There are 5 candidates who have announced that they are seeking the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022. Those candidates in the order of their announcements are:
SANDOVAL COUNTY COMMISSIONER JAY BLOCK
On April 18, 2021 Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block announced he is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Block, a retired lieutenant colonel who spent 21 years the Air Force and moved to Rio Rancho in 2015.
Block has fully aligned himself with former President Donald Trump. In his announcement he said he is in favor of defunding abortion services and restoring qualified immunity for police officers.
In his announcement video Block said:
“This is a movement of shared values. … It’s time Michelle Lujan Grisham is out of office so we can start a new era of prosperity for New Mexicans.”
Block has already gotten nasty with his remarks about the Governor when he said:
“Michelle is proud of where New Mexico stands today. Michelle is proud New Mexico ranks last in education. Michelle is proud New Mexico ranks first in child poverty.”
Before Block pops off about New Mexico being last in education and ranking first in child poverty laying all the blame on Governor Lujan Grisham, someone needs to educate him that Lujan Grisham has been in office for two and a half years. For the full 8 years before her, Republican Governor “She Who Shall Not Be Named” destroyed New Mexico’s public education system with her Education Secretary Skandera.
On Friday, July 20, 2018, Santa Fe District Court Judge Sarah Singleton, after a weeklong trial, ruled that the state of New Mexico is violating the constitutional rights of at-risk students by failing to provide them with a sufficient education. The court ruling was a confirmation of what went on for the last 8 years with the state’s at-risk children under the Republican Martinez Administration.
A link to a related blog article entitled “The Scandals and Failures of Governor Susana Martinez” is here:
The former Republican Governor made sure cuts were made to many social programs to help children in poverty and she also destroyed the state’s mental health care system by forcing 8 mental health care providers out of business by making false allegations of fraud with the Attorney General finding no wrongdoing.
It’s likely the only shared values New Mexico voters will have with Block is that he has no business being Governor of the state.
On April 25, 2021, Republican and retired teacher Karen Bedonie of Farmington announced she is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Her announcement video featured photographs of Bedonie holding a rife, posing with law enforcers, her husband, and her family, and portrayed her campaign’s focuses on a family, faith, and freedoms-based message.
In her announcement Bedonie said:
“I am a woman of courage and I have worked tirelessly to formulate a liberating plan for the beautiful state of New Mexico. … I believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution is absolute, written so beautifully that the builders of this nation installed these rights to withstand tyranny and the trampling of our liberties and freedoms. As a mother of five daughters, we will bear arms to protect ourselves. Missing, murdered, and indigenous women is real and is also unresolved.”
When Boudine says she has worked “tirelessly to formulate a liberating plan” what she ostensibly means is arming every New Mexico resident with handguns and rifles so that we can shoot to kill our problems of poverty, education and unemployment as the problems continue to fester.
On June 14, Republican Greg Zanetti announced his campaign. Zanetti is a former Bernalillo County Republican Chairman and a former New Mexico National Guard Brigadier General who now works in the business of wealth management. He has said in the past that he does not intend to get vaccinated for covid. With respect to the Governor, Zanetti had this to say:
“We had this autocratic governor come down and impose all these rules where we shut down businesses, locked down the kids, we shut the state down, and as the facts changed and we learned more about COVID, she didn’t adjust.”
Zanetti is one of those candidates for public office who always has a smile on his face and a grin in his voice but very little understanding of the needs and concerns of average New Mexicans. How could Zanetti understand the needs of the average New Mexican when he works in the business of wealth management in one of the poorest state’s in the United States.
Surprisingly, Republican conservative Zanetti is distancing himself from Der Führer of his party and former president Donald Trump and said:
“This isn’t about Donald Trump. It’s not about one person, it’s about a bigger message.”
Ostensibly, Zanetti did not get the memo from New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce that the Republican Party in the state and nationally are very much in lock step with Trump.
On June 30, Albuquerque retired teacher Tim Walsh, age 74, announced he is running for the Republican nominations for Governor. Walsh previously worked as an education adviser to former Republican Governor Gary Johnson and describes himself as the same type politically as Johnson. That likely means being nothing but a libertarian who has decided to become a Republican but who smokes cannabis without telling anyone until he gets termed out.
In his announcement Walsh said if elected Governor he would push to overhaul the state’s public pension funds to a 401(k) model to address unfunded liabilities and do away with the state’s high-profile film incentive program.
