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Dem congressman raises $652,000 in NM Senate bid

Associated Press Modified: October 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm •  Published: October 14, 2011
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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich led the field in fundraising this summer in the race for New Mexico's open U.S. Senate seat, collecting nearly $652,000 in contributions.

Heinrich, who is in his second term representing the Albuquerque-area 1st Congressional District, had a cash balance of $1.1 million in his campaign account at the end of last month, according to a fundraising disclosure released by his campaign.

Heinrich raised more than twice as much as Democratic State Auditor Hector Balderas, who received $251,681 in contributions. Heinrich got $651,830 from July through September.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson raised more money than Lt. Gov. John Sanchez. Wilson pulled in $532,228 during the last quarter while Sanchez netted $161,160 in contributions, according to campaign finance summaries released by the candidates.

Wilson had cash-on-hand of $952,898 and Sanchez had a balance of nearly $248,899. Balderas had $465,523 in his campaign account.

Republican Greg Sowards of Las Cruces had not yet released a fundraising summary as of Friday.

The Senate seat is open next year because Democratic incumbent Jeff Bingaman is retiring when his fifth term expires.

In 2008, when New Mexico also had an open Senate seat, the Democratic and GOP nominees spent a combined $12 million on their campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Wilson said her campaign had received contributions from 3,500 donors and "we have raised more money from more people in the last six and a half months that we did in 2008 over nine months."

Sanchez, who was Gov. Susana Martinez's running mate last year, said Friday his campaign had 856 donors and he was "very pleased with the broad base of support" he had received.

Heinrich said nearly 2,600 individuals contributed to his campaign, with 94 percent of those giving $200 or less.

Wilson served five terms in Congress representing the 1st District, but gave up the seat for an unsuccessful bid for the GOP Senate nomination in 2008 when Republican Pete Domenici retired. Democrat Tom Udall won the Senate race in the general election.

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