Mayoral candidates pour money into media buys - Albuquerque Journal

Mayoral candidates pour money into media buys

From left, Eddy Aragon, Manny Gonzales and Tim Keller.

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Spending in the Albuquerque mayor’s race has accelerated with the ballot’s three candidates pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into commercials, mailers and even billboards.

Incumbent Tim Keller spent $163,692 in the latest campaign finance reporting period, documents show. Most of it went to media buys.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales’ mayoral campaign, meanwhile, reported spending $153,141, nearly all of it to McCleskey Media Strategies for television ads and mailers.

Mayoral candidate Eddy Aragon spent $30,678. His biggest expense was for TV ads on Fox News, though he also spent nearly $2,500 on billboards.

With the Nov. 2 election fast approaching, the city requires more frequent campaign finance reporting. The latest reports, due Monday, cover just 11 days – Oct. 5 through Oct. 15 – compared to previous reports that encompassed about a month.

Keller is running on public financing, capping his spending at $661,000 and barring him from taking any more cash donations. He has just over $150,000 remaining in his coffers, reports show.

That’s compared to Gonzales ($244,219) and Aragon ($10,041), who are fundraising from private donors.

But Keller still has some independent support.

The Build Back Burque political action committee working for Keller’s reelection raised $84,276 in the most recent period – including $75,000 from the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees.

That is more than Gonzales’ campaign ($64,590), Aragon’s campaign ($15,263) and the Gonzales-supporting PAC ($3,500) raised combined.

But, for the second straight reporting period, the biggest fundraiser and spender in the city election was New Mexico United for All, a PAC formed to promote the city’s $50 million stadium bond.

The committee received another $280,000 from New Mexico United, the second-tier professional soccer team slated to occupy the proposed stadium through a lease agreement with the city. United has been the sole contributor to the PAC, having now given $840,000 in cash and over $28,000 more via in-kind goods and services.

The pro-stadium PAC spent just over $330,000 of that cash in the latest reporting period.

That is more in 11 days than every candidate in this year’s five Albuquerque City Council races has spent combined on this year’s election, according to the city’s campaign finance reporting system.

Other notes from the latest reports:

— Healthy Economies Lead to Progress, a PAC raising funds to support council candidates Renee Grout, Dan Lewis, Lori Robertson and Louie Sanchez, spent $73,865 this period. The Commercial Association of Realtors New Mexico made the largest contribution, at $10,000.

— The ABQ Workers First PAC spent $48,822, and took in $20,000 from labor unions. It is fundraising and spending in support of Keller and council candidates Cynthia Borrego, Lan Sena and Rob Grilley and in opposition to Grout, Lewis and Sanchez.


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