Now that’s the winning message, talk about 401 (k) ‘s to attract voters’ living paycheck to pay check who have no idea if the pensions they have paid into for 30 years will be around. Walsh also said he would push to eliminate the Rail Runner commuter train and the state’s involvement in Spaceport America, both legacies of former Democratic Governor Bill Richardson’s administration.
Walsh was nowhere to be seen at Spaceport America on July 11 when Richard Branson took off successfully in his Virgin Galactic vehicle launching the space age tourism travel industry. Seeing the ZIA symbol on the side Branson’s vehicle was truly a source of pride. As far as doing away with the high-profile film incentive programs, Walsh no doubt wants to make sure that NETFLEX and NBC are forced to leave the state now that they have committed to invest and are investing billions in New Mexico’s economy and creating jobs over the next 10 years with the New Mexico film industry emerging as a production juggernaut.
On July 7, three term Republican State Representative Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences announced that she is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. In her announcement, she vowed to address “hard truths” related to the state’s high unemployment rate, low education rankings and chronic child welfare issues. She is a former early child care professional.
Dow, like the other Republican Governor candidates also immediately attacked Governor Lujan Grisham and described the governor as a “power hungry” career politician whose policies have hurt New Mexico and said:
“As a state, we have never experienced more dire conditions than we are currently struggling through right now.”
Dow is as conservative as they come. She consistently votes against all Democratic-backed bills in the legislature including to legalize recreational cannabis for adult users, voting against private employers to provide mandatory paid sick leave for employees. She also voted against a bill to repeal the 1960 archaic state abortion ban.
Being a 3 term state representative means Dow was in office while Republican Governor “She Who Shall Not Be Named” was destroying the state’s education system, mental health care system and made severe cuts in social services to children. Things got so bad with the state’s education system under the former Republican Governor that a State Court found that children’s rights to education were being denied and ordered sweeping changes mandating millions to be spent.
Dow is one of those Republicans who only becomes concerned with State issues when Democrats begin to clean up the elephant dung left by Republican predecessors. Someone should politely tell Dow to move to Texas where her “gun dotting family values” would better fit in.
On Sunday, August 1, Louie Sanchez, 56, announced in a news release that he is the sixth Republican to run to unseat Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Sanchez is a medical sales representative and is one of the co-owners of Calibers shooting range in Albuquerque. In his news release announcement, he said if elected he will work to reduce crime, improve education and decrease poverty. According to Sanchez, he hopes to stand out as a conservative Hispanic in a crowded Republican field. Sanchez ran for the United States Senate last year in the Republican primary and lost to Mark Ronchetti who went on to lose to Democrat Ben Ray Lujan.
It is clear that Sanchez is trying to downplay that he is a Republican when he says in his announcement:
“We don’t have to continue to argue over who is Democrat or Republican, because we don’t have a Democrat or Republican problem, we have a Michelle Lujan Grisham problem. ”
The problem Sanchez has is that it’s doubtful he can even win the Republican nomination, let alone beat an incumbent Democrat in a statewide race.
MAJORITY OF NEW MEXICO VOTERS RESIDE IN 4 COUNTIES
New Mexico has a total of 33 counties. The June 30, 2021 tabulation from the New Mexico Secretary of State show that the majority of New Mexico voters reside in the 3 most urbanized counties of Bernalillo County, Dona Ana County and Santa Fe County and the far less urbanized county of Sandoval County which comes in as the 4th highest county with registered voters.
The counties of Bernalillo County, Dona Ana County and Santa Fe County are by far the most progressive in the state, while Sandoval would be considered more moderate still with a solid democratic majority of 44,796 ( 42.5 %) Democrats to 35,455 (33.7 %) Republicans.
As of June 30, 2021, New Mexico has 1,344,209 registered voters. 811,780, or well over half, reside in the 4 counties. The breakdown by party affiliation is as follows:
TOTAL MEXICO REGISTERED VOTERS: 1,344,209
DEMOCRATIC: 603,593 ( 44.9 %)
REPUBLICAN: 418,240 (31.1 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 295,004 ( 21.9 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 13,015 (1.0 %)
Other: 14,357 (1.1 %)
FIRST TIER VOTER REGISTRATION COUNTIES
There are 33 counties within the State of New Mexico. Only 4 of those counties have registration numbers of 105,000 or more. Combined those 4 counties have 811,780 of the 1,344,209 registered voters. All 4 of the counties have registered Democrats out pacing registered Republicans by healthy margins.
