Friday marks the first day that candidates for state-wide public office can begin collecting signatures to get on the ballot for the June primary.
While nomination petition forms for the governor’s race have not been available until now, the field of Republican nomination contestants has already taken shape.
Seven Republicans have announced their intention to seek the nomination, touting their varied backgrounds and skills as the best to take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in November 2022.
But at least two questions remain: will anyone else be in the race? And with only nine months to go to the primary, will they have enough time to run an effective campaign?
Senate Minority Whip Craig Brandt R-Rio Rancho said potential candidates still have time, even if it is running out.
âWe’ve seen it before, you know, when someone comes in at the last minute,â he said. “If they have the support they need I don’t think so [it’s too late]. I think it comes close, though. I think if you haven’t come by mid-November it might push things along. “
Brandt said the pool of GOP candidates seeking governor could grow.
âThere have been several names that have floated around,â he said. “I have spoken to a few people personally, but I cannot share any information.”
While not disclosing details, Brandt admitted to discussing the governor’s race with Mark Ronchetti, a popular television meteorologist who launched a tight but unsuccessful bid for the US Senate against Ben Ray LujÃ¡n last year. .
âIt’s really between him and his wife whether or not he wants to start over,â Brandt said. “It’s a really difficult thing. He still has young children at home, he needs to be able to support his family. It would be a personal sacrifice for him to participate in this race.”
Ronchetti did not return messages seeking comment.
But if he tossed his name in the hat, he would have an advantage over the seven Republicans who have already announced their intentions, wrote Gabriel Sanchez, professor of political science at the University of New Mexico, in an email.
Of the seven prospects, none have statewide name recognition, Sanchez wrote. “This is why there is a lot of interest in whether Ronchetti will announce a campaign, as he has a strong and positive notoriety and has shown his ability to perform well in a statewide race.”
Sanchez added: “If he were to announce that he would in my opinion be the front-runner for the GOP nomination.”
He thinks there is still a long time for someone to mount a solid campaign for the governorship. But he said they would need two important resources: the ability to raise funds for the campaign and name recognition.
“For a statewide race, it is essential that a candidate enjoys positive name recognition statewide, and although candidates who do not bring this asset to the race when âThey advertise that they can generate a name id through their campaign, it takes time and costs a lot of money,â Sanchez wrote.
Of the seven Republicans running for the nomination, State Representative Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences is said to have the highest name recognition. The other candidates in the race are business owner Karen Bedonie, who is posing as the only Native American candidate; Jay Block, Sandoval County commissioner and retired Air Force officer; Ethel Maharg, former mayor of the village of Cuba who is now executive director of the Right to Life Committee of New Mexico based in Albuquerque; Louie Sanchez, medical representative and owner of a shooting range; Tim Walsh, a retired teacher who worked as an educational advisor to former Governor Gary Johnson; and investment advisor and West Point graduate Greg Zanetti.
Dow is called the favorite.
Louie Sanchez, who sought the Republican nomination for a seat in the United States Senate in 2020, wrote in a statement: “Any assumption that there is a ‘favorite’ is just a baseless assumption that undermines the vital role that Republican primary voters will play in the selection of candidates and do their own research to decide who is best equipped to lead the fight against Lujan Grisham. “
Louie Sanchez called the race “wide open,” giving each candidate the opportunity to get their message across directly to voters.
âI look forward to the upcoming campaign and the opportunity to continue to travel across the state so that New Mexicans can make their voices heard,â he wrote.
Steve Pearce, president of the New Mexico Republican Party, declined a request for an interview. The party has also declined to respond to a number of emailed questions, including whether other candidates are considering running for the gubernatorial nomination or which of the seven has the best chance of toppling Lujan Grisham.
“At the moment, it is too early for the RPNM to address the many candidates running for the Republican nomination for governor or to discuss campaigns,” spokesman Mike Curtis wrote in a statement.
Delaney Corcoran, spokesman for the New Mexico Democratic Party, said the field of GOP gubernatorial candidates was in disarray.
“The only thing the Republican candidates have shown is that they are in a race to see who can look most like Donald Trump and appeal to the far right,” she wrote in an e -mail. “From internal struggles in amateur organizations to disconnected politics, it’s clear that GOP Chairman Steve Pearce has lost control of the New Mexico Republican Party. The future of the GOP in New Mexico looks bleak.”
In a statement, Pearce hit back, writing that the New Mexico Republican Party is “more organized and prepared to take back our state than ever before.” He also wrote that the party has vision, strong candidates, and is committed to ensuring the rights and freedoms of New Mexico citizens are protected.
“Governor Lujan Grisham has always failed New Mexico and its people: she destroyed our economy, closed businesses, deprived New Mexicans of freedoms, overstepped her authority as governor with her decrees and even had to pay. secret money surrounding his sexual harassment of his staff, âhe wrote, referring to a deal with his former campaign spokesperson, who accused the governor of grabbing his crotch.
âHer record is miserable and her progressive agenda continues to embarrass us as a state. She has driven families out of New Mexico to seek a better education, and businesses have fled our state as well. This governor has also let down our citizens when it comes to crime, and she adamantly refuses to acknowledge the current southern border crisis, âPearce wrote.â Any Republican candidate for governor would do a better job, and we are determined to take the job. governor next year. “
Will Reinert, spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association, also took aim at Lujan Grisham, writing in an email that “countless personal and professional scandals” continue to distract the governor and leave her unable to effectively govern the state.
“A wave of violent crime, the nation’s worst public education, and an overrun southern border deserve a Republican governor who can focus solely on state recovery,” he wrote.