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Incumbents report large fundraising totals

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Incumbent legislators in Chaves County did a great deal of fundraising in the last six months, even though most do not face any opposition in their bids for re-election.

Campaign finance reports filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office documenting fundraising activity from Oct. 8, 2019 to April 6, 2020 show a large amount of fundraising activity in races for the New Mexico House of Representatives and Senate. The deadline for campaigns to file those reports with the Secretary of State’s Office was April 13.

Some large donors, such as The Geo Group Inc., a Florida-based political action committee; Hospital Services Corporation in Albuquerque; the Exxon Mobil Corporation; and pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., based in Memphis Tennessee, each contributed to the re-election efforts of several local legislators, according to reports.

In one of the few contested races in Chaves County, state Rep. Greg Nibert, R-Roswell, had a big lead in fundraising as he runs for a third term in House District 59, which is made up of portions of Chaves and Lincoln counties.

Nibert hopes to fend off a challenge from Democrat Kimble Lee Kearns of Capitan in the November general election.

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According to reports, Nibert raised $12,525 between October and April, adding to his already sizable campaign war chest. He ended the period with a balance of $41,363.26.

Kearns, in the same period, took in $1,550, including $1,000 that he gave to his own campaign. Kearns ended the reporting period with $1,619.23 left in the bank.

He also received $690.40 of in-kind contributions from the New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee. In-kind contributions are non-monetary contributions made to a campaign.

In New Mexico’s Senate District 33, state Sen. William Burt, R-Alamogordo, maintains a significant fundraising edge over both his primary and general election opponents. Burt’s district includes portions of Chaves, Lincoln and Otero counties.

Records show Burt’s campaign received $9,350 in contributions and ended the six-month reporting period with $38,289.14 in cash on hand.

Burt faces fellow Republican Chris Hensley of Roswell in the June 2 primary. The winner will go up against Democrat Denise Lang-Browne in November.

Hensley did not have a campaign finance report posted on the Secretary of State’s website as of Wednesday. He said Tuesday he had submitted his report to the Secretary’s of State’s Office but said he was told it was not posted due to a technical error.

Lang-Browne of La Luza did not raise any money in the last six months, according to reports, but has $211.78 remaining in her campaign account.

No other incumbent lawmaker representing Chaves County has a primary or general election opponent. Nonetheless, their campaigns still received thousands of dollars in contributions.

State Rep. Phelps Anderson, R-Roswell, who is seeking a second consecutive term representing House District 66, raised $7,550 in the last six months. His campaign has $3,533 remaining in the bank.

Anderson’s district includes parts of Chaves, Lea and Roosevelt counties.

Longtime legislator Candy Spence Ezzell, a Republican from Roswell, added $2,600 in donations to her campaign war chest as she runs unopposed for a ninth term in her southern Chaves County New Mexico House seat.

Ezzell, who is House Republican caucus chair, ended the fundraising period with $9,957.34 cash on hand.

State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, who is running for a third term in the New Mexico Senate, raised $13,550 between October and April. At the end of the fundraising period, he had $29,387.33 in cash on hand, according to reports.

One donation, a $5,000 contribution from Devon Energy Production Company in Oklahoma, made up nearly half of Pirtle’s fundraising haul during the reporting period, according to reports.

No fundraising report for state Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, had been posted on the Secretary of State’s website as of Wednesday.

The two leading Republicans in the state Legislature had big fundraising totals in the last six months, according to reports.

Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, took in $52,400 and ended the period with $92,966.82 in the bank. The contributions included $1,000 that Ingle gave to his own campaign, according to reports.

Ingle’s district encompasses parts of Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Lea and Roosevelt counties.

House Minority Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, raised $51,175 for his re-election campaign. He ends the fundraising period with $81,365 remaining in his campaign account.

Townsend’s House District 54 encompasses Chaves, Eddy and Otero Counties.

To keep up with coverage of this and other 2020 elections of local and regional interest, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/elections/.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

 

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