Large special interests square off in District 30 Democratic primary  

Angel Charley and Clementes Sanchez are facing off in the June 4, 2024 primary for Senate Seat District 30. Images from their campaign literature. Many of the same special interests groups and big-money donors active in the 2020 primary race for Senate District 30 have returned for the 2024 election cycle as they seek to shape the ideological makeup of the Democratic Party. The race for the district — a sprawling district that encompasses all or parts of Isleta, Acoma, Laguna and Zuni pueblos as well as Alamo Navajo — features Clemente Sanchez, a former Democratic state lawmaker defeated in the 2020 primary, and political newcomer Angel Charley, a member of Laguna Pueblo and the Navajo Nation. 

The race showcases the power of moneyed interests and their willingness to square off to elect their preferred candidate.A review of campaign finance reports reveals that more than two thirds of the $60,000 Sanchez has raised for next week’s primary election has come from corporate interests, including the medical, energy, automobile and alcohol industries, as well as utilities and lobbyists. 

More than two thirds of Charley’s haul – $110,000 — has come from tribes, lawmakers, trial lawyers, or advocacy groups working on environmental, labor, reproductive health and other progressive issues. 

The winner of the June 4 Democratic primary election will face no Republican opponent in November’s general election. A retired banker who is also a registered lobbyist for the Continental Divide Electric Cooperative in Grants, Sanchez served in the Senate for two terms from 2012 to 2020.

Golf gifts up lobbyist spending to nearly $250K, other spending not reported

Lawmakers can look forward to some golfing once the legislative session ends, thanks to $28,000 in gifts from the New Mexico Golf Tourism Alliance. That’s just a portion of the nearly $250,000 lobbyists have reported spending on lawmakers during the session through March 8. The number only includes spending of $500 or more at a time, which lobbyists or their employers are required to report to the Secretary of State within 48 hours. But some lobbying groups question what must be reported now or later when more comprehensive reports are due in May. For instance, neither ProgressNow New Mexico nor Everytown for Gun Safety has reported spending on canvassing to encourage support of House Bill 50, which would expand gun background checks in the state.

Lobbyist loophole fix stalls in Senate committee

A state Senate committee failed to muster enough votes Wednesday morning to pass a bill that would fix a transparency loophole the Legislature created last year. But the bill sponsor said he’ll try again to get the measure through the Rules Committee. The loophole allows lobbyists to disclose much less about how they spend money on public officials than they used to. It removed a requirement for lobbyists to report expenses spent on individual lawmakers below $100. Previously, lobbyists had to report all spending, itemizing expenses spent above $75 per lawmaker and reporting the cumulative amount of expenses below $75 per lawmaker.