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Politics Notebook: Gary Johnson gives $100,000 to his Senate campaign

Gary Johnson

SANTA FE – Gary Johnson is pumping some of his own money – $100,000 to start with – into his U.S. Senate run.

The former governor, a Republican-turned-Libertarian who jumped into the race this month to fill a vacant ballot spot, was making the contribution on Monday, his longtime communications director, Joe Hunter, told the Journal.

And Johnson is prepared to give more to his campaign in the coming weeks, he added.

“Gary feels strongly he wants to put his own money toward the effort,” Hunter said, while also citing many small outside donations Johnson has gotten since he announced his campaign.

The self-financing could help Johnson launch campaign ads and pay for other campaign operations, though he still likely has far less cash on hand than incumbent Martin Heinrich, a Democrat who reported nearly $4 million in his campaign account at the end of June.

The third candidate in the race, Republican Mick Rich of Albuquerque, was trailing far behind Heinrich in fundraising at the latest reporting deadline, with nearly $200,000

As a Libertarian, Johnson probably can’t count on deep-pocketed national groups coming to his assistance, though an independent expenditure group, or super PAC, called Elect Liberty PAC was recently created to support his campaign.

GOV. IN JAPAN: Gov. Susana Martinez is in Japan for most of this week, taking part in a National Governors Association trade mission with two other governors.

Martinez left on Saturday and will not return to New Mexico until Friday, a spokeswoman said. She plans to take part in NGA-sponsored meetings for several days and then remain in Japan for two additional days.

The Governor’s Office did not provide additional details about the nature of the meetings, which follow previous meetings with Japanese officials this summer.

In July, Martinez met in Santa Fe with Kentaro Sonoura, a special adviser to Japan’s prime minister, according to her online daily calendar. That meeting occurred while New Mexico was hosting the NGA’s summer meeting.

Others on the current Japan trip include Kentucky Gov. Matt Blevins, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Nebraska Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, according to the Nebraska Radio Network.

The NGA will cover the costs of Martinez’s travel and accommodations in Japan for the first four days of her trip, with state taxpayers paying for the rest of her stay.

Per the state Constitution, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez serves as acting governor while Martinez is traveling out of state.

Dan Boyd: