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          Front Page  news  state

Martinez Gets Biggest Donation of Campaign

By Sean Olson
Of the Journal
          The Republican Governors Association has dumped $500,000 into gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez's campaign, a Washington Post blog, The Fix, is reporting.
        The contribution would be the largest donation in the campaign so far for either candidate.
        Martinez earlier received contributions totalling $450,000 from Bob Perry and his wife, Doylene — Texas conservatives credited with financing the Swift Boat group that campaigned against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004.
        The RGA also donated $250,000 to Martinez at the end of the primary campaign. The new donation would increase the total from the group to $750,000.
        Martinez's opponent, Democrat Diane Denish, has been receiving help from the RGA's counterpart, the Democratic Governors Association. The DGA has already paid for two ads "saturating" New Mexico's television airwaves that attack Martinez.
        The deadline for candidates to file their next campaign finance reports with the state is Monday.
        A bill to limit campaign contributions in state election contests was passed by the Legislature in 2009 and was signed by Gov. Bill Richardson, but it does not take effect until the day after the Nov. 2 election.
        Denish silent on supporter: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Diane Denish's campaign refused to comment on the National Education Association television ad supporting Denish that features a Las Cruces teacher whose ex-husband was prosecuted by Republican candidate Susana Martinez's District Attorney's Office.
        "While we don't comment on our or any other group's media strategy, we certainly share NEA's goal of making sure New Mexico's next governor is someone who wants to strengthen public education rather than cut classroom funding — which would mean larger class sizes," Denish campaign spokesman Chris Cervini said Thursday.
        Martinez, a district attorney based in Las Cruces, supervised the prosecution, which led to a 23-year sentence for Jesus Carmona.
        The teacher, Freda Trujillo, endorses Denish's education plan in the ad.
        In a statement to the Journal this week, Trujillo said that her ex-husband belonged in jail and that Martinez had done her job properly putting him there.
        Trujillo married Carmona in 2004, about two years after Carmona was originally charged with beating his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping. Carmona wasn't sentenced until 2007.
        The Journal asked the Denish campaign whether it knew about the NEA's ad ahead of time, whether it had approved it ahead of time and whether it approved of the ad now that information about Trujillo's ex-husband had surfaced.
        The campaign did not respond to any of the questions.

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