Labor unions, oil and gas interests fuel contributions to state's political parties

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By Barry Massey

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Labor unions and the oil and natural gas industry were leading sources of money for New Mexico's Democratic and Republican parties during the past six months as they prepared for a critical campaign season, according to the latest financial disclosures.

The Democratic Party's state campaign committee raised $214,577 from October through April 5. Labor unions provided about $66,000 of that, with $40,000 coming from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The Republican Party collected $192,455, with oil and gas companies and their principals contributing about $107,000. Roughly 80 percent of the industry's contributions came from members of the Yates family and their companies. Artesia-based Yates Petroleum contributed $27,500.

It's a busy election year in New Mexico. Voters will elect a new governor. All 70 seats in the state House of Representatives are up for election along with other statewide offices, such as attorney general and land commissioner.

The outcome of this year's gubernatorial and legislative elections have potentially long-term political consequences because New Mexico will redraw boundaries of its congressional and other elective office districts next year using population figures from the 2010 census.

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