wants to have potable water available for every resident. Allison said the state should have done more to help residents during the lengthy boil-water advisory that impacted thousands of people in the Crouch Mesa area who receive water from the AV Water Co. While the boil-water advisory has been lifted, customers have continued to face challenges with frequent outages and uncertain utility ownership.
Allison is a former coal miner and said he believes the power plants and coal mines should play a big part in transitioning to renewable energy. He cited the example of a power plant he saw in Boston that had transitioned to wind energy.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at email@example.com.