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Plame leads Serna by a hair in CD3 money race

SANTA FE, N.M. — Former CIA operative and author Valerie Plame is leading the fundraising race among candidates for northern New Mexico’s U.S. House seat, raising more than $236,000 thorough June, according to filings published by the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

Close to Plame was Santa Fe District Attorney Marco Serna, who has raised $232,940 for the contest to succeed U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján — who’s running for Senate — in the 3rd Congressional District.

Santa Fe attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez was not far behind the two leaders, with $193,122. All three are Democrats.

Monday was the deadline for candidates for federal office in 2020 to turn in their first quarterly campaign finance reports to the FEC.

Among Plame’s donors are entertainment A-listers including actors Bryan Cranston, Naomi Watts, Michael Douglas and singer David Crosby. Watts, who donated $2,000, played Plame in the 2010 movie “Fair Game,” about the outing of Plame as CIA agent amid the political fights over the Iraq War during President George W. Bush’s administration.

“I’m a first-time candidate and not a political insider,” Plame said in a news release. “I don’t have connections to lobbyists or a donor base I can go back to. I’m proud that we raised as much as we did and that we had almost 4,000 grassroots donations.”

Plame has spent about $42,000, meaning she had $200,000 on hand. Serna has spent less than Plame, about $14,400, leaving Serna with more cash in the bank, $218,511.

Electric utility PNM has donated $2,800 to Serna’s campaign. Several of his top individual donors, donating $5,600 each, are from out of state. “We are working hard for the entire district, and by raising nearly a quarter of a million dollars for our grassroots campaign we know our fight is resonating with New Mexicans,” Serna said in a release.

Leger Fernandez has spent just over $24,000. She received $5,000 from EMILY’s List, the D.C.-based political action committee that backs female candidates. The PAC endorsed her last month.

With nearly all donors from New Mexico, Democratic State Rep. Joseph Sanchez of Alcalde raised $42,520, spending just under $3,500 before the quarter’s end. Sanchez received $1,000 donations from Ohkay Owingeh pueblo and Española mayor Javier Sanchez.

According to the filing for former state and federal government employee Rob Apodaca, the Democratic candidate has received approximately $36,000 in donations, not including a $65,000 loan he’s committed to his own campaign. The Pubelo of Pojoaque donated $5,600. He’s spent only $3,358.

Many of the donations for the Democrat candidates, including most of Plame’s  Leger Fernandez’s, and Apodaca’s totals, were through ActBlue, a software nonprofit that provides a donation platform for Democratic donors.

Prior to announcing his withdrawal from the race on Tuesday morning, Republican Brett Kokinadis reported $300 in contributions and an $8,000 loan to his own campaign. He ended the quarter with $286 after spending more than $7,900 so far.

Reports for Democrats candidates Gavin Kaiser, Rob Apodaca, Laura Montoya and Republican candidate Audra Lee Brown had not been filed as of late Monday.

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