Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jennings Campaign Shows Muscle in Latest Finance Report

In case anyone thought Senate President Pro-tem wasn't going to take his re-election challenge seriously should read Jennings' latest campaign finance report.

In the last month, Democrat Jennings raised more than $105,000 and spent more than $134,000. He's still got $53,000 cash on hand.

That's quite a bit of dough to spend on a state Senate race.

But the totals aren't the only thing that's notable about the report. Even though Jennings has been targeted by the PAC led by Gov. Susana Martinez's political director, there are some prominent Republican names and traditional GOP supporters on his donor list.

I reported in last week's column, that Jennings' previous report showed a contribution from The Jalapeno Corporation, an oil company chaired by former state GOP Chairman Harvey Yates. The new report shows that oilman Mark Murphy gave Jennings the maximum $2,300. Yates Petroleum kicked in $500. Former Public Regulation Commissioner Rory McMinn gave $500. Oilman Ray Westall, a former state game commissioner, contributed $1,000.

And Jennings got $1,000 from former State Fair Commission Chairman Tom Tinnin, who left the state Board of Finance last year because, he said, he was pressured  by the Martinez administration to back the Downs at Albuquerque racetrack/casino deal. (Martinez has denied pressuring Tinnin and any wrongdoing in the controversial Downs deal.)

Jennings' Republican opponent Cliff Pirtle raised just $3,100 last month and has $17,000 in the bank. However, Jay McCleskey's Reform New Mexico Now still has nearly $113,000 to play with according to its latest report. I suspect some of that will go into the Roswell Senate race.