AP NEWS

New Mexico candidates for Congress highlight cash flow

October 16, 2019
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FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, former CIA operative Valerie Plame is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. New Mexico candidates in open races for the U.S. House and Senate are collecting campaign cash at a rapid pace even as many Democratic contenders forgo contributions from corporate political committees. Plame said Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in a statement that her campaign raised about $447,000 in contributions from July through September as she runs for a northern New Mexico congressional seat. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, former CIA operative Valerie Plame is interviewed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. New Mexico candidates in open races for the U.S. House and Senate are collecting campaign cash at a rapid pace even as many Democratic contenders forgo contributions from corporate political committees. Plame said Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in a statement that her campaign raised about $447,000 in contributions from July through September as she runs for a northern New Mexico congressional seat. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico candidates in open races for the U.S. House and Senate have been collecting campaign cash at a fast clip even as prominent Democratic contenders forgo contributions from corporate political committees, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

Former CIA operative Valerie Plame said her campaign raised about $447,000 in contributions from July through September as she runs for a northern New Mexico congressional seat. Rival primary election candidate Teresa Leger Fernandez says her campaign raised $205,000, while former Obama administration official John Blair raised $148,000 in his fist six weeks of campaigning for the seat.

Plame, Leger Fernandez and Blair are among the candidates for New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District who are forgoing corporate PAC money in their quests to replace U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján as he campaigns for Senate. Sen. Tom Udall is retiring.

Campaign filings from Luján, a sixth-term congressman and No. 4 ranked House Democrat, show his campaign raised more than $1 million since July in thousands of contributions.

In May, he too swore off corporate PAC money, following the example of rival Democratic Senate candidate Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who currently serves as secretary of state with a term running through 2022.

Contributors to Luján’s campaign included several California-based entertainment executives — such as Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg — Native American tribes, political committees linked to an array of labor unions, a trade association for U.S. chemical companies and advocacy groups for Democratic causes.

Toulouse Oliver, who has cast herself as a politically progressive advocate for working families and working women in particular, reported that her Senate campaign raised $204,000 from July through September.

Hundreds of recent individual contributors include the regional president of the reproductive rights group Planned Parenthood, utility consumer advocate Mariel Nanasi of New Energy Economy, movie star Susan Sarandon, and an environmental conservationist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Recent contributors disclosed ties to thriving New Mexico-based enterprises, such as arts-entertainment venture Meow Wolf and federal contractor Akal Security, along with a handful of outside companies. They include Martha Coakley, a former Massachusetts attorney general and current vice president with e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, and a Santa Fe-based attorney for Texas-based oil producer Concho Resources.

“We appreciate the support of all women who have broken ground and led the way for other women to seek higher office and have a seat at the table,” said Toulouse Oliver campaign spokeswoman Heather Brewer. “We do have concerns about vaping and the addiction epidemic that we are seeing and will make decisions accordingly.”

Filings were not immediately available for Republican Senate primary contenders Mick Rich, an Albuquerque-based contractor, and Gavin Clarkson, a former Trump administration official and professional witness on Native American economic issues.