- Associated Press - Monday, April 16, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A Latina Democrat in a closely watched race for an open congressional seat along the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico is seeing a fundraising surge, Federal Election Commission filings show.

Xochitl Torres Small raised $313,000 during the first three months of 2018 - filing her first campaign fundraising report after joining the race late last year. Federal campaign reports also show the water attorney outpaced all Republican candidates seeking to keep the seat in GOP hands.

Republican businessman Monty Newman reported raising $148,000 during the same quarter to beat out his closest rival, state Rep. Yvette Herrell. She reported pulling in $114,000, but was hampered by New Mexico’s 30-day session which prevents state lawmakers from raising money.

Newman still has the most cash-on-hand of all candidates with nearly $370,000.

Gavin Clarkson, a former Trump administration appointee who stepped down after a harsh report into a tribal loan program he oversaw, reported raising $93,000. He entered the GOP primary late last year.

Madeline “Mad” Hildebrandt, the other Democrat in the race, did not submit a campaign report by Sunday’s deadline. The U.S. Coast Guard veteran raised the most money of any candidate in the race last quarter when she pulled in $132,000.

New Mexico’s sprawling southern district currently is held by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who is not seeking re-election to run for governor.

Democrats have long targeted the heavily Hispanic congressional district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans. But the district has remained in GOP hands largely due to Pearce, who has attracted support from Hispanics and the region’s oil and gas interests.

Meanwhile, in an open congressional seat in central New Mexico, a Native American candidate has raised the most money this year among a crowded field of Democratic candidates, federal numbers show.

Laguna Pueblo member and former state Democratic Party chairwoman Debra Haaland raised about $294,000. Campaign finance statements showed that her campaign has a $347,000 cash balance. She is seeking to become the nation’s first Native American woman elected to Congress.

“I just feel like we’re getting recognized,” she said Monday about fundraising efforts. “Congress has never heard a voice like mine.”

Former law school professor Antoinette Sedillo Lopez still has the most cash on hand at $457,000, after garnering just over $150,000 in the first financial quarter.

Former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez’s campaign says it raised $145,000 in the first quarter and has stockpiled $277,000.

Janice Arnold-Jones is running unopposed for the Republican nomination and raised $32,000.

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham is campaigning for governor and will not seek re-election to the Albuquerque-based district.


This story corrects a previous version to say that Republican Monty Newman has nearly $370,000 cash on hand.


Associated Press reporter Morgan Lee contributed to this report from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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