New Mexico gets first glimpse at campaign cash

Associated Press
Campaign finance

SANTA FE — Candidates for the New Mexico Legislature submitted campaign finance reports ahead of a Monday night deadline that will provide the first glimpse of fundraising activities ahead of June primaries and the fall general election.

Control of the New Mexico House and Senate are at stake as candidates and political committees stockpile cash.

Republicans in 2014 won control of the House for the first time in over 50 years and currently hold a 37-33 majority. Democrats control the Senate 24-18. Every seat is up for election.

Rep. Nate Gentry, the Republican majority floor leader from Albuquerque, reported raising $133,000 during the past six months, bringing the closing balance on his campaign fund to $317,000.

Gentry is likely to keep his seat despite a challenge by Democrat Natalie Figueroa. The influential Republican leader's money may very well bolster other candidates' campaign efforts as the fall election draws closer.

In filings by political committees, the Democratic PAC known as Patriot Majority New Mexico received $50,000 in January from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. AFSCME is the largest trade union of public employees in the country.

Patriot Majority in turn donated a combined $50,000 to Albuquerque-based Progress Now New Mexico committee and America Votes in Washington D.C., an advocate for progressive causes in state elections.

The November election also will decide on a new Secretary of State to complete the 2015-2019 term started by disgraced Republican Dianna Duran.

Duran resigned in October and pleaded guilty to felony fraud and money laundering charges.