Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Three-term state Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences officially jumped into New Mexico’s 2022 gubernatorial race Wednesday, vowing to address “hard truths” related to the state’s high unemployment rate, low education rankings and chronic child welfare issues.
A former early child care professional, Dow could emerge as a front-runner among the five Republicans vying to challenge Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham due to her name recognition and early fundraising edge.
And Dow did not pull her punches Wednesday on the subject of the incumbent governor, describing Lujan Grisham as a “power hungry” career politician whose policies have hurt New Mexico.
“As a state, we have never experienced more dire conditions than we are currently struggling through right now,” Dow said in a statement.
Dow, who registered a gubernatorial campaign committee last week, released a campaign launch video Wednesday that features her riding a horse, shooting a firearm and holding a baby.
She said in an interview she was the “most prepared” among the GOP candidates to run against Lujan Grisham, who was elected governor in 2018 and is seeking another four-year term next year.
“I think we need a new face that Republicans can unite around,” Dow said, adding she has a record of winning over some Democratic voters in her rural House district.
As a state representative since 2017, Dow has maintained a conservative stance on hot-button issues, voting this year against Democratic-backed bills to legalize recreational cannabis for adult users and require private employers to provide mandatory paid sick leave for employees.
She also voted against a bill to repeal a long-dormant state abortion ban and has talked publicly about her decision not to have an abortion after getting pregnant as a newly married 19-year-old.
But Dow is also a supporter of Spaceport America, a state-funded facility in Sierra County that has drawn opposition from some Republicans, and this year was among a bipartisan group of lawmakers who pushed for creation of a citizen redistricting committee.
Her gubernatorial campaign announcement drew swift barbs from the state Democratic Party.
“Rebecca Dow has made it clear that she’s a far-right extremist who will side with GOP leaders even when it means threatening our democracy,” said Democratic Party Chairwoman Jessica Velasquez. “Her policies would be devastating for our health care, economy and the well being of all New Mexicans.”
Dow will have a head start on fundraising compared to her GOP rivals, as she reported this week the transfer of slightly more than $105,000 in campaign funds from her legislative campaign account to her new gubernatorial account.
The founder and a former employee of AppleTree Educational Center, a nonprofit that provides prekindergarten and other educational services, Dow currently works for a family-owned technology firm.
Meanwhile, the four other Republicans who have previously announced campaigns for the 2022 gubernatorial race are military veteran and financial adviser Greg Zanetti of Albuquerque, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block of Rio Rancho, former congressional candidate Karen Bedonie of Farmington and retired teacher Tim Walsh of Albuquerque.