Monday, June 5, 2023
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Multiple GOP Challengers Eager to Challenge Embattled NM Gov. Grisham

'As the science became clearer, she willfully ignored it and chose power and control over helping the people of New Mexico recover...'

(The Center Square) Multiple Republicans are running for New Mexico governor hoping to unseat Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2022.

Grisham is currently embroiled in a sex scandal after it was revealed last week that she allegedly paid $150,000 to cover up the inappropriate crotch-fondling of a staff member.

But Republicans also see policy failures at the state and national level as an opportunity to strike against the governor, who was prominently featured supporting President Joe Biden at last year’s Democratic National Convention.

Pointing to economic and environmental policies of the Biden administration and Grisham’s policies that left New Mexicans waiting in grocery lines in the cold while her office reportedly used taxpayer money to purchase meals and booze, and her lockdown policies that cost tens of thousands of jobs, they argue New Mexicans deserve better.

One Republican candidate is businesswoman and state Rep. Rebecca Dow, who has represented District 38 since 2017. Dow has fought to defeat what she calls the overregulation of the mining industry, and opposed restrictions on the oil and gas industry. She founded an educational center, co-owns a technology company, and provides consulting services in addition to serving as a state lawmaker.

Dow stood with every sheriff in the state who declared their counties as “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”

She’s also built a coalition with law enforcement, ag producers, outfitters and guides to preserve the “Western way of life,” and been a vocal opponent of Grisham’s lockdown policies.

Former state Rep. Greg Zanetti is also running for governor. He’s served in the New Mexico Army National Guard while working as a financial advisor.

As a Harvard and West Point graduate, Albuquerque native Zanetti has also been a school teacher, State School Board member, and Bernalillo County GOP chair.

Grisham, Zanetti argued, “cares more about the approval of the far-left elitists than she does for our families and businesses.”

Referring to Grisham’s lockdown policies, he said, “As the science became clearer, she willfully ignored it and chose power and control over helping the people of New Mexico recover. Following the ‘science’ morphed into consolidating power,” resulting in the shuttering of thousands of small businesses “while big-box stores made record profits.

“Schools were needlessly closed,” he added. “Suicides, depression, and abuse cases leapt,” then Grisham “embraced free money over hard work,”which continues “to hinder our path to recovery as we now have a labor shortage just when businesses are trying to get to their feet.”

His proposals, Zanetti said, will help New Mexicans get back on their feet and put the people of New Mexico first.

U.S. Air Force veteran and businessman Jay Block is also running for governor. He served in the Air Force for more than two decades as a nuclear weapons officer, volunteered for a combat tour in Afghanistan, and retired as a Lt Col. while at Kirtland AFB.

In 2016, he ran for Sandoval County Commissioner and was the first Republican to win his district’s seat. Re-elected in 2020, he was the first commissioner in the county to receive union endorsements from firefighters and sheriff’s deputies.

Block has fought against Grisham’s lockdowns, arguing she’s “favored her crony corporations over the hard-working small business owners of New Mexico. Small businesses are operating at a 37% loss in revenue, and we have seen over 87,000 jobs disappear.

“Grisham invited illegal immigrants into our state before and during this migrant crisis and pandemic, leaving our ranchers and farmers vulnerable along our southern border,” he added.

While Grisham supported Biden’s halting of the border wall, she and “her elitist friends both here at home and in Washington, D.C.” built their own walls and fences to protect their own property, he said.

Businesswoman and grassroots Navajo American Indian Karen Bedonie is also running for governor. The former congressional candidate said, “The state is the last battle ground after the federal level is lost and compromised. By the Tenth Amendment, we, Statesmen and Stateswomen, must hold the line that protects our freedom, liberty and fundamental rights as Americans.”

Businessman Louie Sanchez, born and raised in the south valley, is also running for governor. Sanchez first worked for Republican Sen. Pete Domenici after he graduated from the University of New Mexico. Last year, he unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate to fill his former boss’s seat.

As co-owner of Calibers Indoor Shooting Range and a medical salesman for 27 years, he said, “I know how to run a business … and know how to stick within a budget.”

His primary focus would be improving the state’s educational system and border security. “I think we need to secure our border, I don’t think we can take care of immigrant children and immigrants if we can’t even take care of New Mexicans,” Sanchez told KOAT 7 News.

Tim Walsh, founder of Trident Tuition Funds, a nonprofit organization, is running for governor arguing “all New Mexicans deserve liberty and a nonpartisan leader.” Walsh, 74, previously worked as an education adviser to former Gov. Gary Johnson and is a retired teacher.

“I’m not an insider,” Walsh told the Albuquerque Journal. “I’m not a [political] party individual.”

Walsh said he would push to overhaul the state’s public pension funds and get rid of the state’s film incentive program, as well as projects of former Gov. Bill Richardson’s such as the Rail Runner commuter train and Spaceport America.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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