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Politics Notebook: Ruling may help GOP hopeful

SANTA FE – The state GOP’s pick for secretary of state could benefit from a fellow Republican’s lawsuit about transferring federal campaign funds for use in state-level races.

Gavin Clarkson, a professor from Las Cruces, reported in May having $54,816 in his congressional campaign account.

He ultimately came in third in a four-way GOP primary for an open southern New Mexico congressional seat, but he was selected last weekend by the Republican Party State Central Committee to be the party’s secretary of state candidate after the previous nominee withdrew from the race.

A Clarkson campaign spokesman said Monday that it would “make sense” to transfer the money left over from his congressional campaign but that Clarkson was still waiting for final certification of his candidacy.

Steve Pearce, the Republican candidate for governor, won a federal court ruling last year that set a precedent and allowed him to transfer more than $783,000 from his federal campaign account to his gubernatorial campaign.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, had previously said such a transfer would violate the state’s campaign contribution limits, which took effect after the 2010 general election.

Clarkson will be running in the November election against Toulouse Oliver, who was first elected in a special election in 2016. Libertarian candidate Sandra Jeff will also be on the ballot.

Santa Fe spotlight: Governors aren’t the only ones coming to Santa Fe for official meetings – secretaries of state from around the nation are planning to hold a big gathering of their own in the City Different.

The National Association of Secretaries of State will hold its 2019 summer conference in Santa Fe, Toulouse Oliver recently announced. Her office submitted a bid for the conference that was ultimately selected by the bipartisan organization.

The conference will bring together top election officials and will mark the second consecutive year that Santa Fe will have hosted a gathering of state elected officials from around the nation.

Later this month, the National Governors Association will hold its 2018 summer meetings in New Mexico’s capital city, an event that’s expected to draw roughly 1,500 attendees, including foreign dignitaries from more than a dozen countries.

Next year’s gathering of secretaries of state might not be quite as big a draw, but Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said it will boost the city’s economy while putting Santa Fe on a national stage.

The event is scheduled for June 30 through July 3, 2019.

Dan Boyd: dboyd@abqjournal.com

 

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