In the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democratic contender Martin Heinrich has raised nearly four times as much money as his primary opponent Hector Balderas in the first three months of 2012, according to reports filed recently with the Federal Election Commission.
But both Democrats were outpaced by likely Republican Senate nominee Heather Wilson, who last week reported raising nearly $760,000 in the first quarter of this year.
Balderas, who is state auditor, raised almost $127,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31, leaving just short of $395,000 in the bank, according to his report.
Heinrich, in the first quarter, raised more than $490,000 and had more than $1.55 million cash on hand at the end of last month, his campaign said last week.
Balderas' campaign manager Caroline Buerkle said that Balderas raised more than $100,000 of his total following the pre-primary convention in early March. At that convention, Heinrich, a congressman from Albuquerque, won the support of about 54 percent of Democratic Party leaders, while Balderas got about 45 percent of the vote.
Wilson, a former congresswoman from Albuquerque, reported having $1.45 million cash on hand, slightly less than Heinrich.
Wilson’s only primary opponent is dark horse Greg Sowards, a Las Cruces businessman, who, according to the Associated Press, loaned his campaign $100,000 and collected $4,135 in contributions from individuals, according to a finance report summary released by his campaign on Monday. The latest loan boosted to slightly more than $1.1 million the amount of personal money Sowards has put into the race.
Lt. Gov. John Sanchez had been running for the Senate seat. However, underfunded and trailing in polls, Sanchez dropped out in February and endorsed Wilson.
Contact Steve Terrell at 986-3037 or email@example.com. Read his political blog at roundhouseroundup.com.
UPDATE 4-17-12 7:27 am A previous version of this report did not have numbers for Republican candidate Greg Sowards. Those totals from Sowards' report have been added in the text.
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