Nine candidates for Santa Fe city council in the March 6 election are largely relying on public campaign financing to get their message to voters. While the first round of election spending reports filed Thursday with the city clerk shows the race for mayor is already spendy, council races are naturally not making as big an economic splash.
Some spending, however, might raise eyebrows. One candidate sent most of his campaign cash to a printer where he's the general manager, and others shelled out to businesses located out of the city and out of the state.
District 1 incumbent Signe Lindell raised $32,000 and reports spending a little over $10,000. Her contributions came from a long list of mostly local people who gave in increments of $1,000 and $500.
Locals Nancy Mamel, Vance Campbell, Dave Wood and Brad Barrios, and Evelyn G Ward were among those who maxed out the allowable contribution in a council race, along with Barry Duran, a broadcaster in New Jersey; and Alex Carr, who works at the Staten Island Zoo. She also counts a $400 donation from Alan Webber and his wife Frances Diemoz, and $500 from Morty Simon and Carol Oppenheimer.
Lindell spent $4,720 on "mail design services" with Chadderdon Lesting Creative Strategies in Alexandria, Virginia. She bought $944 worth of T-shirts from Monsoon Design and hired Santa Fe photographer Daniel Quat for $541.
Her challenger, Marie Campos, making a third run for the seat, qualified for public campaign financing and has spent a little over half her $15,000 allocation. Her biggest payment went to MMG Communications Group: $3,000 for "campaign digital media and consulting." She also spent $2,624 with Que Suave AM 810 for radio ads and most the remaining cash ordering supplies from Amazon.
Public money went to all the remaining candidates in contested races.
In District 2, where three candidates are vying for the seat Joseph Maestas is giving up to run for mayor, repeat candidate Joe Arellano, a business owner who lost to Maestas in the last race, reported spending $6,190.
Carol Romero-Wirth, an attorney who works in public policy consulting, spent $5,830, sending $3,390 to The Printers on Cerrillos Road and $1,677 to Mailquick in Albuquerque.
Nate Downey, a permaculture designer, reported $2,913 in expenditures, with $1,655 going to Sign Rocket in St. Paul, Minnesota. He also hired the local Array Design Studio for website development and design work worth $673.
Roman Abeyta is running unopposed for the District 3 seat being vacated by Carmichael Dominguez. He reports contributions of just over $1,000, with three of five donations from people with the last name Salazar. He spent $995 on an early campaign party and photo shoot.
In District 4, where three candidates are seeking to fill the seat Ron Trujillo is giving up to run for mayor, so far JoAnne Vigil Coppler has been the most frugal. The real estate broker and former city human resources director reported spending $3,380 of her public campaign finance money on holiday cards, signs and door hangers.
The biggest expense, nearly a third of the total, was a consulting fee for campaign manager Charlotte Roybal of $1,070. Albuquerque graphic designer Linda Lillow was paid $313 for her services.
Greg Scargall, a veteran who served in the Persian Gulf and who now coordinates the Veteran Resource Center at Santa Fe Community College, has put out about $5,838 of public money so far, the vast majority going to an LLC called Elaphant on Cloudstone Drive: $4,557 for "campaign materials," according to his filing. He also hired Santa Fe photographer Kevin Guevara for $250.
Eric J Holmes counts just over $6,000 in remaining cash on hand after he doled out $8,996 for his first round of expenses. Holmes, a business owner whose grandfather was once the city's police chief, spent the vast majority ($8,918) with Santa Fe Sports and Images on Warner Circle (but called that business by three different names on the report, including Santa Fe Prints and Images and Santa Fe Signs and Images). Holmes is listed as the general manager for Santa Fe Sports and Images on the business website.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong location for Scargall's military service.