SANTA FE – Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Alan Webber reported receiving more than $811,000 in a five-month period Monday, though that total included at least $300,000 he gave his campaign and a $150,000 loan from himself and his wife.
Even with the self-financing, the amount of money raised by Webber, a Santa Fe businessman, exceeded the amounts reported by the four other Democrats in a crowded five-candidate field.
Webber reportedly said last year that he does not believe self-funded campaigns are “good for democracy,” but his campaign manager pointed out Monday that he received more than $350,000 from outside contributors.
The four other Democratic gubernatorial candidates are Gary King, Linda Lopez, Howie Morales and Lawrence Rael.
Rael, a government veteran who lives in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, reported getting about $322,000 in donations, including roughly $177,000 he lent his campaign. Attorney General King raised nearly $230,0000, including a $100,000 loan.
Morales, a state senator from Silver City, took in more from outside donors than Rael or King, as he reported having received $196,000. He lent his campaign $25,000, according to his campaign manager. Lopez, an Albuquerque state senator, raised more than $28,000 and did not lend any money to her campaign. Both Morales and Lopez were barred from soliciting contributions for nearly two months this year because they serve in the Legislature.
The winner of the Democratic primary election will face a well-funded opponent as Gov. Susana Martinez reported Monday receiving $1.5 million from donors. She has roughly $4.2 million in her campaign war chest.
Martinez, who is seeking a second four-year term and is unopposed in the Republican primary election, has already begun airing television commercials for her re-election campaign. She also faced a “blackout” period for soliciting donations.
The mandatory campaign reports filed Monday with Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s office marked the first deadline of the 2014 primary election cycle. Three more reports must be filed for the June 3 election.
This year’s gubernatorial race will be the first to feature a limit on contribution amounts. However, the limits, which took effect after the 2010 election, do not place any restrictions on how much money candidates can give themselves.
Longtime New Mexico political analyst and pollster Brian Sanderoff said some deep-pocketed Democratic-leaning donors – including labor unions – might be waiting to see who wins the party’s nomination before making contributions.
“That’s not unusual when you have a large field of hopeful candidates running against an incumbent governor,” Sanderoff said.
He also pointed out that the campaign reports filed Monday by candidates do not reflect outside political committees – or PACs – that will likely spend large amounts of money during this year’s election cycle.
As for cash on hand, the Democratic candidates reported Monday having the following amounts: Webber – $439,914; Rael – $228,767; King – $89,177; Morales – $47,500; Lopez – $19,289.