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Crowdfunding Helps New Mexico Delegates Get to DNC

The Liberty Bell is one of the many historic sites delegates to the Democratic National Convention can visit this week. (Reitmeier/iStockphoto)
The Liberty Bell is one of the many historic sites delegates to the Democratic National Convention can visit this week. (Reitmeier/iStockphoto)
July 25, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. — As thousands of delegates descend on Philadelphia for the start of the Democratic National Convention Monday, many find the accommodations a bit pricey. Democratic Party officials say attending the four-day event can cost more than $3,000.

A number of delegates from New Mexico and other states have turned to crowdfunding accounts to come up with the cash. John Meade, a delegate from Santa Fe pledged to Senator Bernie Sanders, said he set up a GoFundMe.com page.

"So that other people could share in the expenses I'm going to incur as a delegate,” Meade said. "There's some people I know - some Bernie delegates - who couldn't do it without (the) assistance of other people."

Meade said the party does not cover any of the travel or lodging expenses for delegates and that airlines and hotels appear to be charging maximum rates during the convention. A spokesman for GoFundMe.com said about 350 delegates set up convention accounts, raising close to $400,000 toward paying their way.

Meade raised about $2,300 for the trip, exceeding his original goal of $1,900. He said that while the majority of people who sent in money made $5, $10 or $20 contributions, one donor sent $250 and another more than $500. According to Meade, the donations came in from a mixed group of supporters.

"At least a third of the people were people I didn't know,” he said. "A number of the people were people I worked with on the Santa Fe Bernie campaign, and other people just, you know, friends."

Meade, who is a freelance film producer, was one of the organizers of the "Santa Fe for Bernie" campaign. He said the Sanders campaign realized that many of its delegates were young and not wealthy, so they set up a website, FundBernieDelegates.com, to assist them in raising the funds needed to travel to this week's event.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - NM