ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — With about two months to go before the state’s general election, the race for the governor’s office is heating up. The latest numbers show that Mark Ronchetti and Michelle Lujan Grisham have spent a combined total of more than $6 million — but what are they spending campaign funds on?
In New Mexico, candidates are required to report their campaign spending to the Secretary of State. The latest reports only show expenses through the beginning of July. But the numbers are clear: The candidates are spending a lot of money to win your vote.
Ronchetti has spent over $2.5 million on his run for the 2022 election, data from the Secretary of State shows. This includes spending on the upcoming general election as well as funds he spent on the primaries earlier this year.
Lujan Grisham, on the other hand, has spent more than $3.7 million. That’s over a million more than Ronchetti. Karen Bedonie, the Libertarian candidate, has only spent a total of about $64,000.
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Naturally, election spending in the governor’s race has ramped up since spring. Data from NMSOS.
For both of the big-spending candidates, the money doled out rose dramatically after April. And there’s still more money to be spent before November.
By far, the biggest expense category for both candidates is T.V. and cable ads. Each has spent over $1.5 million on T.V. airtime, the data reveals. And Lujan Grisham, so far, has outspent Ronchetti in this category by over $100,000.
Lujan Grisham has primarily relied on a Washington D.C.-based company called Buying Time LLC. Ronchetti has used a Virginia-based company called SRCP Media Inc. and a local company called McCleskey Media Strategies.
That local company has experience working with New Mexico GOP candidates. Jay McCleskey was a consultant for Susana Martinez, according to the company’s website. McCleskey also helped Richard Barry become mayor of Albuquerque for two terms starting in 2009.
Beyond T.V. ads, the candidates have also spent money on mailers. Ronchetti has spent more than $1.4 million on mailers in his race for the governor’s office. Lujan Grisham has only spent around $6,000 on mailers.
Both candidates have shied away from radio ads. None of Lujan Grisham’s expenses are classified as radio ads. Ronchetti has spent around $14,600 on radio ads.
One expense category where the candidates differ is campaign consultants. Lujan Grisham has leaned heavily on consultants, paying more than $800,000 in her run for reelection. Ronchetti, however, has only spent around $100,000 on consultants, the data shows.
Ronchetti’s consultants have helped the candidate with fundraising, voter outreach, and some research. Lujan Grisham’s consultants, on the other hand, have handled a wide range of the campaign process such as polling, legal services, ad production, and translation services.