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Martinez Rakes in Dough in Run-Up

By Barry Massey
Associated Press
          SANTA FE — Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez collected $450,000 in campaign contributions during the critical closing weeks of the primary race from wealthy Texas donors who are nationally prominent supporters of conservative causes.
        The contributions from Bob Perry, a Houston homebuilder, and his wife, Doylene, accounted for $3 of every $5 raised by Martinez during the past three weeks, according to a campaign finance report filed by the candidate on Friday.
        The money helped Martinez finance a blitz of television and radio advertising as Tuesday's primary neared. She and former state GOP Chairman Allen Weh are front-runners in a five-way GOP gubernatorial contest, and the money from Perry came as Martinez and Weh exchanged hard-hitting attack ads.
        Martinez raised $721,318 during the past three weeks and spent $711,513, with more than 60 percent of that going for TV and radio advertising.
        Perry is no stranger to national or New Mexico politics. He helped bankroll Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which ran ads against Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
        The Perrys gave nearly $240,000 to the 2002 gubernatorial campaign of John Sanchez, who lost to Democrat Bill Richardson. Perry also made six-figure contributions to the state GOP in 2008 and gave hefty donations in 2006 to the state GOP and its nominees for attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state and auditor.
        Weh served as GOP chairman from 2004 to 2009, when Perry was a donor to the party and its candidates.
        Perry gave $350,000 to Martinez, and his wife contributed $100,000.
        Perry spokesman Anthony Holm said Perry gave to Martinez to help finance her TV ads and ensure she has "an opportunity to get her message of integrity out to the people."
        Perry supports Martinez because "he believes she is reformer with a strong voice who represents the future of the Republican Party."
        Weh's campaign spent $940,593 since early this month, with more than $700,000 going for broadcast advertising. Weh lent his campaign $600,000 during the past three weeks, bringing to $1.6 million the amount of personal money he has put into the race. The loans represent 70 percent of the $2.2 million in monetary and in-kind contributions Weh has collected since launching his campaign last year. Martinez has raised nearly $1.5 million.
        The winner of the GOP race will face Democrat Diane Denish in the November general election. Denish, the lieutenant governor since 2003, is unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
        Denish has more than $2.6 million stockpiled in her campaign account. She raised $464,948 since early May and spent $521,449, with nearly 70 percent of that for TV and radio advertising.
        The Democratic Governors Association gave $100,000 to Denish; $75,000 came from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and $25,000 was contributed by EMILY's List, a national group that backs female candidates who support abortion rights.
        Martinez had a cash balance of $139,145 in her campaign account with a week to go to Election Day. Weh had a cash balance of $52,820.
        GOP gubernatorial Doug Turner had $55,531 in his campaign account after spending $200,936 and raising $26,545 during the past three weeks, according to a finance report he filed Friday. Pete Domenici Jr. raised $81,155, spent $96,752 and had a cash balance of $9,261. Janice Arnold-Jones had cash-on-hand of $8,378. She raised $21,945 and spent $35,690.
       


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