SANTA FE, N.M. — Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign for governor raised nearly $1.4 million over the past six months, giving her an early financial advantage over Democratic and Republican rivals including GOP congressman Steve Pearce, according to state disclosure forms filed Monday.
The first to enter the gubernatorial race, Lujan Grisham in all has raised $2.2 million since December 2016. Disclosure forms show a campaign already in full swing, with spending of more than $520,000 over the past six months to pay for political consultants, create ads and provide salaries to several campaign employees, among other expenses.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, the sole Republican candidate so far, announced last week he had raised just over $1 million in three months since entering the race. Detailed disclosures filed Monday show the campaign of the seven-term Congressman has spent nearly $90,000, mostly on fundraising expenses and communications consulting.
Two-term Republican Gov. Susana Martinez cannot run for re-election in 2018.
In a news release, Lujan Grisham’s campaign called attention to her wide base of financial support, noting that more than 6,000 contributors gave money — mostly in donations of less than $100 each.
The three-term congresswoman and former state Health Department secretary from Albuquerque has received campaign endorsements from 10 statewide unions. New campaign finance filings showed contributions from at least seven organized labor groups worth $15,000.
More than a dozen oil and natural gas producers and service providers gave to the Pearce campaign. Pearce, a Vietnam-War-era military veteran from Hobbs, ran an oilfield services firm that was sold in 2003 as he entered politics.
The Democratic nomination also is being sought by attorney and state Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, former media industry executive Jeff Apodoca of Albuquerque and alcohol-prevention teacher Peter DeBenedittis of Santa Fe.
Cervantes raised $155,000 from contributors while committing $400,000 of his own money in the form of a loan. Previous political funds boosted his campaign balance to nearly $750,000.
DeBenedittis raised $2,300. Apadoca’s disclosure report was not available Monday evening, as a midnight filing deadline approached.
Pearce is seeking a federal court injunction to tap into a separate $1 million chest of political contributions that he collected while in Congress to use in his gubernatorial run.
The secretary of state’s office said only $11,000 of that can be transferred, based on a New Mexico law that limits direct campaign contributions to $5,500 in a primary election and again in the general election.