Monday April 11 filing deadline for candidates for Governor to file campaign finance reports with the New Mexico Secretary of State. The reports cover a full 6 months of fund raising since October, 2021.
According to finance reports filed, Democratic Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham raised nearly $2.7 million for her reelection campaign. Lujan Grisham is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Her campaign reports the Governor has $3.8 million in cash on hand and much more will likely be raised after the June 7 primary. Top contributors to the Governors campaign are the Pueblo of Santo Domingo at $22,000.00 and the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh at $20,400.00. In 2018 Lujan Grisham raised and spent $9.5 million to get elected and she is expected to match or exceed that amount this year.
There are 5 Republicans running for Governor.
Republican Mark Ronchetti raised over $2.1 million, which is more than twice as much as any other Republican candidate in the race. Ronchetti’s largest contributors are ranchers, oil and gas companies, members of the Perot family in Dallas, and Allen Weh, a former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party. Ronchetti also received $5,200 donations from Dorothy Rainosek, who along with her husband Larry Rainosek, own the Frontier restaurant and Doug Peterson of Peterson Properties, the largest commercial real estate owners in the Albuquerque. Ronchetti spent $584,000 and ended with a cash balance of $1.55 million.
The link to Ronchetti’s finance report is here:
State Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, reported raising $751,000 in donations. She has raise a total of $1.2 million for the campaign, including $100,000 transferred from her state representative account. She has $681,000 in cash on hand. According to reports filed, Dow loaned herself $40,000 and over $70,000 in donations are from members of the Yates family and affiliated trusts. The Yates family is a very prominent Artesia family involved in New Mexico’s oil and gas industry. Dow’s report reveals contributions from fellow Republican legislators. Her closing balance for the period is $684,000.
The link to Dow’s finance report is here:
Greg Zanetti, a wealth manager and a retired New Mexico National Guard Brigadier General reported $169,000 in cash donations.
Sandoval County commissioner Jay Block reported upwards of $130,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.
Former Cuba Mayor an anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg reported $13,000 in donations.
NEW MEXICO BUSINESS COALITION “INTERVIEW”
On Thursday, April 7, the 5 Republican candidates for Governor appeared before the New Mexico Business Coalition and an audience of upwards of 300 for what was advertised as a “job interview” style event where the candidates could highlight their own qualifications and platforms. The organization has held such “job interviews” in the past and did so in the 2013 Albuquerque Mayor’s race.
The link to news coverage is here:
THE NEW MEXICO BUSINESS COALITION
The New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) was established in 2009. It holds itself out as a “nonpartisan voice for business owners, employees and individuals in New Mexico”. Despite what is says, NMBC is far from being “nonpartisan.” The organization is known for promoting Republican causes and candidates and targeting Democrats for removal from office.
The New Mexico Business Coalition is anti-labor union, and has promoted right to work laws and opposes increases in the minimum wage. The organizations “call to action” on its web page calls for its members to ask for increases in oil and gas production in New Mexico when it has already reach historical highs, oppose environmental protection legislation calling it a “radical green” agenda, oppose state-controlled utilities and advocates for Second Amendment rights by opposing a “ban on firearm magazines that hold more than 15 rounds”. The organization advocates a Constitutional Amendment which would allow the recall of elected officials in New Mexico, no doubt elected officials they want removed.
The organization opposes mandatory vaccinations of the city government work force, wants to repeal executive emergency order authority of the Mayor during a health crisis and calls for the repeal of gross receipts taxes imposed by the city council, all council resolutions sponsored by the Republicans on the city council, and all which have failed.
You can read more about the New Mexico Business Coalition and its positions at these 3 links:
JOB INTERVIEW FORMAT
During the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) “job interview” event, the candidates were asked prepared questions in the format of a job interview, with only one candidate present at a time. At one point, the 5 were asked to give one-word answers to some questions that they wanted to give far more explanation. All 5 of the candidates said YES to supporting photo identification for voters, YES to a work requirement for able-bodied residents receiving public assistance and YES to scaling back the governor’s emergency powers. All the answers are in lock step with the State Republican Party agenda.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Virtually all 5 of the Republican candidates for Governor revealed themselves to be right wing conservatives with the same philosophy of government as Der Führer Trump and State Republican Party and Chairman Steve Pierce. Following are the highlights of what all 5 reportedly said at the April 7 event as well as what they have said in the past and in TV commercials.
