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9 will get public campaign money

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A record number of candidates in Albuquerque’s fall election have qualified for public funding of their campaigns.

City Clerk Amy Bailey on Tuesday authorized the distribution of about $39,000 each to the nine candidates for City Council who succeeded in gathering enough signatures and small contributions to qualify. Each candidate gets $1 for every registered voter in their district, with some reductions for start-up fundraising.

Those nine candidates join mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli, who qualified earlier this year and received about $350,000 in city funding. He faces two privately financed candidates – incumbent Richard Berry and retired police Sgt. Paul Heh.

The number of qualified candidates is more than any other year since voters approved the system in 2005. Four candidates participated in 2011; eight, including all three mayoral candidates, in 2009; and five in 2007.

Here’s a look at who qualified this year:

  •  Ken Sanchez in District 1, the middle West Side. If he remains the only candidate in the district, he will have to give the money back.
  • Isaac Benton and Roxanna Meyers in District 2, which covers the older core of the city: Downtown, the North Valley, Barelas and some of the university area. Benton is an architect, Meyers a business owner. They’re both already members of the council, but running against each other because of redistricting.
  • Tania Silva, an attorney, in District 3, a newly created seat covering the southern West Side. Also running in that district are Klarissa Peña, a neighborhood leader; Ron O. Garcia, a city planning commissioner; and Richard Cabellero.
  • Dan Lewis and Eloise Gift in District 5, the northern third of the West Side. Lewis, the incumbent, and Gift, a real estate broker, may not be the only candidates in the race. Jeff Armijo has also expressed interest, though he would have to run as a privately financed candidate.
  • Diane Gibson in District 7, which covers the mid-Northeast Heights and Uptown area. It’s a crowded race with several candidates who plan to run privately financed campaigns, including incumbent Janice Arnold-Jones; Matt Biggs, a small-business owner; David Green, a baker and writer; and Louis Schiffman.
  • Don Harris and Lovie McGee in District 9, the far southeast part of town and foothills area. Harris is an attorney and the incumbent. McGee is a real estate broker.

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