Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Bob Walsh admits Democratic nominee Ben Ray Luján has a large fundraising advantage.
And he acknowledges that the Republican nominee – former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti – has a lot more name recognition.
“All I have is the belief in the American way,” Walsh said of his bid to replace Democrat Tom Udall in the U.S. Senate.
Walsh, 83, a scientist who once worked at Sandia National Laboratories, said his underdog platform is for New Mexico residents to “pursue happiness.”
“As consenting adults, you can do anything with your rights,” he said. “You can do what you want with your body. You can travel freely. You can enjoy free markets and goods, services and ideas. All humans have those rights.”
He said the biggest issue of the campaign will be “a shortage of jobs” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which he called a long-term problem, “not an emergency.”
He said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the federal government should “get out of the way” and let the private sector handle the crisis.
“The actions for public health need to be on a local basis,” Walsh said. “People going to a restaurant in Albuquerque is a lot different than people going to a restaurant in Pie Town. Businesses should be allowed to innovate.”
And he said businesses would thrive with fewer government regulations.
“Deregulation reduces costs,” he said. “In competitive markets, lower costs mean lower prices and increased sales, requiring more jobs to provide the goods or services.”
Walsh, a Santa Fe resident, previously ran for a state House seat in 2010 and 2012, the first time as a Republican and the second time as a Libertarian.
He said he supports free trade and relaxed immigration restrictions in federal law.
“We need open borders, especially in New Mexico,” he said. “We need to create an influx of people who will work hard. That would be a stimulation to our economy.”
Walsh also expressed skepticism about increasing the number of federal law enforcement officers as a way to address violent crime in New Mexico.
“People should be allowed to protest peacefully,” he said.
Walsh lived the first 11 years of his life in New York City and later moved with his family to Arizona. He graduated from Caltech with a degree in physics and earned master’s degrees from San Diego State and the University of New Mexico in mathematics and biology.
“I’ve lived in New Mexico for 40 years,” said Walsh, who co-founded Rocky Mountain Emergency Medical Service, in addition to working in the nuclear energy industry.