Gonzales, a former state Democratic Party chairman, is the first Santa Fe mayoral candidate to publicly say that he’s qualified for the $60,000 in public funds the city is allocating to mayoral contenders who collect 600 contributions of $5 apiece.
“I’ve always stated from the time I got into this race that public financing was going to be the only option for me and if I didn’t reach the threshold needed then I wouldn’t run at all,” Gonzales told the Journal.
Gonzales has run a relatively large operation in collecting the contributions. Among other things, he said he had the help of a 60-member steering committee and 15 or so donation-soliciting “house parties.” He has another 15 parties planned over the next few weeks.
Gonzales said “the beauty of public financing” is that it’s required him to really get into the community and elucidate his vision of Santa Fe to voters.
All the major Santa Fe mayoral candidates have said they plan to seek public financing money. In addition to Gonzales, City Councilors Bill Dimas, Patti Bushee and Rebecca Wurzburger are running for mayor, as is former Santa Fe County manager Roman Abeyta, hotel night auditor Michael D’Anna and native Santa Fean Margaret Josina Campos.
Candidates are required to turn their qualifying donations into the city clerk on Nov. 18.
Gonzales said his campaign will continue to seek small contributions from Santa Fe residents because, although he’s comfortable with the validity of what he’s already gathered, it’s “better safe than sorry.”