ABQ political groups spending down in final stretch to election day

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Heading into the final weekend before Albuquerque’s municipal election on Tuesday, some independent political groups have spent most of the total money they’ve collected while others haven’t spent any, according to a review of financial reports filed today.

It’s possible that an influx of money will enter the race in the final hours before the election, with associated attack ads, robocalls, and mailers. But here’s a rundown of the money to date reported by the 2017 measure finance committees — how much they’ve raised and how much they still have on hand to date.

Albuquerque Coalition for a Healthy Economy and Realtors Association of New Mexico Education Public on Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, has raised $218,247, with $51,016 remaining in its account heading into the weekend. This group was created to oppose the sick leave ordinance. Its biggest contributors are the Realtors Association of New Mexico, Real Estate Community PAC and New Mexico Restaurant Association.

ABQFIREPAC, a political committee of the Albuquerque firefighters’ union, has spent most of $41,999 raised, with a remaining balance of $3,768.65. The group just released a hard-hitting television ad endorsing Tim Keller that highlights a shortage of police officers in the city. The committee also supports candidates for City Council, including Diane Gibson, Klarissa Pena, Ken Sanchez, Cynthia Borrego and Don Harris.


ABQ Forward Together, a group formed to support Keller, raised $360,925 and has $37,379 remaining. The committee has, in part, created a television ad touting an endorsement by the Albuquerque Police Officers Association.



Albuquerque Rising raised $19,025 and has spent most of it, with $1,767 on hand. This group was formed to support Diane Gibson and to oppose Eric Lucero, and spent its money on a mailer and two posters. One poster references the TV show “Breaking Bad,” stating “Don’t let crime Break Albuquerque.” The other poster riffs on President Trump with images of hot air balloons wearing Trump’s hairstyle, asking “Tired of politicians who are full of hot air?”


ABQ Success is a Republican Party of New Mexico political committee that registered on Sept. 18. The group has only spent $752.49 of $4,100. The RPNM issued a press release yesterday announcing a “web ad” by ABQ Success that attacks Brian Colón for a statement he made, presumably while running for lieutenant governor in 2010, in which he said Albuquerque was not the center of the universe. The group has also produced an ad against the paid sick leave ordinance, noting that both Colón and Keller support it. Both ads are on the group’s Facebook page.


ABQ Working Families raised $50,719, of which $17,488 was in-kind support. Going into the weekend, the group had $13,454 on hand. They were formed in support of the sick leave ordinance, and have endorsed both Keller and Javier Benavidez. Its been spending its money on mailers and radio ads.


Americans for Prosperity raised just $5,093, all in-kind, which its financial reports state is for social media, marketing and a video shoot. The group lists a website, www.trickleave.org, which is aimed at defeating the paid sick leave ordinance on the ballot. Its Facebook page is quite active, with videos and other media.


Coalition for a Better Albuquerque, formed on Aug. 28 with the stated intention of supporting and opposing candidates, reports no contributions or expenditures to date.


Energize Albuquerque raised one contribution in the amount of $20,000, attributed to Western Albuquerque Land Holdings. Its statement due at noon today had yet to be filed as this article was filed, and it currently reflects $7,685 remaining on the books. The group was formed to support city council candidates Sanchez, Pena and Harris, and, as NMID previously reported,  is responsible for a billboard on the west side touting Sanchez as a Democrat, and a mailer attacking the three Sanchez opponents.


Forward Albuquerque formed to oppose the paid sick leave ordinance. It raised $45,250 and spent nearly all of that, $43,932, on three mailers produced by Republican media strategist and political operative Jay McCleskey. One of the ads, pictured here, argues that the ordinance will hurt independent, local businesses the most.


Healthy Workforce ABQ, Ole Education Fund, Strong Families NM, Center on Civic Policy, NM Center on Law & Poverty, has been working to get the paid sick leave ordinance on the ballot since 2016, reporting $807,550 in total contributions with all but $207,050 of that being in-kind support. That means the groups participating in this effort have mounted a vigorous legal and canvassing operation utilizing their own staff time. Heading into the weekend, they have $178,796.63 remaining, of which $131,276.13 is in-kind support. The group has a robust Facebook page with videos countering the messages that the provisions in the ordinance will hurt businesses.


The Make Albuquerque Safe television ad against Tim Keller featured this image.

Make Albuquerque Safe has spent $54,293 of its $60,000. Most of its contributions were used to produce a controversial TV ad and billboard suggesting that Keller went easy on sex offenders, previously reported by NMID. In the latest reports, the group reports spending additional money on robocalls, radio ads, and a mailer.


Planned Parenthood Votes Albuquerque has raised $32,033, of which 1,998 is in-kind support. The group has $8,480 remaining, having spent the bulk of its funds to date on mailers and phone calls supporting mayoral candidate Keller and city council candidates Benavidez and Gibson.

Public Safety First has $7,906 remaining of its $10,500. Their total balance is $7,906.34. This MFC was formed to educate the public on safety. Its major donation, $10,000, is from the police union to oppose city council candidate Diane Gibson, and support council candidates Cynthia Borrego, Don Harris, Eric Lucero, Klarissa Pena and Ken Sanchez. So far, the group has spent money on signs.

RGCSC 2017 ABQ Elections IEC, a Sierra Club-backed group established to support Tim Keller, has not spent any of its $400.

Melorie Begay holds New Mexico In Depth’s 2017/2018 fellowship for a current or recently graduated journalism student at the University of New Mexico.

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