Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – This year’s race for governor could end up being the most expensive in New Mexico history – to no surprise of state residents who have seen a steady barrage of television ads in recent weeks.
Republican Mark Ronchetti narrowly outraised Democratic Michelle Lujan Grisham during a recent four-week period – he raised $1.4 million compared to $1.3 million for Lujan Grisham – though the incumbent governor has raised and spent more money since the campaign cycle began.
In all, Lujan Grisham has now raised $12.5 million for her reelection bid, while Ronchetti has raised nearly $9.3 million since announcing his campaign in October 2021.
Both candidates also reported Thursday having spent large amounts of campaign cash in the final run-up to next week’s Election Day, with Ronchetti spending about $3.6 million and Lujan Grisham spending roughly $2.7 million.
Ronchetti campaign spokesman Ryan Sabel said the GOP nominee has now outraised the governor in three of the past four fundraising periods.
“This is as strong a sign as ever that the working people of this state are ready for new representation and someone who will listen to their voices in Santa Fe,” Sabel told the Journal.
Meanwhile, the governor’s campaign spokeswoman Delaney Corcoran said Lujan Grisham’s latest fundraising haul puts her in good shape with just days left in the race.
“Gov. Lujan Grisham is in an incredibly strong position heading into the final days of the campaign, one of the most expensive statewide elections in New Mexico history,” Corcoran said.
She also cited former President Donald Trump’s recent endorsement of Ronchetti, along with a campaign contribution the GOP candidate has received from John Eastman, a Santa Fe resident and former Trump attorney who has been under scrutiny by a U.S. House committee for his role in Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
She also got hefty donations from Jason Greathouse, part owner of Pecos Valley Production, a dairy-turned-cannabis farm in Roswell, and California-based theater producer Louise Gund.
As for Ronchetti, his large contributions included $2,600 from Connecticut investment banker Patrick McDonough and $5,000 from Rex Jung, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico.
Outside groups spend heavily
Meanwhile, outside groups have also spent big amounts on this year’s race for governor – and several other statewide races.
One group called Stronger New Mexico, a political committee affiliated with the Democratic Governors Association, reported Thursday having spent more than $6.4 million during the recent reporting period – primarily on TV ads targeting Ronchetti on abortion and other issues. That brought the political committee’s total spending in the race to nearly $11.3 million over the past four months.
The group received the bulk of its funding from the DGA, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the national advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, and Emily’s List, which supports female candidates who support abortion rights.
On the other side, a political committee affiliated with the Republican Governors Association has launched a flurry of TV ads of its own targeting Lujan Grisham, primarily on issues related to crime, and the Governor’s Office’s spending on food and other supplies from a state discretionary fund.
The group has now spent more than $6.6 million on the race for governor, after reporting Thursday the spending of about $3.3 million during the recent reporting period.
Nearly all of the money the political committee has received has come from the Washington, D.C.-based RGA.
The fundraising updates filed Thursday marked the final required reports due before Election Day and covered the four weeks from Oct. 4 through Nov. 1. A final report covering the last days before the election and its aftermath will be due in January.