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Union PACs Among Top Donors to Tom Udall's Campaign in NM

By Barry Massey/
Associated Press
      
    SANTA FE — Indian tribes with gambling operations and labor union political committees were leading sources of campaign money for Democrat Tom Udall's Senate campaign during the first quarter of the year.
    Political action committees affiliated with organized labor provided at least $82,500 to Udall's campaign from January through March, according to a campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Among the largest contributors were PACs of the Teamsters and United Auto Workers unions, which each gave $10,000.
    More than a dozen Indian tribes from across the country donated $29,300 to Udall. Among them were the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in California, $4,300, and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, $4,000.
    Udall is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in the June 3 primary election. New Mexico's other two congressmen, Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson, are vying for the Republican nomination in the race to succeed incumbent Pete Domenici, who is retiring.
    Udall, who represents the 3rd Congressional District of northern New Mexico, was the leading fundraiser in the Senate race during the first three months of the year. He collected almost $1.3 million in contributions, Wilson received about $515,000 and Pearce netted about $467,000.
    Arts and entertainment celebrities also were among Udall's financial supporters.
    Film director and writer Nora Ephron gave $1,000. Best-selling author Stuart Woods donated $1,000 and science writer and author James Gleick contributed $1,000.
    Udall's campaign received $39,900 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He also received contributions from political committees affiliated with several Democratic U.S. senators, including $10,000 from the PACs of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Dick Durbin of Illinois and $7,500 from New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez's PAC.
    Among Wilson's top contributors were PACs of Republicans in the U.S. Senate. She received $5,000 each from PACs affiliated with Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Christopher Bond of Missouri and Orrin Hatch of Utah, and $2,500 from Indiana Sen. Dick Lujar's PAC.
    Wilson received $4,000 from executives of an Ohio-based real estate development company, Forest City Enterprises, which is involved in Mesa Del Sol, a residential and commercial development near the Albuquerque International Sunport.
    Pojoaque Pueblo, which operates a casino and resort north of Santa Fe, contributed $2,300 to Wilson, who represents the Albuquerque-area 1st Congressional District.
    Pearce received about $10,000 from oil and gas industry PACs, including $5,000 from Chesapeake Energy's PAC. The Oklahoma-based company is an independent producer of natural gas. Members of New Mexico's Yates family, whose members operate oil and gas companies, gave at least $11,700 to Pearce. Included was $2,300 from Frank Yates Jr. of Artesia, president of Yates Petroleum.
    Pearce, who represents the 2nd Congressional District of southern New Mexico, once owned an oilfield services company in Hobbs.
    Pearce received $5,000 from the leadership PAC of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
    Pojoaque Pueblo contributed $2,300 to Pearce and Laguna Pueblo, which operates a casino, gave $1,000.


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