The place Albuquerque’s mayoral candidates get their cash’s price

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Less than two weeks to the 2021 mayoral election, candidates are competing – and spending – to attract voters. To date, more than $ 1 million in campaign money has been allocated to the four candidates, campaign funding records show.

Electoral resources

The latest reports show that Manuel Gonzales III has the most cash available, with $ 244,219 to spend after a large influx of contributions in September. Tim Keller is just behind with $ 148,271 to spend. Eddy Aragon only has $ 10,000 to spend after spending over $ 30,000 recently. Patrick Ben Sais has only $ 35.00 as of October 15th.

Keller is the only candidate to have received public funding. This means he is eligible to spend a total of $ 661,309.25 provided by the City of Albuquerque. According to city law, he cannot spend more, and Keller cannot collect private donations for his election campaign either.

Gonzales applied for public funding but was denied the money in July. The town clerk found evidence of fraud in Gonzales’ list of qualifying entries – the list of donations a candidate must receive in order to qualify for the hundreds of thousands of public dollars.

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Gonzales has the largest private funding, but Keller has access to more than $ 600,000 in public funding. Data from CABQ.

Gonzales, Aragon, and Sais’ funds come from private donations. Privately funded candidates have no limit on the total amount of funds they can raise and spend. However, there is a limit to how much individuals or companies can donate to a privately funded candidate. This year, that limit is $ 6,250.40 – that’s 5% of the mayor’s base salary.

Gonzales has the highest average contribution rate, financial records show. Most of his funds come from individual donors. That’s nearly $ 360,000. A good chunk of its funding comes from self-reported businesses and business owners, retired locals, and law enforcement workers. Self-appointed teachers and workers in the automotive industry also contributed sizeable sums, the data shows.

All candidates spend most of their money on advertising, the data shows. Last summer, Gonzales spent more on advertising than any other candidate. But in September, Keller began investing nearly $ 36,000 in cash in things like a website, a vehicle for the state fair parade, and a movie shoot. So far, he’s spent more on getting his name out there than the other three candidates combined.

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In terms of advertising, Keller has surpassed all other mayoral candidates. Data from CABQ.

“You will need a lot of campaign money on the final journey, especially to advance your messages and your level of awareness. And a lot of it is obviously TV commercial, ”explains KRQE political scientist Gabe Sanchez. “The more money you have for it, the better your chances are of course.”

But spending more money does not guarantee a profit. Heather Ferguson, executive director of Common Cause NM, a non-partisan nonprofit that focuses on government access and accountability, points out that past elections have not always won the most money-bagged candidate. For example, in 2001 Richard Homans spent $ 593,349 on his candidacy for Albuquerque mayor, which, according to an analysis by Common Cause NM, was more than any other candidate. Still, Homans lost to Martin Chavez.

“I don’t think that spending more money on a campaign automatically means more votes,” says Ferguson. “As they say, ‘courtyard signs are wrong.'”

In this election cycle, too, the candidates spend a relatively large part of their money on advice. Keller has spent over $ 130,000 on consulting and related professional services, the financial reports show. Gonzales has spent more than $ 24,000 on advice. Aragon has spent over $ 16,000 on consulting.

Most of the candidates’ spending went to state-owned companies. But some money is flowing out of the state. While Keller spent over $ 147,000 in New Mexico, he also spent $ 260,858 on advertising services for a Washington, DC-based company. Gonzales has spent more than $ 213,900 locally but also spent over $ 13,000 in California on advisory services. Aragon has spent over $ 95,700 in New Mexico, but also spent a little over $ 2,600 on consultations in Florida. Consulting and campaign management are a key to success, says political scientist Sanchez.

“Part of the benefit of being a strong candidate [is] They usually have a better choice of campaign managers, ”explains Sanchez. “This is one of the reasons early money – getting campaign money early – is generally highly correlated with winning. Because in this way you can secure the best technical expertise. “

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Keller had the most early money, but Gonzales caught up in May. Keller, of course, received his public funding through July, which brought him to the top. Data from CABQ.

While a lot of money went into the mayoral election campaign, even more money went into the assessment of finance committees this year. More than $ 1.8 million has been allocated to date. Some of the 14 different committees, like Build Back ‘Burque, which has nearly $ 240,000 in donations, support mayoral candidates. Others are supposed to bring votes for electoral measures or bonds, such as the committee with the most funds: New Mexico United for All. The committee calling on voters to support a new stadium has made more than $ 800,000.

If candidates have not spent all of their money after the November 2nd election, they can use the remaining funds for a runoff election if voters cannot vote for a majority candidate. In this case, Keller can use up to $ 226,734.60 on a runoff election while the other candidates can use whatever they have raised.

Once a candidate is selected, Keller must return the remaining money to the city. The other candidates have a choice of what to do with the excess funds. You can return funds to those who made the contributions, put the funds in the city’s General Fund, or donate the funds to a charity.

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