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Haaland, Sedillo Lopez lead money race in 1st Congressional District

SANTA FE – Debra Haaland – campaigning to become the first Native American woman in Congress – easily outdistanced her Democratic rivals in fundraising during a recent three-month period.

She raised $294,000 in outside contributions during the reporting period – nearly twice that of her closest rival – in her bid to win the open U.S. House seat covering much of the Albuquerque area. More than $30,000 of that amount came from 15 different tribal groups around the country.

But retired law professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez holds an edge in total cash on hand heading into the campaign’s last 50 days, thanks, in part, to strong fundraising in previous quarters.

Sedillo Lopez, a former associate dean at the University of New Mexico law school, raised about $151,000 in outside contributions this quarter and now has about $457,000 in her campaign account, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Haaland, a former state Democratic Party chairwoman who came in first with about 35 percent of the delegate vote at last month’s pre-primary convention, has about $347,000 in cash. Her strong quarter comes after she was featured in The New York Times as an example of the historic number of Native American women running for office this year. Haaland is an enrolled Laguna Pueblo member.

Damon Martinez, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, also posted hefty figures. He raised $145,000 in contributions and has $277,000 in cash.

Three other Democratic candidates – Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis; Paul Moya, CEO of Millennial Labs; and Damian Lara, president of the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association – trailed the top fundraisers.

The race in the 1st Congressional District is wide open as Democratic incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham is running for governor rather than seek re-election. The winner of the June 5 primary election would face Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton in the fall.

Meanwhile, former state GOP chairman Monty Newman of Hobbs continues to lead the money race in a four-way Republican primary race for the southern New Mexico-based 2nd Congressional District seat.

Newman reported raising $147,985 in contributions and has $368,769 in his campaign war chest, while state Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo took in $113,954 in donations and has $256,129 in her campaign account.

Former Trump administration official Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces and Clayburn Griffin of Lovington trail the two top money-raisers.

On the Democratic side, Las Cruces water attorney Xochitl Torres Small reported $313,332 in contributions and has $243,409 in available campaign cash. Her lone Democratic rival, Mad Hildebrandt of Socorro, had not filed a report as of late Monday.

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., announced last summer he would forgo re-election and run for governor, leaving two of New Mexico’s three congressional seats open.

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