Election 2018

Davis outraises Hogrefe in 'war chest' contributions

By Cody Hooks
chooks@taosnews.com
Posted 10/18/18

The two candidates running for sheriff have plenty of differences, but one that definitely separates them ahead of the election in November is money.

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Election 2018

Davis outraises Hogrefe in 'war chest' contributions

Posted

The two candidates running for sheriff have plenty of differences, but one that definitely separates them ahead of the election in November is money.

Jani Davis, a Republican running to unseat Democratic Jerry Hogrefe, has both outraised and outspent the incumbent sheriff, who's running a shoestring campaign as a working sheriff.

The Taos News reviewed campaign finance reports, including the most recent round that were due to the Secretary of State's office Oct. 8. Those reports cover the period between Sept. 4 and Oct. 1. The final two reports for the general election are due Nov. 1 and Dec. 6. The election is Nov. 6

Of the 15 contested sheriff races in New Mexico, Taos County's ranks among the most expensive and has one of the largest fundraising gaps between candidates.

Overall, Davis has raised $17,879.11 to Hogrefe's $5,190.00. Since both candidates started their campaigns, Davis has spent more than three times as much money as Hogrefe.

The gap widened after the primaries, which was a crowded five-way race for the Democrats but wide-open for Davis, the only Republican. Hogrefe brought in only $300 since the primaries; he received three donations, each of $100.

Davis raised $9,953.45 since the primaries; more than half of that she donated to her own campaign while the rest came from 23 individual donations. The largest donation was $1,300 from a Ranchos de Taos resident, with a handful of out-of-state donors Davis said consists of personal friends.

"I do have a lot of very good, long-term friends, even from other states, who've known me all my life and really feel like personally I could make a big difference in this community," she said.

Though Davis said she hasn't been actively fundraising, her website does make a donation pitch to build her "war chest."

"In order to win elections, you have to get your name out there," Davis said. "Jerry's name has been out there a lot more than mine. I've had to pay for a lot of things out-of-pocket to get myself out there. Unfortunately, money is a big part of elections. All I can say is I've run a really serious campaign."

Hogrefe also told The Taos News he has not been actively fundraising. Though the two latest campaign finance reports show a minuscule total in contributions compared to Davis, he said he's received -- and spent -- some "nice donations," which will be reflected in future campaign finance reports. He's also donated his own money to his own campaign, he said.

"People of the community know I'm their sheriff. The majority of people support that I've done a good job. I would hope that would carry me some distance, but I'm not taking this lightly whatsoever," he said. "I hope they'll understand I have the office to run and be part of."

Neither Hogrefe nor Davis knew of any political action committees supporting their campaign.

Davis contested the rumors that her campaign has been funded by dark money from national conservative fundraisers. A video in support of Davis circulated on Facebook. The video was created by Law Enforcement and Supporters for Media Accountability, which has "PAC" (political action committee) in some of its branding but is not a registered PAC in New Mexico.

The organization supported Davis during an excessive use of force case that led to her firing from Taos Police Department in 2015. She was ultimately acquitted of the charge and settled a wrongful firing suit filed against the town of Taos this past June. She said she did not ask for the video to be created, has removed it from her Facebook page and has distanced herself from it and the video's creator since then.

The gap in political contributions in this race is notable across all contested sheriff races in New Mexico. During the first general election reporting period, Hogrefe and Davis had the largest disparity in the amount of money raised. After the Oct. 8 report, sheriff races in Bernalillo County, the state's most populous, and Union County, one of the least populated, had larger gaps in total dollars raised between the two candidates.

And among the contested sheriff races in the state, more money is being spent per capita on Taos County residents than almost anyone else. Combined, Davis and Hogrefe have spent about $0.55 per resident.

The only counties where more money has been spent on each person is De Baca County, with about $0.77 per head for fewer than 2,000 people, and Union County, with about $4.40 per head but for fewer than 4,500 residents.

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