This is a breaking news article and may be updated.
A number of flyers arrived Friday in people’s mailboxes attacking candidates in Tuesday’s Las Cruces municipal election.
That includes a mailer hitting City Council District 1 candidate Kasandra Gandara that doesn’t disclose who sent it. City ordinance requires that all mailers and other campaign materials identify the name and phone number of the group that sends them.
It’s sometimes difficult to learn the identity of those who send anonymous mailers. And whether the city can punish violators isn’t clear.
“We would have to go through our legal department — because the ordinance just says it is not allowed. It doesn’t state clearly what a penalty would be,” said interim City Clerk Linda Lewis.
Left-leaning PAC attacks
Meanwhile, another flyer that hit mailboxes Friday attacks Gandara’s opponent, Eli Guzman. It was sent by the ProgressNow New Mexico PAC. It’s the first attack this election by a left-leaning group on a conservative candidate that NMPolitics.net has identified.
ProgressNow New Mexico’s nonprofit organization is based in Albuquerque. Its Las Cruces organizer, Lucas Herndon, said ProgressNow has just created the Las Cruces-based PAC that’s responsible for the mailer. That PAC also plans emails, Facebook ads and phone calls in support of Gandara and District 4 candidate Jack Eakman, Herndon said.
Like other groups that spend money to influence the election, ProgressNow is required to file reports of fundraising and spending with the City Clerk’s Office. Herndon said he mailed ProgressNow’s first fundraising report to the city clerk on Thursday and will file additional reports “according to the required deadlines.”
The city hasn’t yet received the group’s first finance report to post online along with other candidate and PAC finance reports. Herndon said funding for the PAC came entirely from “Las Cruces-area supporters.”
Conservative PACs keep hitting
On the other side, GOAL WestPAC, which has been spending heavily to influence the election in favor of conservative candidates, sent two additional mailers hitting incumbent Mayor Ken Miyagishima on Friday. The group has endorsed Miguel Silva in that race.
GOAL West has until early next week — right around Election Day — to file its registration documents and first finance report.
And Advance Las Cruces — which has filed registration documents and its first finance report with the city clerk — sent a mailer Friday hitting Miyagishima and praising Silva. Advance Las Cruces’ first report didn’t include any election spending, so the cost of the mailer and any other campaigning should show up on the group’s next report.
City ordinance requires groups to file initial finance reports when they register, which should happen for ProgressNow and GOAL West in the coming days. After that, the next report is due in December, a month after the election is over.