Friday, January 22, 2016

Quintanilla Campaign in Crisis Mode

Former State Rep Chente Quintanilla was never in a position to win the election against current State Rep Mary Gonzalez but the idea was that he was at least going to bloody her nose a bit and go out on his shield.

Based on campaign finance reports and a media story, it looks like Chente is going to struggle to get a respectable showing. He may have a hard time breaking 30% of the vote at this point.

According to campaign finance reports, Chente Quintanilla basically raised nothing and has almost nothing left. In another strange campaign finance report involving the Texans for Education Reform, Quintanilla is reporting large sums of money but it is almost all "in-kind" (about $40k) and he only raised a few thousand dollars from the Ivey's - prominent valley farmers and close friends of the Quintanillas.

There is also a problem in how he reports his expenditures. There is a requirement to post who the ultimate payee is on the reports and he just reports ATM withdrawals for cash to pay his campaign volunteers. He's actually required to list them by name on his report. 

But now a bigger problem from Chente is the fact that he is involved in a lawsuit that alleges voter fraud against him, and Justices of the Peace Nina Serna and Ruben Lujan. 

This story from ABC 7 and reporter Maria Garcia alleges that there were irregularities involving mail-in ballots in the Fabens, Tornillo, and Socorro areas. 

Serna was a staffer for Chente and the two remain close both politically and personally. Lujan is a long time ally and friend of Chente. If you recall, Lujan was the game-show style host for Chente's now infamous New Years Day pachanga in which Chente, Lujan, and other candidates physically handed out cash to potential voters. More on Lujan in an upcoming post. 

There is a letter mentioned in the story from the Secretary of State's Office to the Attorney General's Office that says that the information raised by Serna warrants a criminal investigation.

That's a big deal. I should also note that this isn't the first time this allegation has been raised. There have been issues involving mail-in ballots alleged against Chente since 2012.

The last thing Chente needs right now is this story coming to light right when he's having problems raising money. 

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