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Biggest spenders won seats on APS board

A00_jd_17apr_APS-board-financeThe biggest spender was the winner in each of February’s Albuquerque Public Schools board races.

The amount of money spent by each of the 10 candidates, who were running for three seats, ranged from zero – District 4 candidate Charles “Ched” MacQuigg, and up to $26,385 – District 4 candidate Barbara Petersen.

According to mandatory reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, Petersen was the biggest spender in the District 4 race by a long shot, raising $31,987 and spending more than her four opponents combined.

She won with nearly two-thirds of the votes. According to her finance report, $26,500 of the Petersen’s contributions came from national and local unions.

Her next-closest opponent, in both votes and money, Mark Gilboard, raised $5,662, which all came from individuals.

In the District 2 race, the most contentious of the three, Peggy Muller-Aragon defeated incumbent Kathy Korte, an outspoken critic of the governor’s education policies.

Muller-Aragon spent more than double the cash Korte did, and most of it came from a single donor – Gov. Susana Martinez’s re-election campaign.

According to Muller-Aragon’s campaign finance reports posted on the New Mexico secretary of state’s website, Muller-Aragon raised $631.06.

That report, however, didn’t include a $15,000 contribution from the governor’s re-election campaign, of which Muller-Aragon spent about $14,000, she said.

Korte, meanwhile, raised $7,828.90 and spent $5,455, according to campaign finance reports. The local teachers union contributed $2,500 to Korte’s campaign, and the rest came from individuals.

“It’s pretty obvious my contributions came from regular people,” Korte told the Journal on Wednesday.

Korte’s finance report did not appear on the secretary of state’s website on Tuesday, which the Journal reported.

Korte on Wednesday said had indeed filed on time, and her report was posted on the website Wednesday.

Ken Ortiz, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said Korte had filled out her finance report on the website but didn’t hit the button to submit the report until Wednesday morning, and that’s why her report didn’t appear initially.

Korte said Martinez’s contribution allowed Muller-Aragon to send out mailers with “nasty, horrible lies” about her.

“In this case, the governor just bought a board of education seat,” Korte said.

Muller-Aragon disagreed.

She said people voted for her because of her experience as a teacher and other qualities.

“I believe I won the election because of my background in education, my dedication and because I promised to be objective,” said Muller-Aragon, who added she was happy to have the governor’s support but Martinez “has never asked anything of me.”

Muller-Aragon said she will report the governor’s contribution on her next finance report because she actually spent the money after the reporting deadline.

The campaign contributions covered in this reporting period include money spent and received by most candidates and political committees from Nov. 30, 2014, through April 6.

Martinez had reported the $15,000 contribution on her finance report.

Ideally, Muller-Aragon would have reported the $15,000 contribution during the last reporting period because that’s when she received it, Ortiz said.

But according to the state’s campaign finance laws she is allowed to report it during the next reporting period, Ortiz said.

In the District 1 race, incumbent Analee Maestas outspent both her challengers and took more than 72 percent of the vote. The majority of her money came from individuals, with $1,000 coming from the local teachers union and $250 coming from political action committees.

She raised $4,835, while her opponents Madelyn Jones and Colt Balok raised $300 and $621 respectively.

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