In the race for N.M. House District 43 between incumbent Stephanie Garcia Richard and challenger Geoff Rodgers, Garcia Richard has gathered close to three times as much money as her opponent.
Garcia Richard’s strong showing so far could end Republican hopes of taking the seat from the Democrats. The Democrats have held the majority in the House for 62 years, a streak the GOP hopes to end.
”This time is different,” Rep. Nate Gentry, an Albuquerque Republican, said in an interview with The Santa Fe New Mexican. “I think it’s possible for us to win the House.”
Both candidates have obtained significant financial contributions from their parties, but they also have raised substantial funds by reaching out to members of the community. Both candidates have been going door-to-door or are using tools online to reach constituents.
Garcia Richard ranks second in state House races for total funds raised, at $252,332 while Rodgers is ranked thirty-sixth with $36,348, according to reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Funding for Garcia Richard’s campaign is split 59 percent from Political Action Committees (PAC) and 41 percent from small donors.
Funding for Rodgers campaign is split 79 percent from PACs and 21 percent from small donors, the reports show.
Big goals, big cash
Garcia Richard is a teacher. Her campaign focuses on improving the state of education in New Mexico.
Tarin Nix, the manager of Garcia-Richard’s campaign said, “the community has shown their support for what Stephanie is trying to do.” In the last general filing period, Garcia Richard had a total of 636 total contributors to her campaign, 595 of which were from individuals and ranged from $2 to $100.
Garcia-Richard’s campaign raised $32,614 dollars in the first general election filing period, almost 3 times as much as her opponent. Of that money, $12,764 comes from small donations from members of the Los Alamos community.
Garcia Richard has been able to spend her money in many different ways. With her resources, she has hired consulting firms to conduct voter and market research, print t-shirts and pay her staff.
She has also made use of Democracy Engine LLC’s services, which, according to its website “fills a void in the political fundraising sphere by offering tools in supporting candidates and causes.”
Small business, small money
Rodgers is a small business owner whose campaign focuses on the “overall quality of life” in his district. Rodgers also supports the idea that big money should stay out of politics. “I despise the amount and the kind of money that is in politics today,” he said.
According to Rodgers, his plan is “to go door to door, meeting people” and introducing himself to the locals.
As of Sept. 1, Rodgers has raised $13,654 in the first filing period for the general election. $11,700 of that has come from political action committees (PACS) and from special interest groups. The remaining $2,000 was raised from individuals.
Almost all of his campaign dollars have gone to SRCPMedia, a Republican media consulting firm which provides targeted and specialized media and advertising for candidates.