1. TV PERSONALITY MARK RONCHETTI
During the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition forum, former meteorologist and TV personality Mark Ronchetti proclaimed himself to be someone who would bring “humility and good listening skills” to the Governor’s office. Ronchetti has been accused of being nothing but a “blowhard” by Republican Rebecca Dow in her TV commercials.
Ranchetti said he would demand the Legislature send him an anti-crime bill before anything else is passed and said this:
“We will keep you safe. That will be our mantra. … If we don’t have safety, we don’t have anything.”
After the April 5 special session of the New Mexico legislature where $698 million in tax rebates and and $50 million spending package for upwards of 500 projects was enacted, Mark Ronchetti had this to say:
“Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session to give New Mexicans a few dollars trying to buy her re-election. Her election-year give away is not enough and pales in comparison to the taxpayer-funded pay raises she gave political insiders. New Mexicans need tax relief, not election-year politics.”
Ronchetti is not listening to the fact that New Mexicans are hurting financially because of the pandemic, inflation and high gas prices. If $698 million in tax rebates are too small and not necessary to Ronchetti, then he does not understand just how bad New Mexican’s are hurting financially. He is not articulating what should be done in the form of tax relief. He also took issue with immigrants being given the rebates not realizing they too pay taxes.
Mark Ronchetti is a strong and vocal supporter of New Mexico’s oil and gas industry. Ronchetti’s largest contributors confirm just how much he is indebted to the industry with major contributions coming from oil and gas companies and members of the Perot family in Dallas, and Allen Weh, a former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party and who has made his fortune in the oil and gas industry. This financial support going tp a so called “weatherman” claiming to be a man of science who ostensibly does not believe the fossil fuel industry has having anything to do with climate change.
It was On October 27, TV personality Mark Ronchetti announced he is running for Governor. Least anyone forget, Ronchetti ran for United States Senator in 2020 and lost to Ben Ray Lujan. Ronchetti hired Republican political consultant Jay McCleskey who is known for his slash and burn tactics and defamation of candidates and immigrants.
True to form for Mc Cusky, the very first TV commercial launched by Ronchetti was negative and highlighted southern border issue claiming a crisis and New Mexico’s failure to keep out undocumented immigrants seeking asylum. Ronchetti said if he is elected Governor, he plans to deploy the National Guard and create a Border Strike Force. Ronchetti falsely proclaimed:
“President Biden has completely opened this border, and it affects us all. … You can’t fight crime if you don’t secure the border.”
2. REPUBLICAN NEW MEXICO STATE REPRESENTATIVE REBECCA DOW
During the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition forum, NM State Representative Rebecca Dow proclaimed herself to be an “effective legislator” who knows how to navigate the politics of the Roundhouse, and secure policy wins that would turn and keep the state Republican red.
Dow embellished to a great extent the passage of two very inconsequential bills she sponsored this year that became law. One bill extends a deadline for small businesses to apply for recovery loans and the other revises occupational licensing rules. Dow said this:
“We’ve got to have someone in office who’s able to work across the aisle and get things done.”
This coming from a Republican candidate for Governor whose first commercial is her riding a horse leading a posse of “good old boy”, overweight sheriffs, looking for “radical socialists” living along the border and wanting to complete Der Führer Trump’s wall. Dow presumptively wants to use state monies and divert funding from public education, health care and other essential services to build Trumps wall without making Mexico pay for it as Trump promised.
WHERE A BAND AIDE IS REALLY NEEDED
The truth is Dow is not at all known for working across the aisle as she claims and does not want to work with Democrats. Dow voted against the $698 million in tax rebates and $50 million spending package for upwards of 500 projects that were enacted by the special session. Dow had this to say after the special session ended:
“Michelle Lujan Grisham has decided to put a Band-Aid on a broken bone by giving out checks that will only provide temporary relief. We need a Governor with the sense to support our energy sector and give hardworking New Mexicans a long-term solution at the pump!”
The only Band-Aid really needed here is one across Dow’s big mouth. Dow ignores that “temporary relief” is being done across the country because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has spiked prices and contributed to inflation. When Dow advocates supporting New Mexico’s energy sector, she totally ignores that the Permian Basin in New Mexico is pumping oil at record levels and will likely set another record this year. One long-term solution is an end to the Ukrainian war that prompted the sky-high prices in the first place. But then again her idol Trump still praises Putin and has recently asked for Russian help and cooperation in the investigation of Hunter Biden.
ETHICALLY CHALLENGED DOW
It was 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 in her announcement 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.”
