On Monday November 27, politcal columnist Joe Monahan on his political blog “New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan” posted the following headline and reported in part as follows:
“Veteran Dem Consultant Predicts Rogers Victory In ABQ City Council Run-off
If longtime progressive Dem political consultant Neri Holguin has it right Nichole Rogers should have a smooth path to victory in her December 12 run-off election with Jeff Hoehn for the District 6 ABQ City Council seat in the liberal SE Heights.
I think Jeff is in trouble because of the considerable financial support his campaign has received from the PAC associated with commercial real estate interests. It is primarily made up of Republicans and as that word circulates the majority Democrats in the district will recoil from supporting him.
Rogers has come under fire for failing to comply with state registration regulations for a nonprofit she founded but Holguin says the mistake lacks sting and she does not expect Rogers to be upended by any more ethics charges.
By her count Holguin has now consulted some 100 state political campaigns. She briefly consulted the Rogers campaign at the start of the regular election. She is not involved in the run-off.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The postscript to this blog article provides a detailed background history of political consultant Neri Holguin, her firm and lists candidate clientele and outlines experience with Measured Finance Committees.
HOLGUIN SOLICITATION FOR NICHOLE ROGERS
Just two days after the Monahan report, political consultant Neri Olguin sent out a fundraising email contradicting what she ostensibly told Joe Monahan that she was not involved with the District 6 runoff. Below is the email:
From: Neri Holguin
Date: Wed, Nov 29, 2023 at 2:07 PM
Subject: Will you support Nichole Rogers for City Council District 6?
I’m emailing today about the upcoming District 6 City Council runoff election on December 12, 2023 with an urgent request for a contribution to the MFC (or PAC) backing Democrat Nichole Rogers TODAY.
Background on the race and why it matters:
The City Council District 6 (Nob Hill/International District) Runoff Election is between Democrats Jeff Hoehn and Nichole Rogers.
Jeff Hoehn despite being a Democrat, didn’t qualify for public financing and has relied heavily on a PAC funded by real estate/oil and gas/Republican donors to prop up his campaign.
Nichole Rogers is a publicly financed candidate and has $20K for her runoff election. She is endorsed by traditional Democratic organizations that we know and trust—labor, Planned Parenthood Votes ABQ, Moms Demand Action, etc. Backing her are electeds like US Rep Melanie Stansbury and Sheriff John Allen and others.
The PAC backing Jeff, called “HELP ABQ & The National Realtors Association,” helped his campaign with mail and digital advertising (including negative ads against Nichole) to get him to the runoff. HELP ABQ are the deep-pocket interests who worked to defeat Democrat Abby Foster (by 154 votes earlier this month), and elect Republican Dan Champine to the Council. The PAC’s consultants help elect Republicans to office in NM.
This year, and to date, HELP ABQ has raised and spent over $200K for the 2023 City Council races and are hoping for a “pick up” with Jeff’s candidacy.
We can elect Nichole, the clear progressive choice for this election, but we need your help. The PAC helping Jeff is already raising tens of thousands of dollars to get him over the line.
We need Nichole because we can not afford a more right-towards tilt on the City Council!
Our polling shows a clear path forward, but the Real NM Leadership PAC must raise another $12K by next Monday, December 4.
Will you let me know if you are able to help with a contribution? Any amount helps and I really appreciate it!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Neri Holguin was the paid political consultant for progressive Democrat Abby Foster who she referred to above who ran against and lost to Republican City Councilor Brook Bassan who was a publicly finance candidate. Foster, despite being a Democrat also did not qualify for public finance, something Holguin objects to with Jeff Hoehn in her email. Review of Abby Foster’s Finance Reports filed with the City Clerk reveals that Foster raised at least $63,117 in private financing and paid Holguin Consulting, Inc. at least $37,268 for consulting fees, staffing and mail services.
The link to the finance reports file by Abby Foster with the City Clerk is here:
MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEES
Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a Measure Finance Committee is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measures within the City of Albuquerque.
Measure Finance Committees (MFA) are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates. Measure Financed Committees are not required to get “permission or authorization” from candidates they support to spend money on their behalf, even if the candidate objects or tries to distance themselves from the MFA. Measure Financed Committees are not allowed to coordinate their activities with the individual candidates running for office, but this is a very gray area as to what constitutes coordination of activities and it is difficult to enforce.
There are 10 Measured Finance Committees (MFC) registered with the City Clerk for the 2023 city municipal election. All give as their purpose to oppose or support candidates for Albuquerque City Council. Review of the 10 MFC’s financial reports reveals they have raised, expended and have the following remaining balances:
- ABQ Firepac (This is the Firefighters MFA): Cash donations $6,350, $2,125 in expenditures with remaining balance of $4,225.
- ABQ Workers First: Cash donations $2,953, remaining balance -0-.
- El Centro PYA, MFC: Cash donations $3,385 and $1,708 in expenditures.
- Help ABQ and National Association of Realtors: Cash donations $145,568, expenditures of $95,549.98 and remaining balance of $73,018.
- Native American Advocacy Fund ABQ, MFC: Cash donations and remaining balance: $5,000.
- No Corporate Council, MFC (Supports only progressive candidates): Cash donations $5,480, expenditures of $804.04, balance of $4,675.
- Progress Now New Mexico, MFC: Cash donations $2,698, expenditures $723.97, cash balance of $1,974.51.
- Real New Mexico Leadership: Cash donations $37,500, expenditures of $20,503.82, remaining balance $7,507.
- Safer Communities ABQ: Cash donations $1,500 with -0- remaining balance remaining
- Sierra Club ABQ, MFC: Cash donations $3,000 with $1,407.73 in expenditures.
The link to review all Measured Finance financial reports filed with the city clerk is here:
Ostensibly, Neri Holguin told political blogger Joe Monahan that she was not involved in the District 6 runoff, otherwise he would not have reported it as a fact. Monahan’s article was seeking her analysis of the District 6 City Council race, she gave her opinion and Monahan published it without question. Holguin’s assertion that she was not involved in the District 6 runoff race proved to be false when two days later Holguin sent out the campaign solicitation memo for Rogers specifically asking the question “Will you support Nichole Rogers for City Council District 6?”
NICHOLE ROGERS PUBLIC FINANCING AND REAL NEW MEXICO LEADERSHIP MFC
Nichole Rogers is a publicly finance candidate and was given $36,917.30 in city funding for her initial campaign to get into the runoff and her campaign has been given another $20,000 in city funding for the run off. Rogers finance reports reflect the entire $36,917.30 she was initially given has been spent with a lion’s share of least $29,999 (two payments: $18,161 and $11,838) in funding going to a firm identified as Semilla Strategies for “campaign management services” which is believed to be an out of state politcal consulting firm. Rogers 3rd RUNOFF STATEMENT Campaign Finance Report which was due November 27, 2023 reports the $20,000 of city public finance for the reporting period of November 18, 2023 to November 24, 2023 with a closing balance of $19,113, remaining available for campaign spending in the runoff.
The link to Nichole Rogers campaign finance reports is here:
Notwithstanding the $56,917.30 in public financing given to Nichole Rogers, the Holguin solicitation email boldly proclaims:
“Our polling shows a clear path forward, but the Real NM Leadership PAC must raise another $12K by next Monday, December 4.”
Note above that Real New Mexico Leadership PAC has had cash donations $37,500, expenditures of $20,503.82 with a remaining balance $7,507.
Holguin does not disclose the results of the polls she is referring to nor what the additional $12,000 she wants is going to be used for which is likely to smear Jeff Hoehn. Holguin fails to disclose in her email solicitation if she is being paid to do the fundraising and to what extent will she will benefit. Polls are costly as is political fundraising by political consultants. High paid political consultants such as Holguin are known to charge anywhere between 20% to as much as 50% of what they raise on behalf of their clients.
According to the Real New Mexico Leadership measure financed committee (MFC) registration with the city clerk, its purpose is to “TO SUPPORT OR OPPOSE ALBUQUERQUE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES”. According to Campaign Finance Reports filed by Real New Mexico Leadership, monetary contributions it has raised is $37,500. A $10,000 contribution to Real New Mexico Leadership was from the New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council reported to oppose Jeff Hoehn and to support Nichole Rogers. Another $10,000 contribution from AFSME Council 18, Local 110, was made to Real New Mexico Leadership to oppose Jeff Hoehn and to support Nichole Rogers. Both US Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury and NM State Senator Michael Padilla campaigns each contributed $1,000 to Real New Mexico Leadership.
The 11th financial statement for Real NM Leadership filed on November 27, 2023 for the reporting period of November 18, 2023 to November 24, 2023 reports $22,500 cash contributions with a remaining balance of $7,507. The 3rd RUNOFF STATEMENT for Real NM Leadership filed on November 27, 2023 for the reporting period of November 18, 2023 to November 24, 2023 reflects the identical remaining balance of $7,507.
The link to Real NM Leadership campaign finance reports is here:
HOLGUIN’S SMEAR OF HOEHN TO FUNDRAISE FOR ROGERS
Holguin in her solicitation letter fires off more than a few nasty little broadsides she is so well known for at Progressive Democrat Jeff Hoehn. The first broadside is:
“Jeff Hoehn despite being a Democrat, didn’t qualify for public financing and has relied heavily on a PAC funded by real estate/oil and gas/Republican donors to prop up his campaign.”
Olguin’s statement that Hoehn “has relied heavily on a PAC funded by real estate/oil and gas/Republican donors to prop up his campaign” is simply FALSE. It is a classic politcal smear used by progressive politcal operatives such as Holguin to smear other Democrats, even progressive Democrats, they perceive as not progressive enough for their liking.
There is no way it can be said JEFF HOEHN is being propped up by oil and gas interests nor by developers in that he has raised on his own over $47,000 and has spent upwards of $40,000 on his campaign No donations from oil and gas donors nor from major developers such as NAIOP can be found when you review his campaign finance reports.
Progressive Democrat Jeff Hoehn has said repeatedly that he entered the race very late and consequently he had to go the private finance route. Hoehn’s campaign has been successful with private fund raising. Review of all Campaign Finance Reports filed with the City Clerk, which includes 3 Run Off Finance Reports, reflects Jeff Hoehn has raised $47,261.61 in cash contributions and $39,773.39 in campaign expenditures to date with no loans reported as due and owing. $1,010,21 in “in-kind” contributions are reported.
When you study Hoehn’s campaign finance reports you find his donations are coming from District 6 residents and small businesses in District 6 with many coming from neighborhood activists in the District. Jeff Hoehn’s campaign has raised money from neighbors, friends and family members.
There are absolutely NO donations from people associated with oil and gas interests nor from major city developers. According to Hoehn’s 3rd and latest Runoff Financial statement he has a cash balance of $3,798.07. Much more is expected to be reported in in the next report due after the December 12 election.
The link to review Jeff Hoehn’s Campaign Finance Reports is here:
Contact was made with City Council District 6 candidate Jeff Hoehn and he revealed he has in fact turned down donations from the likes of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) and developers and others he does not know nor major Real Estate Companies. He has not solicited any donations from the oil and gas industry, the real estate community nor Republicans as implied by Neri Holguin’s fund-raising effort for Rogers.
CANDDIDATE JEFF HOEHN DISTANCES SELF FROM PAC
The Holguin donation solicitation email for Roger’s states in part:
“The PAC backing Jeff, called “HELP ABQ & The National Realtors Association,” helped his campaign with mail and digital advertising (including negative ads against Nichole) to get him to the runoff.”
On November 3, Jeff Hoehn on his campaign web site aggressively distanced himself from “HELP ABQ & The National Realtors Association” by issuing a statement that reads in part as follows:
“I’ve learned that a Measure Finance Committee … called Help ABQ has sent out negative messages. I am disappointed in this, since this PAC has chosen to support me in this election. Voters may think that I sent it or endorsed it. I didn’t authorize these communications and I have no control over this PAC. It’s more than unfortunate that they are tying my campaign to negative messaging.
The HelpABQ PAC and Rival Strategies put out a message that contradicts the values and commitment to positivity that has brought our campaign this far. The message suggested that “liberal extremist groups” are trying to influence this race. That is not true.
I reject HelpABQ’s message that organizations like Planned Parenthood or the Sierra Club are extremist groups. I stand with Planned Parenthood and I am strongly pro-choice. My wife and I have donated to Planned Parenthood, and I have personally taken actions to protect a woman’s right to choose.
Planned Parenthood is by no means an extremist group. Same for Sierra Club. I sought these two endorsements, and I came close to getting both of them. My campaign has never engaged in negative messaging.”
… [T]he voters, deserve better. I urge voters to take a close look at each D6 candidate’s background and experience before making the very important decision of who to vote for.”
On October 24, Hoehn issued a statement that reads in part:
“As we get close to Election Day, I have heard that there is some misinformation circulating about me and my campaign. Don’t buy it. Let me tell you who I am. I am a lifelong progressive Democrat. I am not “in the pocket” of developers or businesses. I run a nonprofit that is helping Albuquerque families break the cycle of homelessness. My campaign has gained broad community support while being privately financed. I entered the race late at the urging of my neighbors, and had to focus all my energy on qualifying for the ballot and did not qualify for public financing. That said, I am proud to be running a clean, transparent, grassroots campaign.”
