Follow The Money, Part Three

The third Campaign Finance Reports for Mayor of Albuquerque were filed on September 8, 2017 with the Albuquerque City Clerk for the reporting period of August 11, 2017 to September 7, 2017.

(See: https://www.cabq.gov/voting-elections/candidate-information/2017-mayoral-candidates)

There are (8) candidates running for Mayor.

If no candidate secures 50% or more of the vote, a runoff I will be held between the top voter getters, which is more likely than not given recent polling data.

There are seven (7) privately financed candidates, one (1) publicly financed candidate, and one (1) measured finance committee for the one publicly financed candidate.

There are three (3) weeks remaining until the October 3, 2017 municipal election.

TIM KELLER CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Democrat Tim Keller is the only “publicly finance” candidate for Mayor.

Upon being qualified for public financing, Mr. Keller agreed in writing to spending caps and he is strictly prohibited from soliciting and using donations from any other source to run his campaign for Mayor.

The July 14, 2017 Tim Keller Campaign Finance Report states that on April 3, 2017 the Keller campaign was given $342,952 by the City of Albuquerque in public financing.

The Keller September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $226,761.94, that $107,954.50 was spent and the closing balance for the third reporting period is $118,807.44.

The August 11, 2017 finance report reflects that $24,615 of “in kind” donations reflected in cash amounts were made to the Keller campaign and notable “in kind” cash donations for goods and services to the Tim Keller campaign include:

Former New Mexico Lt. Governor Diane Denish who ran for NM Governor with Brian Colon as her running mate for Lt. Governor, ($1,000), New Mexico State Senator Mimi Stewart ($200), John Badal ($1,000), Scott Goodman, Goodman Realty Group ($2,500), Art Gardenshwartz ($1,000), Paul Cochran ($5,000), Joinie Griffin, Griffin & Associates the firm handling the public relations for the ART bus project ($1,000), Adam Harrington, HB Construction ($1,000), IATSE Local 423 ($1,000), William Sabatini ($500), City of Albuquerque Union AFSME Council 18 ($220), APD Police Oversight Board member William Kass ($1,000), Sam Field (1,000), Caporale Consultants ($1,000), Jim Collie ($1,000), Jason Harrignton ($1,000), Debra McFarlan ($500), Virginia Scharff ($500), Polly Jackson ($500).

The September 8, 2017 finance report reflects $3,000 of “in kind” donations in cash amounts were made to the Tim Keller campaign which includes a single “in kind” donation of $2,500 from Ashley and Mathew Proctor.

The Republican Party of New Mexico and Republican candidate for Mayor Wayne Johnson have filed complaints with the Board of Elections and Campaign Practices challenging the cash “in-kind” donations received by Mr. Keller as being a violation of the public finance laws prohibiting Mr. Keller from soliciting any further cash donations after accepting public financing.

(See September 9, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1 “GOP seeks inquiry into Keller campaign; Critics question use of in-kind donations; campaign manager calls complaints frivolous)

What makes the “in-kind” donations to Mr. Keller’s campaign for goods and services listed as “cash” donations troubling is that there is no definitive rule or regulation that it is improper, but the solicitation of such donations by Mr. Keller’s campaign manager at the very least undermines the intent and spirit of the public finance laws.

It is the appearance of impropriety that looks so damaging coming from a New Mexico State Auditor that has earned a compelling reputation of holding people and government accountable for expending taxpayer money.

When Mr. Keller qualified for public financing, he agreed to a spending cap and agreed not to solicit any cash donations.

An audit can be performed by the city’s Campaign and Election Auditor which is provided for under the election code, rules and regulations to monitor all campaign disclosure statements, but three weeks before the election may not be enough time for a definitive ruling.

The state Republican Party going after Tim Keller should not come as any surprise because he is considered the front runner, except perhaps those who think Albuquerque municipal elections are nonpartisan.

Four years ago, I had to endure the incumbents $910,000 media campaign versus my $340,000 in public financing campaign all the while the Republican Party smeared me as much as they could while Republican operative Jay Mc Clusky managed the incumbents campaign and ran negative ads.

My biggest disappointment four years ago was that my own party did very little next to nothing to help my campaign, but that’s politics for you.

I was told by too many Democratic elected and party officials that it was a nonpartisan race and they would not help.

Democrats need to wake up and wake up fast to what is happening in Albuquerque.

See also my blog article “Party Divisions Playing Out In Mayors Race” at http://www.petedinelli.com/…/party-divisions-playing-out-i…/

Notable expenditures for the Tim Keller campaign include $15,691 to PUTMAN PARTNERS of Washington, DC, for “MEDIA”, $88,371 to BUYING TIME of Washington, DC for “MEDIA” and $2,000 to CONCEPT FLUX of Albuquerque, New Mexico for Media.

It is interesting to note that on the campaign trail Mr. Keller has emphasized the importance of the City of Albuquerque to give priority to local businesses but his media work is being performed by Washington, DC firms.

If Mr. Keller gets into the runoff, his campaign will be given approximately $118,000 more in public finance funds.

THE TIM KELLER MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

ABQ FORWARD TOGETHER is a measure finance committee, registered with the City Clerk’s office, formed for the purpose “to support Tim Keller’s bid for Mayor”.

Measured finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like a candidate.

The September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance report for “ABQ FORWARD TOGETHER” reflects that it had a beginning cash balance of $77,172.92 from the last reporting period, it had monetary contributions of $102,995.00 for the current reporting period, spent $6,135.66 and has a balance of $174,032.26 left to spend as it sees fit to promote Mr. Keller.

Cash donations to “ABQ FORWARD TOGETHER” that are noteworthy include:

$20,000 from AFSME council 18, $10,000 from IAFF Local 244, $5,000 from IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund, $2,500 from Ironworkers Local 495, two $2,500 donations from Center For Civic Action, $3,000 from NMHS PAC, $1,000 from DPA Action Fund, $2,000 from Richard Schneider, $2,500 from Edward Garcia, Garcia Auto Dealership, $2,500 from Julian Garcia, Automundo De Garcia, $2,500 from Sandy Buffett, $2,000 from Tim W. Allisonhatch, $1,000 from John B, Strong, $1,000 from Susan Palmer, $1,000 from attorney Kate Fenlic, $1,000 from Joanie Griffin, Griffin & Associates, the public relations firm for the ART Bus project, $600 from NM State Senator William Tallman, $250 from Josh Anderson with AFSME and $500 from Bond Attorney David Bucholtz.

It is clear from the donations made to ABQ FORWARD TOGETHER that Mr. Keller has substantial support from organized labor which will translate into significant volunteer help and even more contributions from union members and union organizations.

ABQ FORWARD TOGETHER can raise money up and through to the election day and beyond for a runoff election if Tim Keller gets into the runoff.

In his January announcement for Mayor, Tim Keller said “Let’s elect a Mayor without the big money we’ve come to expect in politics. That’s why we are running a community-driven, publicly financed campaign that fits the future of Albuquerque.”

Mr. Keller has the best of all political campaign finance world’s by first getting public financing to the tune of $342,952 and claiming he is “walking the walk” and running a “grassroots campaign”, and now having $118,807.44 left in public financing while at the same time receiving assistance from a measured finance committee that has $174,032.26 available to promote him and is chaired by a former political consultant who has worked on his past campaigns for the New Mexico State Senate.

BRIAN COLON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

From review of the finance report of contributions and expenditures, Democrat Brian Colon has expended the most since the last reporting period and his fund raising was diminished for the period.

The Colon September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $535,579.82 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is $219,514.85 and spent $362,241.97 during the reporting period.

Brian Colon raised an additional $46,177 during the reporting period.

Notable individuals or businesses that made cash contributions reported in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Colon for Mayor include the following donors:

P.G. Enterprises, $5,150, ALB Living Inc, $5,150, Consolidated Solar Energies, $5,150, Nathan Corn, Kauffman’s West, $800, Gary Padilla, $3,850, SSA Auto Sales, $2,500, Rudolfo Law Firm, $1,500, Attorney Mark Rhodes, $2,000, Beatrice Beserra, $1,000, Cordelia Trimble, $1,000, Stephen Toll, $1,000, Aldo Vaio, $1,000, Tim Fresquez, $1,000, Attorney and forme APS Board memeber Martin Esquivel, $200, Former Bernalillo County Commissioner Art De La Cruz, $500, private attorney Michael F. Hart and brother of County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, Former Court of Appeals Judge Ira Robinson, $200 and Bond Attorney David Bucholtz, $500.

Notable expenditures listed in the August 11, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for the Colon for Mayor include:

CANAL Partners Media, Atlanta Georgia, three expenditures of $77,075, $77,075 and $72,275, Bouchard Gold Company, Austin, Texas, $45,000 and $2,905 for media and photography, IRICK Productions, Albuquerque, $45,600, Switchboard, Washington DC, Digital Advertising, $12,500, Three Point Media, Washington, DC, $4,572, POTOMAC WAVES, Washington, DC, $12,000.

It is interesting to note that on the campaign trail Mr. Colon has emphasized the importance of the City giving priority to local businesses for work but his media work is being done with out of state firms in Georgia, Texas and Washington, DC.

DAN LEWIS CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

The Dan Lewis September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $169,289.37 and the closing balance for the current reporting period is $194,501 available to the campaign until the October 3, 2017 election.

Republican Dan Lewis raised an additional $55,317 during the reporting period and had expenditures of $30,104.50 during the last reporting period.

Total “in-kind” contributions to Dan Lewis for the reporting period was $7,550.00 which includes $3,000 from Tinnin Hunt for fundraising.

Notable individuals or businesses that made cash contributions listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Dan Lewis for Mayor include the following donors:

National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), $5,000, Jeff Garrett, Garrett Development, $5,000, AAA Roofing, $2,500, Tim Gorham, Bode Aviation, which operates out at the City’s Double Eagle II airport, $2,500, John Bode, Bode Aviation, $2,500, Guzman Construction Solutions, $2,500, J&M Discount Towing, $1,000, Premier Consulting, $1,000, Steve Downe, $1,000, Tim Turner, $1,000, Attorney David Strandridge, $1,000, John Paul Espinoza, $1,000, Zachery D. Graham, $1,250, Michael Winkeljohn, $1,000, Larry Rainoseck, owner of Frontier Restaurant, $1,000, Bill Joiner, Joiner Construction, $250, David King, nephew of former Governor Bruce King, $500, former Chanel 7 TV news anchor Richard (Dick) Knifing, $500.

The fact that Dan Lewis received a $5,000 donation from NAIOP and other construction companies is a clear indication that Lewis is the beneficiary of Mayor Berry’s primary bastion of support within the construction industry and the real estate development community that do millions of dollars in construction work for the City of Albuquerque.

If Mr. Lewis makes it into a runoff, it is likely he will get significant support within the business community including members from organizations like the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP and perhaps the Economic Forum.

Notable expenditures listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for the Dan Lewis for Mayor include:

The Stoneridge Group, $10,000 and$11,363, 4700 Lincoln, LLC for office space, $2,600, Stewart Bragg, Lewis for Mayor, $2.000.

The Stoneridge Group is a political campaign marketing firm based in Alpharetta, Georgia, with offices in Louisville Kentucky and provides services to pro-life, Republican campaigns, associations, and non-profits including voter contact mail, website design and online campaigns, print and collateral items, and strategic consulting.

Dan Lewis has cash on hand of $194,501.87 to run a traditional media political campaign on TV and radio.

Notwithstanding, Dan Lewis is running a “social media” campaign for Mayor.

Republican Dan Lewis continues to produce and release commercials on FACEBOOK.

There are severe doubts that a “social media” campaign will reach older, conservative and most likely to vote people who are 50 years of age or older who do not use social media such as FACEBOOK.

Mr. Lewis has not polled well and two recent polls show him first polling at 11% and then 7.8% respectively.

Republican Wayne Johnson is competing for the same conservative Republican votes of Republican Dan Lewis and according to a recent poll they are tied at 7.8%.