One hard truth that Dow no doubt wants to forget about is that on January 13, 2022 it was reported that the ethics charges filed against Dow with the New Mexico Ethics Commission are going forward after “probable cause” was found to support the allegations that Dow violated state laws on financial disclosure and governmental conduct.
The New Mexico Ethics Commission last year subpoenaed Dow’s financial records and scheduled her deposition which is allowed under the law. Dow resisted the taking of her deposition and the Ethics Commission went to court to enforce the subpoena. The ethics commission secured a court order requiring Dow to produce the financial documents and to appear for her deposition. Dow refused to comply with the court order, did not produce the financial documents and failed to appear for her scheduled deposition. The Ethics Commission went back to court to get another court order. In August, the State District Court Judge issued a second contempt of court order and finding her failure to produce documents and to appear for the deposition “lacked justification.” The District Judge ordered fines of $50 a day until she complied with the court order for a deposition and she paid $4,115 in fines and court costs
The link to full Albuquerque Journal article is here:
3. WEALTH MANAGER GREG ZANETTI FOR A POOR NEW MEXICO
During the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition forum Greg Zanetti, a wealth manager and military veteran, pointed repeatedly to his experience, describing himself at one point as the “money guy,” and someone well-qualified to handle state finances and public safety.
Zanetti said he would “de-claw” the Public Education Department and push the power to decide public education issues to the local level. What Zanetti likely meant by “de-clawing” the Public Education Department is either abolishing the New Mexico Public Education Department or destroying our education system the way former Governor Susana Martinez did which resulted in the landmark court decision Yazzie vs Martinez which found minorities were being deprived of the constitutional right to a public education. Yazzie vs Martinez mandates sweeping reforms now costing millions to repair our public education system.
Zanetti after noting that he’d risen to the rank of brigadier general and served as a commander at Guantanamo Bay, asked the audience:
“Should we have a general dealing with the issues at the border and with public safety?”
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.”
Zanetti has said in the past that he does not intend to get vaccinated for covid and has yet to say if he has since been vaccinated. On February 2, it was reported that U.S. soldiers who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine will be immediately discharged, saying the move was critical to maintain combat readiness. The Army’s order applied to regular Army soldiers, active-duty Army reservists and cadets unless they have approved or pending exemptions.
All of the U.S. military services have now begun disciplinary actions and discharges for troops who have refused to get the mandated coronavirus vaccine with as many as 20,000 unvaccinated forces at risk of being removed from service.
Former Brigadier General Zanetti has never disclosed if he would have carried out orders to have his troops vaccinated or be dishonorably discharged from the New Mexico National Guard for refusal to carry out direct orders.
With respect to Governor Lujan Grisahm, 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.”
Surprisingly, Republican conservative Zanetti is trying to distance himself from Der Führer 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 Der Führer Trump.
It is so damn laughable that Zanetti calls Lujan Grisham an “autocratic governor” who imposes and enforces rules. Zanetti is a retired New Mexico National Guard Brigadier General and he will likely bring his personal version of being an “autocratic governor” to Santa Fe. Brigadier General’s give out orders and demand that those orders be followed or suffer the consequences.
The biggest perception that Zanetti is going to find difficult to overcome is that it is very doubtful to believe that a “wealth manager” will understand the needs and concerns of the average New Mexican, many which live in poverty and live pay check to pay check on the minimum wage, something Zanetti opposes increasing.
4.Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block
During the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition forum, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block began his remarks by asking the audience to pose for a picture, triggering laughter as he urged people to “Say ‘No MLG’ ” rather than “cheese.”
As governor, Block said, he would ban vaccine mandates and critical race theory. He also said he would establish a border security agency and combat corruption in government. Block told the audience:
“You’re going to get honest government back because that’s what you deserve. You have not had that for so many years in this state, and I find that quite disgusting.”
The only things that are truly disgusting is Jay Block’s political alignment with Der Führer Trump and Blocks sure ignorance of the issues facing the state.
It was on April 18, 2021 Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block announced he is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Block is a retired lieutenant colonel who spent 21 years in the Air Force and moved to Rio Rancho in 2015.
Block has fully aligned himself with former President Der Führer Donald Trump, even though Trump has disparaged the military and called those who served and died in World War II losers. 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 got downright 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.”
What Block is very ignorant about is exactly why New Mexico ranks last in education and first in child poverty. Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham inherited both from her Republican predecessor Susana Martinez. Over 8 years, Martinez destroyed the state’s public education system resulting in the land mark decision Yazzie vs Martinez mandating sweeping reforms now costing millions to repair our public education system. Martinez made cuts in child care assistant programs with the cuts making things even worse for children living in poverty.
