Fundraising and spending in the special election for secretary of state topped $1 million. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, was sworn in Friday to replace interim Secretary of State Brad Winter. She defeated Republican Rep. Nora Espinoza, of Roswell, with 56 percent of the vote in the November election. Toulouse Oliver outraised Espinoza $751,027 to $364,440, and outspent the Republican $740,052 to $353,924. The Democrat received 6,413 individual donations averaging $117 each to Espinoza’s 975 donations averaging $374 each.
Legislative candidates raised $12 million and spent more than $10.3 million during the 2016 election cycle. Republicans lost their state House majority despite outraising and outspending Democrats overall. Democratic Senate candidates outspent their GOP opponents while increasing their majority. even though Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez lost his seat after an onslaught of negative advertising funded by a super PAC. Candidates filed their final reports Thursday.
Democrats took back the House and increased their hold over the state Senate last week. That’s despite the loss of Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez to Republican Greg Baca, which GOP Gov. Susana Martinez declared a major victory. Come January, the House majority will switch from 37-33 in favor of Republicans to at least 37-33 in the Democrats’ favor. That margin could increase to as high as 39-31, depending on the outcome of two recounts in the Albuquerque area. Here’s a look at the seats that switched or might switch:
House District 36: Las Cruces Democrat Nate Small defeated incumbent Rep. Andy Nunez with 56.5 percent of the vote to 43.5 percent of the vote.
Democrat Hillary Clinton won New Mexico’s five electoral votes a week ago, but her popularity varied among counties. And both Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump received fewer total votes than the two candidates in the special New Mexico Secretary of State contest. Part of that is attributable to the presence of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as the Libertarian presidential candidate. He won 10 percent or more of the vote in 10 counties, including nearly 14 percent in Los Alamos County. Clinton won 15 of the state’s 33 counties, 10 of them with more than half the vote.
Gov. Susana Martinez took out her major target in Tuesday’s election, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. But that single victory came at a cost. Republicans lost the state House after two years in control, while Democrats strengthened their margin in the state Senate. The Democrats will control the House by at least a 37-33 margin, with an outside shot at a 39-31 split. Two races are going to recounts.
It’s election day. Here are a few of the questions being decided that we find particularly interesting. Will Republicans be able to keep their historic wins in 2014 that gave them a State House majority and the Secretary of State’s office? While the 2016 presidential race is getting all the attention, whether or not Republicans hang on to their first majority in the New Mexico House of Representatives in 60 years tops our to-watch list. Back in 2014, a non-presidential election year, the Republicans picked up enough seats to wrangle a 37-33 majority, booting Democrats out after six decades of control.
Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made a splash with their TV ads in New Mexico in the final week of campaign 2016. But neither candidate broke into the top three spenders or the top five advertisers during October. Republican Trump spent $219,500 on 466 ads in the state, while Democrat Clinton spent $179,374 on 1,194 ads. (Clinton’s spending went further because she also bought ads on cable and satellite TV, which is less expensive than network TV ads.)
That’s according to an analysis of TV and cable ad contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission. 1st Congressional District Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, still tops the list of spenders during October at $427,463.
In one of the most contested presidential election in recent times, the national media has been under fire too.
New Mexico political action committees have raised nearly $15.8 million and spent more than $14 million in the two years leading up to Tuesday’s election. Those PACs have bought TV and radio ads, sent mailers, paid for robocalls and polls. New Mexico In Depth analyzed fundraising and spending for 2015 and 2016 through Nov. 1 for state-registered PACs. Excluded were the two state party committees; Act Blue, a conduit PAC for donations to candidates; and South-Central PAC, a union group that only sends money to a parent group in Washington, D.C.
Advance New Mexico Now, a super PAC operated by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s top advisers, is the top money raiser and spender.
Control of New Mexico’s Legislature is on the line in Tuesday’s election, and that’s evident in the fundraising and spending reports. Through Nov. 1 candidates in 17 hotly contested seats have raised nearly $6.2 million and spent nearly $4.5 million. Nowhere is the battle more pronounced than in the contests featuring Republican House Majority Leader Nate Gentry and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. The two lawmakers top the list of money raised and spent over the last two years.