WAYNE JOHNSON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

The Wayne Johnson September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $207,770.61 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is now $219,738.25.

Republican Wayne Johnson raised an additional $48,365.00 during the reporting period.

The Wayne Johnson for Mayor campaign reported spending $36,397.36 during the last reporting period.

Notable individuals or businesses that made cash contributions listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Wayne Johnson for Mayor include the following donors:

National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP), $5,000, (NOTE: NAIOP also donated $5,000 to Dan Lewis), Albuquerque. Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, $500, Kursten Johnson, two $5,000 donations, Mechanical Control Systems, Gizelle Alvarez, City of Albuquerque, two $2,000 donations, $2,500, Stan Hubbard, Hubbard Broadcasting, $1,000, Beverly Sanchez, $1,000, Doug Clark, $1,000, Gene Hinkle, Hinkle Investments, $1,000, Don Mc Cleod, Mc Cleod Business Group, $1,000, Associated Contractors of New Mexico, $1,000, Jim Gianelli, $1,000, Nancy Ekern, $500, Robert Bolton, $500, Clark High Street, $500, Charles Johnson, $500, Steve Siligman, $500 and realtor Shirley Rich, $500.

Notable expenditures listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for the Dan Lewis for Mayor include:

Vista Media (Wayne Johnson), $4,263, Wyatt Bortsch, $2,000, SRCP for media placement, $1,077.87, DIRECT EDGE CAMPAIGNS, a direct mail firm, $785, $7,767, $5,102, EKERN Company, Anne Ekron for consulting, $5,000, $2,419 and $1,274. (NOTE: EKRON is a political consulting firm that also advised Mayor Berry’s campaign in 2013.

The Wayne Johnson campaign for mayor had $1,387.83 of “in-kind” donations during the last reporting period of which $1,142 was from the Gilmore Mosely Group.

Republican Wayne Johnson is competing for the same conservative Republican votes of Republican Dan Lewis and according to a recent poll they are tied at 7.8%.

Republican political operative and Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry has donated to Wayne Johnson and Perry will probably want to keep his $195,000 job under a Johnson administration.

Republican Wayne Johnson has been endorsed by Republican Political operative Sherman McCorkle and Ed Lujan, who have both done FACEBOOK testimonials for Johnson, indicating Johnson has made serious inroads into the Dan Lewis Republican base.

Sherman Mc Corkle was Mayor Berry’s transition team chairman eight (8) years ago and is heavily involved with the Albuquerque Greater Chamber of Commerce, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce and the Albuquerque Economic Forum.

RICARDO CHAVES CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Ricardo Chaves is a “self-financed” candidate for Mayor.

The Ricardo Chaves July 14, 2017 Campaign Finance Report revealed that he loaned his campaign for Mayor $500,000.

Mr. Chaves reported in the July 14, 2017 report that he spent $134,666.27 for campaign consulting, management and petition signature gathering to get on the ballot and he had $373,981.53 remaining in his campaign account.

The Ricardo Chaves September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $373,228.34 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is now $298,174.64.

The only notable expenditures listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for the Ricardo Chaves for Mayor is another $75,000 paid to Robert E. Cornelius as a consulting fee.

Mr. Chaves reported he received and $1,858.92 “in kind” contribution from himself for office rental and warehouse space.

The fact that Mr. Chavez has personally loaned his campaign $500,000 and that he still has $298,174 indicates he is a serious candidate with enough money to run political commercials or send out mailers that will impact the race or his entire candidacy has been a ruse and he has no intent on spending anything more of what he has left and will be just reimbursing himself.

MICHELLE GARCIA HOLMES CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

The Garcia-Holmes September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states a cash balance from the last reporting period of $33,300.06 and a closing balance for the recent reporting period as $11,158.36.

The September 8, 2017 financial report reflects Michelle Garcia Holmes reported cash contributions of $9,145.00 with expenditures of $31,286.70 and a closing balance of $11,158.36.

Michelle Garcia Holmes and her husband Earl Holmes each contributed $5,000 for a total of $10,000 to her campaign for Mayor.

Notable cash contributions listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Michell Garcia Holmes for Mayor include the following donors:

Michell Garcia Holmes, $5,000, Joel Jenkins, $2,000, former Attorney General Gary King, $250 and Belinda Drummond. $1,000.

Notable expenditures listed in the September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Michell Garcia Holmes for Mayor include Adelante Mailing Services, $1,087 and $8,750 and KRQE TV, $21,381,75.

Total “in kind” donations for the period were $23, 859 and include the following:

D.J. Heckes, $4,795, AURAE 3 LLC, for media and public relations, $5,000, Joshua Valano with AURAE 3 LLC for media and public relations, $5,150, Mitchelle Garcia Holmes for radio ads, $3495.07, Kathi Cunnigham for media and public relations, $250, Ice Blue Advertising for marketing and ads, $844.

SUSAN WHEELER-DEICHEL CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

The Susan Wheeler-Deichel campaign did not file the September 8, 2017 finance report.

The August 11, 2017 Campaign Finance Report for Wheeler-Deichel reported a balance from the last reporting period of $341.34, total monetary contributions for the reporting period of $1,685.00, total expenditures of $3,955.63 with a negative balance of $1,929.29.

Notable expenditures were for campaign materials and employee services.

The July 17, 2017 finance report reflected $6,275 in monetary contributions to the Susan Wheeler-Deichel campaign, of which $6,175 was a personal loan to her campaign.

GUS PEDROTTY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES

Gus Pedrotty is running a social media campaign by making at least three (3) FACEBOOK commercials that he has written and produced by himself with the commercials being well produced and exhibiting great creativity.

The Gus Pedrotty September 8, 2017 Campaign Finance Report states that the cash balance from the last reporting period was $3,091.88, total monetary contributions for the reporting period as $3,272.39, total expenditures of $3,274.79 and the closing balance for the recent reporting period is as $3,089.48.

Most of Mr. Pedrotty’s donations are cash amounts of $5, $25, $50 with a few $100 and $200 donations.

Notable expenditures were to Greetings Etc. for $1,393, $296 and $516 for printed materials and FEACEBOOK for $397 and $250.

Mr. Pedrotty is very articulate, understands the issues and has stood out at all the debates and forums.

RECENT POLLING

On September 6, 2017, KOB reported a second poll in the 2017 Mayor’s race.

KOB reported each of the candidates polled as follows:

Democrat State Auditor Tim Keller – 22.6%
Former Democratic Party Chair Brian Colon – 19.3%
Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis – 7.8%
Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson – 7.8%
Independent retired APD Police Officer Michell Garcia-Holmes – 5.8%
Republican businessman Ricardo Chavez – 3.5%
Democrat Gus Pedrotty – 1.9%
Independent Susan Wheeler Diechel – 1.8%

The biggest winner in the KOB poll was again “undecided” at 30% as compared to the 36% of undecided in the KRQE poll reported just one day earlier.

The biggest surprise is that Brian Colon has surged beyond Dan Lewis and Wayne Johnson, each having 7.8%, with Colon at 19.3% and coming in second to front runner Tim Keller, who polled at 22.6% with Colon within the margin of error.
Keller’s poll number in the KOB poll at 22.6% is virtually the same as his KRQE poll number at 22%.

Typically, people dispute polls results, but they tend to be self-fulling prophecies that have the effect of gutting the chances of lesser known candidates and drying up campaign contributions to others.

CONCLUSION

From a historical standpoint, municipal elections are very low voter turnout.

The reliable municipal voters tend to be 50 years and older and conservative.

Four years ago, only 19% of eligible voters voted in the lowest voter turnout since 1977.

As the saying goes “a week in politics is an eternity”.

Political television ads, especially negative ads, can affect poll numbers and the outcome of the race.

The wild card in this election “House of Cards” is the considerable amount of money sources are saying is being raised and will be spent to run highly negative ads against Keller and Colón.

According to reliable sources, negative ads have already been produced to run against Colón and Keller and will hit the airwaves within a few days.

Even with only three weeks remaining, just about anything can happen.

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About

Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.