Following is the breakdown of the first-tier counties population of registered voters:
1. BERNALILLO COUNTY
TOTAL BERNALILLO COUNTY REGISTRATION NUMBER: 445,728
DEMOCRATIC: 209,681 (47.0 %)
REPUBLICAN: 123,632 (27.7 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 4,810 (1.1 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: (102,855) 23.1 %
2. DONA ANA COUNTY
TOTAL DONA ANA COUNTY REGISTRATION NUMBER: 128,961
DEMOCRATIC 58,644 (45.5 %)
REPUBLICAN 34,081 ( 26.4 %)
LIBERTARIAN 1,338 (1.0 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 33,714 ( 26.1 %)
3. SANTA FE COUNTY
TOTAL SANTA FE COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION NUMBER: 108,236
DEMOCRATIC: 68,909 (63.7 %)
REPUBLICAN: 16,485 (15.2%)
LIBERTARIAN: 854 (0.8 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 20,999 (19.4 %)
4. SANDOVAL COUNTY
TOTAL SANDOVAL COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION NUMBER: 105,304
DEMOCRATIC: 44,796 ( 42.5 %)
REPUBLICAN: 35,455 (33.7 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 1,154 (1.1 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 22,983 (21.8 %)
EDITOR’S NOTE: The breakdown of second and third tier county registration of registered voters can be found in the postscript to this article.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
In a recent KOAT 7 news report, respected political analyst and pollster Brian Sanderoff said of the Republican running for Governor:
“Although the Republicans have … strong candidates already announced in the Republican primary, we may see more big names enter the race, only time will tell”
Brian Sanderoff and his company “Research and Polling” over many decades has become the best and most accurate pollster in New Mexico. Sanderoff is being exceptionally kind when he says the Republicans have strong candidates and we may see more big names. The fact is that there are really “no big names” in the Republican Party unless you want to count Steve Pierce, former Lieutenant John Sanchez and former Republican Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. The Republican Party needs to reach out to Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzalez to change his party affiliation to Republican so that he can run for Governor if he loses the Mayor’s race which is becoming more likely than not. In other words, the Republican players bench is as lean as it gets.
Further Republicans do not win elections in New Mexico statewide unless Democrats simply do not vote or become so angry, they decide to vote Republican. The party registrations numbers and past elections support that premise.
In 2018 when elected to her first 4-year term, Michelle Lujan Grisham won with 57.2% of the vote (398,368) to 42.8% of the vote (298,091) cast for Steve Pearce. A 100,000 margin in New Mexico votes is a blowout win. She succeeded a Republican Governor who left office after 8 years with one of the lowest approval ratings of any Governor.
In 2020 New Mexico was won by President Joe Biden by a 10.79% margin of victory. Biden won the popular vote securing 501,614 votes (54.29%) to Trump’s 401, 894 (43.50%), a huge difference by anyone’s standards.
One deceptive ploy always used by Republicans running for New Mexico Governor is that they can “work across party lines”. Republican Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block is already using that ploy to get Democratic support. Block does not realize that working across party lines is something the New Mexico Republican party does not want to hear, not in the age of Trump and with Steve Pierce as head of the New Mexico Republican Party. The New Mexico Republican Party is nothing but shell of its former self, with the Democratic Party having commanding majorities in both the NM State House and Senate. Democrats have no need for a Republican Governor to work across party lines, so there is no need to elect one.
Republicans have been elected Governor acting as mavericks or populists such as Republicans Governors Dave Cargo and Gary Johnson to get elected. Others Republicans get elected after a Democrat Governor becomes so unpopular that Democrats decide to vote Republican. This happened when they voted for Republican Gary Caruthers to succeed Democrat Toney Anaya who to this day left office with the lowest approval rating of any Governor. Anaya became so unpopular in large part because he commuted New Mexico’s entire death row inmates to life imprisonment and urged the abolition of capital punishment because it is “immoral and anti-God.”
Three term Democratic Governor Bruce King lost to maverick Libertarian turned Republican Gary Johnson when King simply did not realize he had overstayed his welcome.
Then there is Republican Governor “She Who Shall Not Be Named” succeeding Democrat Bill Richardson after his 8 years of “pay to play” scandals as he ran for President. Even then, both Governors left office extremely unpopular.
RUNNING IN THE SHADOW OF DER FÜHRER TRUMP
Virtually all 6 of the Republican candidates for Governor are right wing conservatives. All 5 have the same philosophy of government as former President Trump and State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce. Greg Zanetti distancing himself from Der Führer Trump in all likely has doomed his candidacy for the nomination from the get go.
