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$2.2M raised in ABQ mayoral campaigns

Mayoral candidates and committees trying to affect the outcome of the mayoral race have already raised more than $2.2 million.

And that doesn’t include $343,000 in taxpayer funds that publicly financed mayoral candidate Tim Keller received to run his campaign or the $508,000 that Ricardo Chaves poured into his own campaign coffers before pulling out of the race Thursday.

Brian Colón, an attorney and former Democratic Party chairman, was still leading in the money race, having raised nearly $824,000 for his mayoral run, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports filed Friday.

Election Day is Tuesday.

According to online campaign finance records:

⋄  Colón had spent $798,000 and had $25,600 in the bank.

⋄  City Councilor Dan Lewis had raised more than $555,000 and had $32,000 on hand.

⋄  County Commissioner Wayne Johnson had taken in $341,000 in campaign cash and had $11,000 left.

⋄  Keller received $380,000 in public finance dollars and other contributions and had only $500 left.

⋄  Michelle Garcia Holmes, a retired detective and former attorney general chief of staff, received nearly $45,000 in contributions and had about $9,800 left.

⋄  Gus Pedrotty, a recent University of New Mexico graduate, raised $17,500 and had $4,800 left.

⋄  Susan Wheeler-Deichsel, co-founder of Urban ABQ, had received contributions of $13,000 and had a negative balance of $1,500, although she hadn’t filed her Friday campaign report as of press time.

Keller, Colón, Lewis and Johnson are the top four candidates in the mayor’s race, according to a Journal Poll, and it’s not a coincidence that they’re four of the five candidates who had the most money for their campaigns, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc.

“Money is important,” he said. “With that money they can get their message across to the voters. None of these people were household names three months ago. They needed the money to get their message across.”

Much of the money raised has been spent on ads that have been blanketing the television airwaves for weeks.

Colón said he had to raise money because he’s the only top-tier candidate who isn’t an elected official.

“It’s never easy (to raise money), but I think our message has resonated with the community,” he said. “They invested in us, and we got the message out.”

Two local political action committees have also raised significant amounts of money.

ABQ Forward Together, which has been backed by unions, raised $360,000 to support Keller’s bid. The committee had $37,000 in the bank.

Make Albuquerque Safe, a committee backed by the owner of Santolina, raised $60,000 to oppose Keller and had spent all but $5,700 of that.

“Money plays a major role in determining success or outcome,” Sanderoff said. “However, it’s no guarantee. If you have the wrong candidate, all the money in the world is not necessarily going to guarantee victory.”

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