By Dan Boyd, Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal
Gov. Susana Martinez’s political organization raked in more than $77,000 during a five-week period, readying for a key election cycle in which Republicans hope to make gains in the Legislature.
During the reporting period that stretched from April 3 through May 7, Susana PAC reported receiving $10,000 each from six companies, including Mack Energy of Artesia, which contributed $117,500 to Martinez’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010.
The $10,000 contributions include $5,000 each for both the primary and general election cycles, Martinez political consultant Jay McCleskey said Monday.
A state law that took effect after the 2010 election restricts campaign contributions to a statewide candidate or PAC to $5,000 per cycle, or $10,000 per election.
Nearly half of the money — at least $30,000 — came from oil and gas companies in southeastern New Mexico and Texas.
Martinez’s political organization did not report giving money to GOP legislative candidates during the recent reporting period, though McCleskey said financial backing probably will be provided in the days leading up to the June 5 primary election.
Susana PAC previously reported giving $17,500 to four Republican House and Senate candidates statewide.
“There will likely be more contributions to legislative candidates before the primary, but making direct contributions is only one way reform-minded candidates will be assisted,” McCleskey told the Journal in an email.
Other forms of assistance could include political mailers, he said.
Overall, the governor’s political organization reported spending $99,245 during the five-week period. About $27,000 of that was spent on a statewide survey. The PAC reported raising a total of $77,800 and has $273,734 on hand.
Susana PAC had previously reported raising $336,000 during the early primary reporting cycle, with about one-third of that money coming from Texas donors.
Meanwhile, a super PAC that recently came to the aid of embattled state House Majority Whip Sheryl Williams Stapleton, an Albuquerque Democrat, reported receiving an additional $30,000 contribution from the Communications Workers of America labor union.
In a news release, Independent Source PAC said it is not adhering to the campaign contribution caps because it is not contributing money directly to candidates. A U.S. district judge ruled this year that the state law restricting campaign spending could not be applied to independent expenditure groups.
The $30,000 contribution from CWA brings the total received by Independent Source PAC from the national union to $220,000.
In other highlights from Monday’s campaign finance reporting deadline:
Stapleton reported a $4,000 contribution from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 412 union.
Stapleton now has $13,476 on hand, compared with $2,546 for her Democratic opponent in House District 19, Cara Valente-Compton.
Friends of Freedom PAC, which is headed by an official in the Bernalillo County Republican Party, reported giving $1,000 each to Democratic Sens. George Muñoz of Gallup and Phil Griego of San Jose. Griego is chairman of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, and Muñoz is a member of the committee.
Colin Hunter, the Friends of Freedom PAC director, has said the group will assist contested Democrats deemed to share its “pro-growth” and “pro-jobs” agenda in districts where Republicans are unlikely to win the seat.
The Senate Majority Leadership Fund, a political committee headed by Senate Democratic Leader Michael Sanchez of Belen, reported raising $6,000. The committee also reported giving $500 to 13 Democratic incumbents in the Senate.
Monday’s deadline was the second of four mandatory primary reporting dates. The next deadline is May 31, five days before the election.
©2012 the Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.)