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Politics Notebook: Candidates face fundraising ‘blackout’

For several New Mexico gubernatorial candidates, there will be an added sense of urgency to rake in campaign contributions during the coming month.

That’s because of a temporary fundraising “blackout” during legislative sessions that applies to all 112 state lawmakers and Gov. Susana Martinez.

Two of the five candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination are legislators – state Sens. Howie Morales of Silver City and Linda Lopez of Albuquerque – and the state law will bar them raising campaign funds from Jan. 1 through Feb. 20.

For Martinez, a Republican who is seeking re-election next year to a second term, the restricted period is even longer – Jan. 1 through March 12.

The restricted periods are intended to reduce the possibility of undue influence during legislative sessions. New Mexico is one of 29 states that have laws limiting such contributions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

However, the restricted period will not affect the three other announced Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Attorney General Gary King, Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber and longtime government veteran Lawrence Rael.

Also, the blackout period does not apply to independent political committees, which can spend money on behalf of candidates but cannot coordinate directly with campaigns.

BOOK TOUR: Former Gov. Bill Richardson will be on a New Mexico bookstore tour next week.

Richardson, a Democrat who left office at the end of 2010, is scheduled to make stops in Santa Fe and Albuquerque to tout his recently released book, “How to Sweet-Talk a Shark: Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator.”

The book, the third penned by Richardson, details his diplomatic negotiations with Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. Before he was governor, Richardson was a U.S. representative and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The first book-signing event will be held in Santa Fe on Tuesday at Collected Works bookstore. Richardson will be in Albuquerque on Thursday at Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW.

Dan Boyd can be reached at