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Martinez Spent Nearly $7M To Win Governor’s Race

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Denish’s campaign committee spent almost $8.6 million since her 2006 re-election as lieutenant governor, including about $7.5 million since May 2009

SANTA FE — Republican Susana Martinez spent about $6.8 to win the race for New Mexico governor, according to state finance reports.

Martinez raised almost $7.3 million in monetary and in-kind contributions for her primary and general election campaigns. She launched her gubernatorial bid in mid-2009.

Martinez takes office on Jan. 1. She defeated Democrat Diane Denish, a two-term lieutenant governor, in the Nov. 2 general election.

Denish’s campaign committee spent almost $8.6 million since her 2006 re-election as lieutenant governor, according to a review of finance reports by The Associated Press. About $7.5 million of those expenditures were made since May 2009.

Both candidates flooded the airwaves during the campaign with hard-hitting advertising.

Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson waged the most expensive campaign by a gubernatorial candidate in New Mexico history, spending almost $12 million on his 2006 re-election. Richardson was term limited and could not run again this year.

Martinez had a balance of about $375,000 in her campaign account as of last month. Denish ended with a balance of $187,462.

The latest campaign finance reports, which were filed Thursday with the Secretary of State’s Office, cover fundraising from Oct. 27 through Nov. 27. Martinez collected $312,003 in contributions during that time, with about $30,400 since the general election.

The day after the general election a new state law took effect limiting campaign contributions to $5,000 per election to a statewide candidate such as governor. New Mexico previously allowed statewide and legislative candidates and political committees to accept contributions of any amount.

On Election Day, Martinez received $50,000 from Intrepid Potash Inc., a Denver-based company that operates mines in New Mexico.

Oil and natural gas operators contributed at least $85,000 to Martinez during the latest reporting period, including $20,000 from Artesia-based Yates Petroleum. Two businesswomen from Abilene, Texas, Julia Jones Matthews and Dian Graves Stai, each contributed $20,000.

Martinez spent $510,833 since late October, with about half of that since Election Day. The campaign paid for lodging last month in San Diego, where Martinez attended a meeting of the Republican Governors Association.

Denish raised $335,747 since late October and spent $500,698, including $120,000 for TV ads.

Her largest contributions included $106,000 from EMILY’s List, a national group that backs female candidates who support abortion rights; and $54,850 from Vote New Mexico, a political action committee with strong labor union backing. EMILY’s List previously had contributed $110,000 to Denish.

The Democratic Governors Association gave $75,000 to Denish shortly before the election, bringing to more than $1 million the cumulative contributions and TV ads on her behalf during the campaign.

Denish contributed $10,000 to her campaign and her husband gave $5,000.