Yazzie v Martinez was brought by a coalition of parents, students, lawmakers and others in 2014 and charged New Mexico had not done enough to address the needs of Native Americans, English-language learners, disabled and low-income students and that children were deprived the constitutional right to a basic education. As a result of the State Court ruling, the 2019 legislature approved a whopping $3.2 Billion public education budget, a 16% increase over the previous year’s budget, out of the total state budget of $7 Billion.
Included in the budget was a $500 million in additional funding for K-12 education and increases in teacher pay. The 2022 legislature is increasing funding for education and teacher pay even more and by millions. In particular more than $70 million in spending allocated in the 2022 session will go to tribal entities to help offer culturally relevant lesson plans and access to virtual and after-school programs for those students.
Under former Republican Governor Susana Martinez, the Children’s, Youth and Family’s Department budgets were slashed, hundreds of social worker positions that dealt with child abuse cases went unfilled, abused children fell through the cracks and youth programs were eliminated that acted as a safety net, all for the cause of resisting tax increases which Republicans always oppose even for critical essential services. Republicans always advocate the slashing of budgets and reducing the size of government to avoid any and all tax increases, even if for essential services.
A major priority of Governor Lujan Grisham was the creation of a new “Early Childhood Department” that commenced on January 1, 2020. The new department focuses state resources on children from birth to 5 years of age. A major goal of the new department, coupled with other investments, will be more New Mexico children growing up to secure gainful employment as adults who don’t require government services.
Block should not be proud, to use his word, when he makes a fool of himself on the issues of child education and child welfare issues, things he knows absolutely nothing about.
5. REPUBLICAN ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVIST ETHEL ROSE MAHARG
During the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition forum , Ethel Maharg, a former mayor of Cuba and anti-abortion activist, said she supports “life” and doesn’t quit. When asked to describe her skills she told the audience:
“I care about life. I think that’s it. Life is basic.”
To quote Maharg’s web page promoting her candidacy for Governor:
“Ethel Rose Maharg is running for Governor to breathe life into New Mexico. Ethel is pro-life, without exception, from conception to natural death. And, she wears it like a badge of honor, it is who she is. Ethel believes in LIFE. Ethel believes that to breathe LIFE into New Mexico we must capitalize on our strengths. No one wants to bring a new business with good jobs to a state where politicians and elected officials complain about being at the top of the bad lists. It’s time for bold leadership. Bold leadership that is willing to make the right decision, not the popular or political decision. Bold leadership that understands the challenges everyday New Mexicans face. Bold leadership that will fight everyday for New Mexico. Bold leadership that will breathe LIFE into New Mexico.”
It is more likely than not that the United States Supreme Court will reverse in June the landmark case of Roe v. Wade setting aside a woman’s right to choose and leaving it up to the individual states to decide the issue. Last year, the New Mexico legislature repealed the New Mexico law making abortion a crime. If Roe v. Wade is in fact reversed, you can expect a Governor Ethel Maharg to advocate making abortion a crime once again in New Mexico and providing “bold leadership” back into the dark ages of woman’s rights and not caring if abortions are performed with a coat hanger, which should be her campaign for Governor lapel pin.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY REACTS
The Democratic Party of New Mexico was asked to react to the April 7 New Mexico Business Coalition forum. Democratic Party of New Mexico spokeswoman Delaney Corcoran said Governor Lujan Grisham and Democrats are focused on delivering economic relief to state residents, while the Republican candidate for Governor spout “extremist rhetoric” and she said:
“The Republican candidates for governor … continue to demonstrate just how out of touch they are with the majority of New Mexicans.”
Now that the first campaign finance reports have been released, it pretty clear that Mark Ronchetti is the front runner for the Republican nomination having raised over $2.1 million. It is also clear that Republican State Representative Rebecca Dow is a distant second for the Republican nomination having reported $751,000 in donations. Given the anemic fundraising of Greg Zanetti, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, Ethel Maharg, all 3 should save themselves from the embarrassment of a poor showing at the polls and drop out of the race.
It is pretty pathetic, but not at all surprising, that all 5 Republican candidates for Governor are Republican malcontents. Not one has offered any real solutions to the problems we face as a state. If anything their platforms will only make things worse for the State. What is alarming is the extent to which they have all bought into Der Führer Trump extremism.