Update: Online reporting glitches may be holding up campaign finance reports

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By The Staff

As of Wednesday afternoon, only seven of the eleven county council candidates had campaign finance reports posted on the secretary of state's site. The deadline for filing the reports elapsed at midnight Monday. The penalty for failure to file the report can cost a candidate for public office $50 per day. However, a spokesperson with the secretary of state's office suggests that the problem may rest more with the online reporting system rather than with candidates filing late.

Public Information Officer James Flores of the Secretary of State’s office confirmed this morning that because the change over to the new electronic financial reporting system has caused delays for some candidates, penalties will not be assessed this reporting period.   “As of close of business Tuesday, we had 39 candidates who had not filed,” Flores said. “The majority of those candidates filed on Excel spreadsheets and we’ve been trying to transport those reports into our new system. For the next few days we are not going to fine anybody – our goal is to get everyone acclimated to the new system – so right now we are giving everyone the benefit of the doubt but we will be much more stringent come the May 10 reporting date.”

Thus far, donations haven't come close to the 2008 county council race when the biggest spenders were Vincent Chiravalle ($4,441.99) and Michael Wismer ($4,474.14), who both won seats on the council. In the 2006 race for county council, Nona Bowman had the highest campaign expenditures ($5,391.53), followed by Michael Wheeler ($4,305.08), and Robert Gibson ($3,743.11).

Ironically, Marco Lucero, candidate for sheriff, is running unopposed, and yet, he's pulled down the most in terms of contributions reported thus far.

Name Office Party Contributions Expenditures Johnson, Joann County Assessor Republican 0 0 Berting, Frances County Council Republican 5 5 Damiani, Ralph County Council Republican 0 0 Davis, Anthony County Council Republican 1100 249.95 Hall, James County Council Republican 0 0 Hannemann, Richard County Council Republican 55 55 Phelps, Ralph County Council Republican 175 0 Rodgers, Geoffrey County Council Republican 0 123.27 Lucero, Marco County Sheriff Democrat 1980.52 0 Ahlers, Gary Magistrate Judge Republican 0 0 Casados, Pat Magistrate Judge Democrat 0 0 Hong, Y. Ellen Probate Judge Democrat 0 0 Wallace, Jeannette State Representative Republican 3910 0

For more information on candidates who have filed for various local and statewide elections, click here. Early voting in the primary election begins May 4.

The Los Alamos Monitor and the Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring a Candidates Forum featuring the eleven candidates who have filed for the four seats up for election on the county council. The event is set to take place April 29th. Watch the newspaper for further details in the days ahead.

Check back here for campaign finance updates as they become available.