Lisa Curtis spending $60K (so far) of her own money in state Senate race vs. Mark Moores
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“I’m putting my money where my mouth is,” Curtis said, adding that “This is my way do some good … This is the most expensive pro bono case I’ve ever done,” said the Albuquerque attorney.
“She’s going to try to buy the race,” Moores said. “She’s a wealthy trial attorney… she’s hiding from being a liberal Democrat because she knows this is a conservative, Republican district.”
A look at the campaign reports by Capitol Report New Mexico shows that by the end of September, Curtis had raised $89,069, with the candidate herself accounting for $58,542 (65.7 percent) of the total.
That’s a lot to spend to be part of New Mexico’s citizen legislature, which does not pay members any salary at all — just per diem and expenses.
Moores has raised $87,091 and has made out loans to himself through the campaign totalling $9,307.
“I’m not buying anything,” Curtis said of Moore’s remark. “That’s typical of old party politics.”
“She’s the same old status quo, union-backed candidate,” Moores said.
Senate District 21 in the Northeast Heights of Albuquerque is one of the most Republican districts in New Mexico, with Democratic Party performance numbers below 40 percent and Curtis has taken to the airwaves to win over voters.
Curtis is running commercials on Albuquerque TV stations and is airing spots on KKOB Radio voiced by fellow attorney Jim Gilman identifying himself as a Republican and gun owner, urging voters to support Curtis.
Curtis said she’s contributed to Republican state House members Nate Gentry and David Chavez in the past but an Internet search done on campaign finance websites by Capitol Report New Mexico last December showed Curtis making personal contributions totalling $9,200 in 2010 and 2011 that went exclusively to Democrats.
A search of the current Secretary of State’s website showed 20 entries of Curtis making contributions to Democratic Party candidates or political action groups associated with the Democratic Party such as Act Blue New Mexico ($550) and the Committee on Individual Responsibility ($5,425) but we could not find any record of contributions to Republican candidates.
A search for contributions from Moores turned up three entries totalling $245 to the Republican Party of Bernalillo County.
“Most of my constituents are economic Republicans, like my parents — very moderate,” Curtis said.
“I’m a consistent Republican and I support [Gov. Susana Martinez's] agenda,” said the 42-year-old Moores, a former University of New Mexico football player who’s currently the executive director of the New Mexico Dental Association.
There are plenty of back stories leading up to this November showdown.
For example, last week (Oct. 8), Curtis appeared at a news conference with other female Democrats running for the Roundhouse, accusing the Republican Super PAC, Reform New Mexico Now, of “picking on women” through negative campaign mailers — something the PAC denied.
And last month, Curtis made headlines when about 50 members of the La Cueva High School boys soccer team distributed fliers for Curtis as part of what their parents were told was a “community service project.” A spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Public Schools told the Albuquerque Journal the incident was “absolutely unacceptable” and the coach of the team is facing disciplinary action. Curtis told the Journal she planned to give the team $500 for passing out the fliers door to door — more than they could make doing a bake sale or a car wash.
Curtis said the flap was “ridiculous,” and “trumped up by my opponent” and blasted APS Superintendent Winston Brooks for approving the disciplinary action against the coach, saying, “I don’t think he’s much of a leader. He didn’t even know the facts.”
“That incident sticks in people’s craw,” Moores said.
Although Curtis is the sitting senator in District 21, this is her first election.
Curtis was appointed to the Roundhouse last winter under controversial circumstances.
The previous holder of the office was Kent Cravens, a Republican who resigned and took a lobbying job with the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. Since District 21 encompasses parts of Bernallilo and Sandoval counties, the two county commissions there were assigned to name a replacement for Cravens.
The Democratic Party-controlled Sandoval County Commission recommended Curtis, which prompted complaints from Republicans because Curtis doesn’t live in Sandoval County.
The Bernallilo County Commission then voted along party lines to also recommend Curtis, which led to more GOP objections.
The Republicans may not have liked it but Roundhouse rules leave it up to county commissions to make their recommendations to the sitting governor, who must choose from the list of candidates the commissions send to the executive and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez had little choice but to appoint Curtis to the Senate, which gave Democrats a 28-14 edge in the latest session.
Both Moores and Curtis say they’ve been hitting the pavement, arguing their candidacies to voters.
“We’re going door to door,” Moores said. “This is a highly educated, sophisticated community … my campaign is not of special interests.”
“Unless you talk to people you don’t know what to do for them,” Curtis said. “I’m a true moderate.”
For more information on the candidates and their stances on a variety of issues, here are the links to their respective websites:
Posted under Capitol Report.
Tags: Albuquerque Journal, Bernalillo County Commission, Capitol Report New Mexico, Committee on Individual Responsibility, Jim Gilman, Kent Cravens, KKOB Radio, Lisa Curtis, Mark Moores, New Mexico Dental Association, New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, Reform New Mexico Now, Sandoval County Commission, Susana Martinez, Winston Brooks