The race for governor is crowded as more Republicans have officially announced their candidacy. So far, five Republicans have announced their candidacy for the 2022 race in hopes of usurping outgoing Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. This begs the question: who exactly is running for the GOP nomination, and what can we expect from their campaigns?
The candidate who has garnered the most attention so far is State House Rep. Rebecca Dow, which represents District 38 (Grants, Hidalgo and Sierra counties) in southern New Mexico.
In a June 7 campaign ad, Dow identifies herself as a candidate with deep roots in southern New Mexico and the farming community, and a candidate deeply critical of Lujan Grishman’s handling of the COVID pandemic. . Dow, a rising and outspoken conservative star of the New Mexico GOP, touted her experience as a businesswoman and consultant to for-profit and community early childhood service providers. Her campaign focuses on state unemployment, education and child welfare as issues she seeks to address. In the state legislature this year, Dow voted against the legalization of cannabis, which was eventually passed and was touted as a major job creator for the state.
In 2016, Dow was named in a lawsuit for knowingly hiring Alejandro Hernandez, a registered sex offender, who worked for the Sierra County chapter of the Boys and Girls Club. Hernandez has been accused by the parents of two 13-year-old boys of abusing them. Dow is still the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club. In 2017, Dow settled the lawsuit for more than $ 250,000. Hernandez is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for harming the two children.
Sandoval County Commissioner Jay block was the first to throw his hat off in the race for governor. A former lieutenant colonel who served in the USAF for 21 years, he now lives in Rio Rancho.
Block successfully ran for Sandoval County Commissioner in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020. An outspoken Conservative and supporter of Donald Trump, Block announced his Tory record. Block pushed unsuccessfully towards deregulate drilling in Sandoval County in an effort to allow drilling operators to bypass baseline water testing and post-drill monitoring.
In an announcement posted on his official elections website, Block criticizes the governor’s handling of the pandemic and the restrictions the state has placed on businesses during the reopening process, echoing other candidates for governor. of the GOP.
Retired New Mexico National Guard Brigadier General Greg Zanetti is another GOP hopeful who seeks to capitalize on his military and commercial experience to secure his party’s nomination.
Zanetti has long been a staunch supporter of life in New Mexico politics. He served on the board of directors of Right To Life in New Mexico for 15 years and was elected president of the Bernalillo County GOP for two terms. His campaign website states that Zanetti “has been a leader for conservative causes for the past 25 years”.
The retired Brigadier General currently owns Zanetti Financial. Zanetti manages the financial assets of his friends and family, or as his campaign website says, “Whoever God puts in my way,” through the company.
Zanetti’s official campaign website states that as governor, Zanetti will “put his financial expertise and leadership skills at the service of the people of New Mexico, by cleaning up the finances of our state government, by giving to our children a world-class education and restoring the integrity of the governor’s office. “
Businesswoman and former Congress candidate Karen Bédonie of the Navajo Nation is the latest candidate to announce her candidacy for governor. The official Bedonie election website states: “The hardest working American, Karen is a wife, mother of eight wonderful children, business owner, educator, historian Diné by traditional teachings, and constitutional scholar. “
Bedonie is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and is a member of the NRA. She owns a flower shop in McKinley County.
Bedonie has been a vocal critic of all attempts to expand social programs in the state. In an overview of her convictions, she says: “Social dependency is the death of prosperity and heavy taxation is the only vein for the government to flourish socialist platforms. “
A relatively unknown candidate in the race, former education adviser to Governor Gary Johnson Tim Walsh announced his candidacy on June 30.
Walsh’s election campaign does not yet have an official website. Walsh spoke with the Albuquerque Journal shortly after announcing his candidacy and spoke of his views aligning more closely with the libertarian views of his former boss. If elected, Walsh said he would eliminate the New Mexico movie incentive program and the Rail Runner commuter train. Both were introduced under Democratic Governor Bill Richardson.
Like other GOP candidates, Walsh hopes to tackle crime in New Mexico by addressing the state’s bail review amendment in 2016, which was criticized for releasing violent and repeat offenders.
Primary elections will be held next summer, followed by the general election on November 8, 2022.