November’s big money races in the Roundhouse
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The battle between Democrats and Republicans will surely get heated between now and Election Day on Nov. 6. It’s already gotten expensive in a handful of races as Democrats try to hang on to their majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Here’s a look at some of the races that feature candidates who have raised some serious money to punch their tickets to the state capitol building in Santa Fe, starting with the Senate:
Michael Sanchez ($122,788) vs. David Chavez ($58,086)
Sanchez (D-Belen) is the Senate Majority Leader and has quickly become the arch political rival of Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. Sanchez, a trial lawyer, has been in the Senate for nearly 20 years and is one of the most powerful legislators in the Roundhouse. Sanchez isn’t used to having an opponent in the general election but this fall, state Rep. David Chavez (R-Los Lunas), a trial lawyer himself, is taking him on.
Sanchez has already raised a whopping $122,788 — the largest amount of any 2012 Roundhouse candidate that we could see from looking at the Secretary of State’s website.
Sanchez has raised $58,086. When you combine the totals for both candidates ($180,874), this is the most expensive race in the 2012 Roundhouse cycle we could determine. And there’s still nearly two months to go until Nov. 6.
Phil Griego ($92,869) vs. Aubrey Dunn Jr. ($20,559)
Griego got through a bruising Democratic Party primary and last week was cleared by the Secretary of State’s office last week of allegations of misuse of campaign funds and now he’ll face Dunn Jr. in the general election. Dunn made some headlines after he had a falling out with Gov. Martinez this summer for her political action committee donating to Griego in the Dem primary so Dunn can’t count on getting any financial support from Susana PAC.
Tim Jennings ($98,255) vs. Cliff Pirtle ($32,637)
Jennings hasn’t had a challenger for his Senate seat since 2000 and judging from the war chest he’s amassed, he’s not taking any chances, although the 26-year-old Pirtle has raised a very respectable amount of money and given the Republican bent in this Senate district that makes up Roswell and surrounding areas, this could turn out to be an interesting race.
John Sapien ($62,992) vs. David Doyle ($45,141)
The incumbent Sapien (D-Corrales) is getting a serious challenge from Doyle (R-Albuquerque), who is leaving the state House of Representatives after two years to make a try at the Senate. Sapien has been a critic of the Martinez administration’s school reform measures while Doyle has been a staunch ally of the governor.
Daniel Ivey-Soto ($42,930) vs. H. Diane Snyder ($31,650)
This is the Senate seat that Democrat Tim Eichenberg is stepping down from. Ivey-Soto is a familiar figure at Roundhouse committee hearings and Democrats are counting on him to keep the seat in their party’s hands while Snyder hopes to win the seat back for the GOP after she lost to Eichenberg four years ago.
Lisa Curtis ($51,115) vs. Mark Moores ($71,287)
Curtis, a loyal Democrat and prominent lawyer, was appointed to this Senate seat in a series of controversial moves last year by commissioners in Sandoval and Bernalillo counties. The selection came after Kent Cravens resigned from the Senate. The GOP was hopping mad with the Curtis appointment since the district was heavily Republican. Now, after one year in the Senate, Curtis will try to make her case to constituents. She’s raised a good bit of money but the Republican Moores – a 6-foot, 6-inch former UNM football player — enters this month with a $20,000 edge.
Clemente Sanchez ($27,623) vs. Vickie Perea ($42,252)
Call him “Landslide” Clemente as for the second election in a row, Sanchez had to sweat his way through a recount in the Democratic primary this spring. Unlike 2008, Sanchez won the primary and now faces Perea, whom statewide Republicans are counting on to flip this seat to the GOP. Perea has raised a healthy amount of money but Sanchez was vastly overspent in the Democratic primary in this district in the Grants area, yet still managed to win.
In the House of Representatives, there is plenty at stake for both parties. In the 2010 election, Republicans had a dream night, picking up eight seats. Now, with Democrats clinging to just a 36-33 edge in the House (with 1 Independent who often votes with the GOP), Republicans are hoping to win a couple more seats to give them control of the House for the first time since 1953.
No wonder conservative and liberal interest groups and individuals are throwing money at competitive races, such as:
Marci Blaze ($84,803) vs. Paul Pacheco ($39,005)
Nearly $125,000 has been spent by both candidates thus far — that’s an awful lot for a House race — with Blaze picking up a 2-1 edge in fundraising in this District 23 race that makes up Bernallilo and Sandoval counties on Pacheco, a 27-year veteran of the Albuquerque Police Department and small business owner. This is the seat Rep. David Doyle, a Republican, is stepping away from to pursue a Senate seat.
Stephanie Garcia Richard ($64,891) vs. Jim Hall ($59,605)
The Republican Hall inherited this seat in the Los Alamos area after the death of longtime Roundhouse state rep Jeannette Wallace. Hall is well-known in Los Alamos, having served as the town’s city council vice president. Richard is trying again to win this seat after losing a nailbiter to Wallace in 2010 and she’s raised money from national political groups like Emily’s List as well as receiving $2,300 from Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe).
Elizabeth Thomson ($37,274) vs. Conrad James ($47,374)
James, a promising young legislator for the GOP, is the incumbent in this Albuquerque district but 1) even though he’s been in office nearly two years, this will be James’ first campaign because nobody ran against him in 2010, and 2) the district was altered through redistricting and made less Republican so this could be a race to watch.
Terry Fortenberry ($18,393) vs. Dianne Hamilton ($20,888)
This figures to be one of the most interesting races in the House. Hamilton (R-Silver City) has held this seat for 13 years but she’s getting challenged by Fortenberry, who used to be the mayor of Silver City. Judging by the nearly-equal amounts of money each candidate has raised, the matchup figures to be very close — and a must-keep for Republicans.
Nate Cote ($28,426) vs. Rick Little ($17,348)
This is a rematch of the 2010 race in District 53 that makes up parts of Doña Ana and Otero counties. Two years ago, Little knocked off Cote, who had served in the legislature for two terms, by 413 votes. Now Cote is looking to get that seat back.
George Dodge ($19,375) vs. Steve Hanson ($31,920)
Dodge was the only newly-elected Democrat in 2010 and since this sprawling district that encompasses four counties in the eastern half of the state was redistricted to include more Republicans, state GOP officials think Dodge is vulnerable to Hanson, a dairy farmer from Clovis.
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Aubrey Dunn Jr, Clemente Sanchez, Cliff Pirtle, Conrad James, Daniel Ivey-Soto, David Chavez, David Doyle, Dianne Hamilton, Elizabeth Thomson, George Dodge, H Diane Snyder, Jim Hall, John Sapien, Kent Cravens, Lisa Curtis, Marci Blaze, Mark Moores, Michael Sanchez, Nate Cote, Paul Pacheco, Phil Griego, Rick Little, Stephanie Garcia Richard, Steve Hanson, Susana Martinez, Terry Fortenberry, Tim Eichenberg, Tim Jennings, Vickie Perea