SANTA FE – A fifth independent legislative candidate has qualified for the ballot, a sharp increase over the last few election cycles.
This year’s crop is up to five after Enrique Cardiel’s designation was changed from a minor party to “decline to state” in election paperwork, the label for voters and candidate who have no affiliation.
Cardiel, who works in public health, said he is running on his own merits and just happens to be independent, not part of a broader slate of candidates. He is a former president of the South San Pedro Neighborhood Association.
Cardiel is now in a three-way race for an open House seat in the International District of Albuquerque, alongside Democrat Janelle Anyanonu, an office manager and member of the New Mexico Black Central Organizing Committee, and Republican Kathleen Jackson.
Anyanonu is coming off a big win in the Democratic primary, where she picked up 77% of the vote in a two-person race.
Cardiel and Anyanonu started this month with about the same amount of campaign cash.
Cardiel has about $12,866 in cash on hand. He is supported by donations from a host of Democratic elected officials, including state Rep. Debbie Sariñana of Albuquerque, Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena of Mesilla, Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley.
Anyanonu has about $12,204 in her account after the contested primary. She is also backed by a lineup of Democratic officials, including donations from House Speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe and House Majority Leader Javier Martínez, Rep. Joy Garratt and Rep. Elizabeth Thomson, all of Albuquerque.
Jackson has $3,915 in her campaign account.
POLITICAL CASH: Campaign finance reports due this week closed the book on the June 7 primary and provided a peek at the political action committees that will be active heading into the general election.
For example, the committee supporting Republican candidates for the state House ended the reporting period with a cash advantage over a similar Democratic committee.
The GOP campaign committee reported nearly $471,000 in cash on hand, with help from hefty contributions by Republican Rep. Larry Scott of Hobbs and the Yates family of Artesia, who are involved in the oil and gas industry.
The Speaker Fund, which supports Democratic House candidates, reported $388,000 in cash on hand. Its big contributors included the AFSCME labor union and a Conservation Voters of New Mexico committee.
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