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Legislative candidates see drop in fundraising


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The flow of money into most local legislative candidates slowed or ceased altogether in late May and throughout June.

Of the 10 candidates for New Mexico House and Senate seats representing Chaves County who won their respective party nominations in the June 2 primary, only two increased their fundraising totals from the previous period, according to reports filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office.

Fourth Primary reports, which cover campaign fundraising and spending between May 27 and June 29, were required to be filed by July 2.

State Sen. William Burt, R-Alamagordo, raised the most during the fundraising quarter, receiving a total of $3,290.67. In the same period, his campaign also spent $2,333.19.

Upon filing the reports, Burt, whose Senate District 33 seat represents portions of Chaves, Lincoln and Otero counties, had $37,448.24 remaining in his campaign war chest.

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However, that amount in contributions is less than the $5,600 his campaign took in between May 5 and 26, the period documented in the Third Primary Report.

Burt is the only local state senator with a general election opponent.

Democrat Denise Lang-Brown of La Luz will face Burt in the November election. According to the latest reports, her campaign did not receive any contributions in the latest fundraising period, compared to $334 in the third quarter.

Altogether, Lang-Brown spent $12 during the late-May through June period. Her campaign has $484.82 left on hand.

Reports from the latest fundraising period for the campaign of Christopher Hensley of Roswell, who unsuccessfully challenged Burt in the Republican primary, were not posted on the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website as of press time Saturday.

Hensley’s campaign in the Third Primary Report had a closing balance of $232.85.

Elsewhere, the re-election campaign of longtime state Sen. Gay Kernan, R-Hobbs, received $550, according to the latest reports, compared to $750 in the previous quarter. The reports released Thursday show Kernan spent $4,450.15 during the same period and has $12,082.17 remaining in the bank.

Kernan of Senate District 42, which encompasses Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties, does not have an opponent in the general election.

State Rep. Candy Ezzell, R-Roswell of House District 58 in southern Chaves County, saw her fundraising totals dip, receiving one contribution of $250 in the recent quarter. The amount is less than the $750 her campaign received in the previous fundraising period.

According to records, Ezzell spent $250 and closes out the fundraising quarter with $42,586.63.

House Minority Leader Jim Townsend, R-Artesia, has consistently raked in money in his campaign for re-election in House District 54, which is comprised of portions of Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties.

Townsend’s campaign, according to the latest reports, took in $1,750, a decrease from the $3,200 he raised in the third primary reporting period. In the fourth quarter, he has spent $250 and has $54,290.21 left in the bank.

Only state Reps. Phelps Anderson in House District 66 and Greg Nibert in House District 59, were among the Chaves County legislators who increased their fundraising yield. Neither candidate had raised any money in the previous reporting period.

However, Anderson and Nibert raised $500 and $250 respectively during the latest reporting period.

Anderson, whose district includes Chaves, Lea and Roosevelt counties, spent $581 and has $4,833.85 left on hand, according to reports.

Nibert, the only local House candidate with a general election challenger, received one $250 contribution. He spent $275 and finished the period with $42,586.63 in cash on hand.

Kimble Lee Kearns, a Democrat who hopes to unseat Nibert in November for a chance to represent Chaves and Lincoln counties, did not receive or spend any money during the latest fundraising quarter, according to reports.

Kearns had raised $450 during the third primary reporting period. He now has $1,078 remaining in his campaign war chest.

In Senate District 32, the campaign of Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell, did not raise any money, but did spend $25,000, according to reports. Pirtle, whose district includes Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties, has $4,833.85 left on hand.

Though he raised $4,500 in the third quarter, Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, did not receive any contributions in the most recent reporting period.

Ingle of Senate District 27, which includes Chaves, Curry, DeBaca, Lea and Roosevelt counties, did spend $950 and his campaign still has $93,441.76 in the bank.

Judicial races

In the New Mexico 5th Judicial District, which includes Chaves, Eddy and Lea counties, District Attorney Dianna Luce, a Republican from Lovington; and two district judges — both Democrats who are unchallenged in their bids for re-election — have raised little money.

According to reports, the only money raised by Luce’s campaign was 4 cents, which came from interest accrued on a campaign bank account. In the same period, her campaign spent $47. Her campaign war chest ends the timeframe documented in the most recent reports with $2,724.44.

Division 8 District Judge Jared Kallunki, a Democrat, did not conduct any fundraising activity since it started. Kallunki was appointed earlier this year to the bench, after Judge Kea Riggs resigned to accept a federal judgeship.

Judge Thomas Lilley of District 1, and also a Democrat, did not raise or spend any money.

County races

None of the races for county offices will be contested in November.

Republican incumbents County Treasurer Charlotte Andrade and T. Calder Ezzell Jr., who represents District 2 on the Chaves County Board of Commissioners, did not raise or spend any money.

In the closing days of the primary season, both Republicans vying for the position of county clerk continued to see money come into and be spent by their campaigns.

According to the latest reports, Cindy Fuller, who won her party’s nomination, raised $500 and spent $1,686.40. She closed out the fundraising period with $1,048.02.

Fuller’s Republican primary opponent Barbara Gomez received $600 in contributions and spent $2,813.30.

Races for two seats on the County Commission saw contested Republican primaries.

No fourth primary report from the campaign of Commissioner Jeff Bilberry was posted on the Secretary of State’s website as of press time Saturday. However, Bilberry’s campaign ended the previous quarter with $1,004.53 cash on hand.

Randy Robertson, who unsuccessfully sought to unseat Bilberry, did not raise any money before or after the election. His campaign though, did spend $2,666.76 and ended with a closing balance of $155.61.

In the primary contest for the District 4 seat on the County Commission, eventual Republican nominee Richard Taylor’s campaign raked in $3,100 and spent $2,962.43. The campaign concluded the period with $250.50 on hand.

Barry Foster, a Roswell city councilor and Taylor’s primary opponent, did not raise any money and spent the campaign’s remaining $492.92, according to reports.

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