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King is way behind in campaign funds

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Attorney General Gary King has a tough road ahead in his race for governor if early campaign fundraising tallies are any indication.

King raised about $91,000 for his 2014 gubernatorial campaign since October, according to a new campaign finance report filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. Meanwhile, King’s campaign spent $89,000 during that period, leaving about $103,000 cash on hand.

On the other side of the fence, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez reported growing her re-election campaign war chest to nearly $1.5 million cash on hand – a nearly 15-to-1 cash advantage over King in the early stages of the 2014 campaign season.

King is the only Democrat who has announced plans to run against Martinez to take her place as the state’s executive, the deadline for filing isn’t until early next year.

King said he’s established some campaign organization that spiked his expenses over the past six months, but said he hasn’t started a strong push for campaign cash.

“For me it’s a little early to be focusing on fundraising when I’m trying to focus so much on moving some of the projects we’re doing in the AG’s Office,” King said. “I understand that at some point in time, I’ll have to pick up the political part of what I do.”

The governor between October and April raised about $372,000 in political contributions, while spending about $119,000 on her re-election effort, according to her updated campaign finance report.

Martinez’s latest fundraising totals likely were tamped down by state rules that prohibit the governor from requesting campaign donations from Jan. 1 until 20 days after the legislative session ends.

Despite the governor’s inability to ask for campaign cash since January, she reported collecting more than 420 unsolicited contributions totaling nearly $75,000.

As attorney general, King was not prohibited from soliciting campaign donations during the session.

State Auditor Hector Balderas, a Democrat, also stood out in his recent campaign fundraising efforts, although the 2012 U.S. Senate candidate hasn’t said what race he plans to enter.

Balderas reported raising nearly $241,000 since October through an “exploratory campaign.” Balderas reported less than $3,000 in expenses, leaving about $238,000 cash on hand.

Some political insiders have speculated Balderas will run for attorney general in 2014. The only declared AG candidate, Democratic Public Regulation Commission member Jason Marks, reported nearly $23,000 raised since October.

Contact James Monteleone at
— This article appeared on page C01 of the Albuquerque Journal