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Super PAC forms with oil industry ties

A new super PAC with ties to a oil trucking company owner who lives in northern New Mexico has been formed, most likely to target candidates in a district in the southwestern part of the state.

Federal election records show that Butch Mathews, owner of Farmington-based M & R Trucking, recently filed documents for a super PAC called Citizens for a United New Mexico.

Records on the U.S. Federal Election Commission’s website list Mathews as treasurer of the super PAC, which has a mailing address in Carlsbad, 460 miles from Farmington.

M & R Trucking has worked in the oil and gas industry for about three decades. The company is active in the natural gas region of the Four Corners and the oil-rich Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico.

It’s unclear which candidates the super PAC will target. Citizens for a United New Mexico “intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts,” according to documents in its filing.

Mathews did not return a phone message.

Filings also list Charles Gantt of Beverly, Massachusetts, as “custodian of records” of the super PAC. Gant runs a company called Bulldog Compliance, a division of Red Curve Solutions. Bulldog Compliance helps “independent expenditure-only committees (Super PACs) and other fundraising-driven organizations,” according to its website. He has been linked to the Trump For President Committee, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and conservative-leaning Massachusetts super PACs.

The creation of Citizens for a United New Mexico comes as two Republican candidates are locked in a heated primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small for a crucial seat in southern New Mexico.

Former state Rep. Yvette Herrell earned top billing during a statewide GOP convention on a two-way Republican primary ballot for the state’s 2nd Congressional District. She won roughly twice as many delegate votes as conservative oil executive Claire Chase.

Herrell and Chase have criticized each other over their alleged lack of support of President Donald Trump or support of New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

Carlsbad is in Torres Small’s congressional district.