Balderas winning fundraising race against Riedel

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Balderas winning fundraising race against Riedel

The fundraising of Republican attorney general candidate Susan Riedel continues to pale against that of Democratic candidate Hector Balderas.

According to the latest campaign finance report released by the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office, donors gave Balderas $114,129, while Riedel’s contributions were nearly half that, totaling $52,857.

Attorneys and PACs lean left

The majority of Balderas’ campaign contributions come from attorneys and law firms, PACs, the auto industry and small donors.

Around 60 of his contributions worth between $100 and $5,000, come from attorneys and law firms across the country, totaling nearly $38,882, according to the report.

UNM associate professor Michael Rocca said attorneys and law firms are contributing to Balderas for two reasons.

Attorneys have had a pattern of leaning more left and contributing to the Democratic Party throughout history, said Rocca, director of the Honors Program and graduate advisor in the UNM Political Science Department.

“This goes back 30 plus years. Think about the historical legacy and political leniency of The American Bar Association. They are a little bit left of center. Certainly at the national level they have supported the Democratic candidates,” Rocca said. “The conventional wisdom is that most attorneys are behind the Democratic Party.”

But what do attorneys have to gain, if anything, from Balderas being elected? Rocca said the answer is access to the most powerful attorney in the state.

Attorney contributors are going to give the money to who they think is going to win and, as a result, hope for access to the new attorney general, Rocca said.

“The fact that so many attorneys and law firms are giving to Hector Balderas is no surprise given the typical ideological leaning of the ‘academy,’ and the fact that they are just like any other contributor, risk averse,” Rocca said.

The automotive sales industry has contributed considerable amounts to Balderas. According to the second general campaign finance report, nearly $8,500 of his total campaign contributions come from this category.

Larry H. Miller has contributed around $5,000 to Balderas, according to the first general campaign finance report ending Sept. 8.

PACs are another one of Balderas’ big money contributors. According to the finance report from October, nearly $16,000 in contributions come from PACs.

After the September finance reports had been released, a democratic super PAC from the Committee of Fairness and Justice (funded by Democratic Attorneys General Association), scheduled close to $345,350 in television ads aimed towards Balderas’ campaign. This is the first serious ad purchase in N.M. from an outside source. The advertisements have begun airing since Oct. 9 and will continue through Election Day.

Business groups lean right

For Riedel, more than half of her total contributions are from businesses and business owners. Adding up to about $32,000, business donations play a key role in her fund raising.

“The Chamber of Commerce is a right leaning group. Small businesses tend to be more right leaning and so, their natural tendencies are to support the Republican candidate and that goes back 50 to 60 years,” Rocca said.

However, Rocca said there is a catch to this ideological analysis.

“While half of her (Riedel) contributions are coming from small business, my guess is that if you were to compare her total to the total amount of business contributions that Hector Balderas has received over the last campaign finance reports, his contributions would be close to if not more than what she received from small businesses,” Rocca said.

Reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office support that idea. According to the first general campaign finance report, Balderas had raised close to $25,000 from business contributions.

Rocca also said that businesses such as real estate, healthcare, insurance and banking can be less ideological than other groups and are more willing to give money to those in power regardless of ideology, to a certain extent.

One of Riedel’s largest contributions comes from a farmer with a total of $5,000, according the report.

The little guys add up

For both candidates, small contributors add up to relatively significant amounts.

Nearly $12,608 of Balderas’ total contributions come from smaller donations ranging from $5 to $250. For Riedel a total of $2,595 are comprised of these grassroots donations.

Timothy Krebs, professor in the Political Science Department at UNM, said these types of contributions can add up to large amounts of money for campaigns.

“If you can get a critical mass of people contributing these nominal amounts, then pretty soon you’re raising a large amount of money,” Krebs said.

Krebs also said these grassroots contributions can allow the candidates to demonstrate a broader base of support.

“They would look stronger as a candidate with support across the political landscape and that is good effect on the outcome,” Krebs said.[/text_output][share title=”Share this Post” facebook=”true” twitter=”true” google_plus=”true” linkedin=”true” pinterest=”true”][/vc_column][/vc_row]