Der Fuhrer Trump is increasing his profile and beginning to hold his rally’s again and concentrating on those within the party he has targeted as not supporting him. Watch for Trump to campaign for Republican Congress woman Yvette Harrell in 2022. It will be interesting to see if the Republican nominee for Governor will even show up to be photographed with him.
Former Republican Governor “She Who Shall Not Be Named” learned the hard way when she crossed Trump by not endorsing him. On May 26, 2015, appearing at a campaign rally in Albuquerque, Der Führer Trump unleashed a blistering assault on the former Republican Governor who skipped the event, by saying she was “not doing the job.” Trump faulted her by falsely asserting she was allowing Syrian refugees to settle in the state, and blamed her for Albuquerque’s unemployment numbers as well as the increase in the number of New Mexico residents on food stamps.
At this point in time, the biggest hope that all 6 Republican candidates have if they are the Republican nominee, is that Governor Lujan Grisham will be viewed with nothing but extreme hostility destroying her support within the Democratic party as was the case with Toney Anaya and Bill Richardson. That is probably wishful thinking on their part, especially in the age of Trump.
According to a recent poll, Governor Lujan Grisham has an 50% overall approval rating and a 32% disapproval rating which should not be surprising at this point in time for a Governor that has shown real leadership making difficult decisions and who has been very effective in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Lujan Grisham has a 80% approval rating amongst Democrats. She has a 59% approval rating dealing with the pandemic and the 49% approval rating dealing with the economy. Her 50% overall approval rating in all likely will increase as the state begins to reopen and things get back to normal.
The link to the full poll is here:
All 5 of the Republican candidates are in all likely running for a nomination not worth much come November, 2022, unless of course if Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham does something really stupid and pardons serial rapists doing time.
The breakdown of second and third tier numbers of registered voters are as follows:
SECOND TIER VOTER REGISTRATION COUNTIES
The second-tier voter registration counties consist of 7 counties with registration of 77,227 (San Juan County) and drops to 34,332 (Eddy county). Following is the breakdown:
5. SAN JUAN COUNTY
TOTAL VOTER SAN JUAN COUNTY REGISTRATION NUMBER: 77,227
DEMOCRATIC: 21,889 (28.3 %)
REPUBLICAN: 35,347 (45.8 %)
LIBERTARIAN 805: (1.0 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 18,255 (23.6 %)
6. VALENCIA COUNTY
TOTAL VALENCIA COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION NUMBER: 45,981
DEMOCRATIC: 18,560 40.4 %
REPUBLICAN: 16,841 36.6 %
LIBERTARIAN: 424 0.9 %
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 9,563 20.8 %
7. MCKINLEY COUNTY
TOTAL MCKINLEY COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION: 44,905
DEMOCRATIC: 26,889 (59.9 %)
REPUBLICAN: 7,108 (15.8 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 206 (0.5 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 10,068 (22.4 %)
8. LEA COUNTY
TOTAL LEA COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION: 37,105
DEMOCRATIC: 8,011 (21.6 %)
REPUBLICAN: 19,543 (52.7%)
LIBERTARIAN: 292 (0.8 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 8,817 (23.8 %)
9. OTERO COUNTY
TOTAL OTERO COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION: 36,535
DEMOCRATIC: 10,016 (27.4 %)
REPUBLICAN: 16,491 (45.1 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 424 (1.2%)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 9,116 (25.0 %)
10. CHÁVEZ COUNTRY
TOTAL CHAVEZ COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION: 34,896
DEMOCRATIC: 9,422 ( 27.0 %)
REPUBLICAN: 17,503 (50.2 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 314 (0.9 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 7,060 (20.2 %)
11. EDDY COUNTY
TOTAL EDDY COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION: 34,332
DEMOCRATIC: 9,286 (27.0 %)
REPUBLICAN: 18,016 (52.5 %)
LIBERTARIAN: 307 (0.9 %)
NO PARTY/INDEPENDENT: 6,353 (18.5 %)
THIRD TIER VOTER REGISTRATION COUNTIES
There are 22 third tier counties that have voter registrations numbers with a wide range in the numbers oF registered voters. On the high end is Rio Arriba County with 25,460 total registered voters, Taos County with 25,369 total registered voters. On the low end is Mora County with 3,682 total registered voters to Catron County with 3,005 total registered voters, to Union County with 2,535 total registered voters with Harding County having the lowest total registered voters with only 667.
The link to the New Mexico Secretary of State statistics on registered voters by county is here: