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Lujan Grisham has healthy war chest for governor’s race

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham has raised nearly $893,000 in cash to support her campaign for New Mexico governor – a robust figure at this point in the election cycle.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is the highest-profile candidate in the race to succeed Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who’s in her second term. She reported having $741,000 in cash on hand.

Plenty of other Democrats are also weighing whether to enter the race – including state Attorney General Hector Balderas, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, media executive Jeff Apodaca and Santa Fe businessman Alan Webber.

Monday was the first of two deadlines this year to report fundraising.

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Balderas reported about $212,000 in contributions and $683,000 in cash on hand. Cervantes reported about $192,000 in contributions and a balance of $245,000.

The others didn’t file reports with the state by 5 p.m.

Lujan Grisham’s fundraising total, in any case, shows donors are ready to donate now rather than wait, said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., which does scientific surveys for the Journal.

“The thing that makes it notable,” he said, “is it shows that many contributors aren’t hedging their bets and waiting to see what other formidable Democratic candidates may enter the Democratic primary election.”

The primary is in June 2018.

The field on the Republican side is wide open. Potential candidates include U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez.

Sanchez reported $14,000 in contributions and a cash balance of $232,000. The others didn’t file.

Lujan Grisham announced her campaign in mid-December, seeking to establish herself as the favorite in the race. She won election to the U.S. House in 2012 and represents an Albuquerque-based district.

Before that, she served on the Bernalillo County Commission and worked as a state Cabinet secretary under three New Mexico governors.

“I am humbled that so many have responded to my message and invested in my candidacy,” Lujan Grisham said in a written statement Monday.

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