Dinelli moves closer to public financing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mayoral candidate Pete Dinelli today turned in the last of some 5,000 signatures and qualifying contributions needed to secure public financing of his campaign.

The Albuquerque city clerk now must certify that at least 3,621 of the $5 qualifying contributions came from registered voters in Albuquerque. If so, Dinelli will get about $362,000 in public funds for his campaign.

His campaign says he’s the only candidate with a serious shot at winning public funds this year. Two other candidates, Paul Heh and incumbent Richard Berry, are privately financing their campaigns.

A fourth candidate, Margaret Aragon de Chavez, has also said she’ll seek public financing, and I’ll check in with her today. The deadline to gather contributions was Sunday, and they must be turned in today.

Dinelli, a Democrat, said he supports the public financing system. It ensures candidates have grass-roots support and that they aren’t financially beholden to big donors, he said

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