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.
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.
Advance New Mexico Now will spend more than $125,000 on TV advertising in its effort to unseat Democratic Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez. The ads begin Sunday on at least two Albuquerque stations, KOB and KOAT, and air through early November, based on contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission on Friday. Meanwhile, Sanchez is airing more than $120,000 in ads on four Albuquerque stations through Election Day. His ads began Wednesday, Oct. 17.
Tracking campaign messages can be difficult when the messenger’s name is in tiny print. Tracking where the money comes can be even harder. Sometimes the nasty mailers work, other times they don’t. New Mexico In Depth is here to track them.