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Governor’s campaign video pushes back against protesters

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham pumps up the crowd during her re-election campaign launch on June 3 at the Albuquerque Museum. The event took place amid a noisy protest. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is using video footage of rowdy protesters at her recent campaign launch to raise funds for her 2022 reelection bid.

A roughly minute-long campaign video posted on Lujan Grisham’s social media account says dozens of protesters carrying anti-vaccine signs and shouting insults at the governor during last week’s event in Albuquerque do not reflect “New Mexico values.”

It also features footage of the Democratic governor, who spoke for just four minutes at the reelection kickoff as she tried to be heard above the din.

However, the campaign video that asks for viewers to donate to the governor’s campaign does not include Lujan Grisham’s description of the protesters as “QAnon lizard people,” a remark that drew criticism from state Republican Party officials.

“The governor’s offensive remarks prove she doesn’t grasp, or more likely, doesn’t want to grasp, what is happening in her state,” state GOP chairman Steve Pearce said this week.

But Lujan Grisham campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer said the governor is focused on rebuilding New Mexico’s economy, while also touting her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Republican Party of New Mexico’s exploitation of extremist protesters who harassed press and attendees demonstrates they’re out of touch with average New Mexicans and the progress being made in this state,” Witmer told the Journal. “They don’t have a plan to lead and it shows.”

As of April, Lujan Grisham reported having roughly $134,000 in her gubernatorial campaign account.

Two Republicans — Jay Block of Rio Rancho and Karen Bedonie of Farmington — have announced gubernatorial campaigns to date, though other candidates could emerge in the coming months.

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