When you examine the campaign finance reports of “HELP ABQ & The National Realtors Association” it is clear as day the donations are dedicated to help or support or oppose 4 candidates for city council or ballot measures, and not just Jeff Hoehn. Jeff Hoehn has disclosed that he contacted the City Clerk’s office to object to donations made by oil and gas interest to “HELP ABQ & The National Realtors Association” where they identify him as one of 4 candidates and ballot initiatives they are supporting or opposing.
The city clerk in no uncertain terms told Jeff Hoehn that there was nothing he could do about the donations and his name appearing on the measured finance committee report because of the Supreme Court Case of Citizens United. Hoehn has also condemned the commercial by the same PAC that attacked progressive organizations such as the Sierra Club.
The blunt truth is that all candidates, including Jeff Hoehn, have absolutely no control over third party measured finance committees such as “HELP ABQ & The National Realtors Association” and donations made nor how they can be used. The candidates are strictly prohibited by law from coordinating campaigns and communicating with them.
Pollical operative Neri Holguin knows full well what the truth is, what the law is, and knows when it comes to Measured Finance Committees and Political Action Committees candidates have no control over them. Yet she insists on promoting the false narrative in her solicitation email that because a donation was made somehow Jeff Hoehn is affiliated with the donor, that he is relying on the PAC and the candidate will do the donors bidding once elected which is not the case.
What is very disgusting is that there is false and inflammatory accusation being made by a Progressive Democrat that a $10,000 donation has been made by Yates Petroleum to Jeff Hoehn. The Progressive Democrat in an email said “Jeff is being financed by Harvey Yates and friends. He is not progressive or will not be on council.” The person was told in no uncertain terms to “knock it off” and that the accusations were a lies. The person making the false accusation failed to disclose that the donation was made to a Measure Finance Committee, dedicated to oppose or support 4 candidates for city council and Hoehn had absolutely nothing to do with the donation.
ROGERS FAILING FORWARD CANDIDACY NO CLEAR CHOICE
Holguin continues with her smear of Hoehn and says this in her email solicitation:
“We can elect Nichole, the clear progressive choice for this election, but we need your help. The PAC helping Jeff is already raising tens of thousands of dollars to get him over the line. … We need Nichole because we can not afford a more right-towards tilt on the City Council!”
There will be no so called “more right-towards tilt on the City Council” as Holguin implies if Jeff Hoehn is elected given the fact he is a decidedly Progressive Democrat. Jeff Hoehn has been Democrat all of his life, and works with nonprofits and works directly with progressive organizations and elected officials on many levels.
Holguin calling Nichole Rogers the clear progressive choice for District 6 is so very laughable and so very wrong on so many levels. Rogers’ campaign has been severely damaged as a result reports of a disturbing history of civil litigation involving debt collections and evictions, property liens, misdemeanor convictions, failure to file state and federal documentation for the non-profit she runs and questions if she has really lived in the district for 6 years as she claims or if she is living in an apartment on the West side with her family. She has admitted to the mismanagement of her nonprofit.
When the news reports first broke on Roger’s problems relating to her nonprofit, Rogers admitted that she mishandled her charitable non-profit, which benefited from both private contributions and COVID relief money from the city. Rogers claimed her conduct was not disqualifying. Rogers said this:
“I am a person who has had successes and has had failures. But I really believe in failing forward. When you know better, you do better and I’m someone who can teach folks to watch out for these pitfalls.”
When confronted with her history of litigation and legal problems and asked to confirm if she was the named defendant in the cases, she declined to do so and said this:
“I have discussed a lot of this openly during my campaign, I have TRUE lived experience with being unable to pay rent on time, with poverty, and with navigating systems. … I would love to talk about how my own experience with poverty has led me to be where I am today. As a victim of identity theft, I do not share personal information via email or over the phone.”
Nichole Rogers boldly proclaims that she “really believe[s] in failing forward” and that she has “TRUE lived experience.” How about just not failing by following the law, knowing better, taking full responsibility for your mistakes and not repeating them and not deflecting the truth. How about paying your debts, securing mandatory car registrations and car insurance, and attending scheduled court hearings to avoid bench warrants being issued for your arrest.
The blunt truth is Nichole Rogers has not been forth coming. Her credibility is in serious doubt because of falsehoods and failures to disclose. She has failed to be completely transparent when it comes to her litigation history and her residence.
The November 29 fundraising memo sent by Neri Holguin to donors is so very wrong with false and inflammatory allegations smearing a candidate not considered “progressive enough” to Holguin’s liking. It’s this type of fundraising that people are so disgusted with when it comes to measured finance committees, misleading people and negative campaigning to smear the opposition.
Neri Holguin has become the Progressive Democrats version of what political consultant Jay McClusky is to the conservative Republicans. Both represent what is so very wrong with politics in this day and age of Donald Trump.
The influence of big money in elections allowed by the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United is destroying our democracy. Many highly qualified candidates for office all too often do not bother to run because of the inability or difficulty raising the necessary money to run.
Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process. Money spent becomes equated with the final vote. Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the outcome of an election.
Neri Holguin is the owner and primary principal of Holguin Consulting, Inc. Holguin has been a political consultant since at least 2007 when she managed the successful campaign of Albuquerque City Council District 6 Rey Garduno.
Holguin Consulting, Inc. is a paid political consulting firm based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that manages political candidate campaigns. According to its web page, the firm provides services in the areas of political “strategic consulting”, “message development”, “issues” and candidate opposition research, campaign “field service work”, “get out the vote services”, “targeting”, polling, direct mail and TV and Radio production services.
In 2009, Holguin was the paid political consultant or campaign manager for former Progressive Democrat State Senator Richard Romero who ran against moderate Democrat Mayor Marty Chavez that resulted in splitting the Democratic vote and ensuring the election of Conservative Republican Mayor Richard Berry.
The 2017 Mayor’s race provides an insight into how influential Measured Finance Committees are in elections and how well-versed political consultant Neri Holguin is on how they operate. In the 2017 Mayor’s Race, then NM State Auditor Tim Keller qualified for a total of $506,254 in public financing which included the run off funding. Notwithstanding Keller qualifying for public financing, there were 3 measured finance committees that promoted Keller: ABQ Forward, ABQFIREPAC and ABQ Working Families. Neri Holguin headed up the Measured Finance Committee ABQ Forward Together that raised upwards of $1 Million used towards the election of Mayor Tim Keller. Broken down, at least $1,169,254 minimum was spent on Tim Keller’s campaign for Mayor ($506,254 public finance money + $663,000 ABQ Forward = $1,169,254 total). Broken down further, $1,358,254 was actually spent on Tim Keller’s campaign for Mayor ($506,254 public finance money + $663,000 ABQ Forward + $67,000 ABQFIREPAC + $122,000 ABQ Working Families = $1,358,254.)
In the 2021, Holguin was the paid campaign manager for Mayor Tim Keller’s successful re election bid against Bernalillo County Sherriff Manny Gonzales and radio talk show host Eddy Aragon. Keller again qualified for public financing and was given increased public financing of $640,000 for his reelection bid by the city. It was Holguin who spearheaded and challenged the $5 qualifying donations submitted by Manny Gonzales alleging fraud in the collection of qualifying donations that was eventually upheld by the City Clerk appointed by Mayor Tim Keller and forced Gonzales to privately finance his campaign.
In the 2023 races for city council, Holguin was the campaign manager and consultant for Progressive Democrat Joaquin Baca in City Council District 2, who won, and for Progressive Democrat Abby Foster in City Council District 4 and who lost to incumbent Republican Brook Bassan. In the District 4 race, Holguin and Foster alleged wide spread voter fraud by Bassan, as was alleged against Sherriff Gonzales, when it was reported that Bassan’s legislative aide had resided with Bassan for a period of time and changed her registration to be able to vote for Bassan and made a $5.00 donation.
Holguin Consulting, Inc.’s web page lists campaigns Holguin has successfully managed including Mayor Tim Keller, Albuquerque City Councilors Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Joaquin Baca, Ray Garduno, Bernalillo County Commissioners Barba Baca, Eric Olivas, Debbie O’mally, Maggie Hart Stebbins and Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen. Numerous State House Representatives and State Senator candidates are also identified. What all of Holguin’s Democratic candidates have in common is that they are decidedly “progressive”, no moderate or conservatives Democrats need apply for her services.
The link to Holguin Consulting, Inc.’s web page that provides background on the services it provides and lists clientele is here:
Vetting Of City Council District 6 Candidate Nichole Rogers Reveals Disturbing History Of Civil Litigation, Evictions, Property Liens, Misdemeanor Citations, Failure To File Non-Profit State And Federal Documentation; Rogers Residency In District Disputed; District 6 Voters Should Say No To Nichole Rogers “Failing Forward” Candidacy And Vote Jeff Hoehn City Council