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A medical sales representative who also owns an indoor shooting range on Sunday became the sixth Republican to announce an attempt to unseat the state’s Democratic governor.
Louie Sanchez, 56, announced his campaign in a news release that targeted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, in part for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Sanchez’s work takes him to cities and towns across the state, where he said dilapidated main streets signal a need for change.
“You go down the main streets of these towns and they used to be bustling,” he said. “Now you go down and you see ‘for sale’ signs and ‘going out of business’ signs.”
Restructuring gross receipts taxes to better support small businesses and supporting the oil and gas industry by cutting regulations are some of the ideas Sanchez said he has for jumpstarting the economy.
“I’m not a person who believes we gotta go oil, oil, oil. But you don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” he said. “And you transition. You don’t just stop (the oil and gas industries) when you don’t have anything to replace it with. … We can’t make oil and gas the evil step child and kick them out.”
Sanchez, who is one of the co-owners of Calibers, a shooting range, said he hopes to stand out in what has become a crowded Republican field as a conservative Hispanic.
“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,” he said in his campaign announcement.
Spokespeople for the governor couldn’t be reached Sunday to respond to Sanchez’s criticism of the governor.
Sanchez also said in a news release that he will work to reduce crime, improve education and decrease poverty.
Sanchez made a Republican bid for Senate last year, but former candidate Mark Ronchetti ultimately won that Republican primary before losing the election to Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján. Sanchez’s first involvement in politics came when he was in college and he interned for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and volunteered on Domenici’s campaigns.
The other Republicans who have announced their campaigns are Karen Bedonie, a former congressional candidate from Farmington, Jay Block, a Sandoval County commissioner, state Rep. Rebecca Dow, R-Truth or Consequences, Tim Walsh, a retired teacher from Albuquerque, and Greg Zanetti, a financial advisor from Albuquerque.
Lujan Grisham, who was elected in 2018, is seeking a second term.
She is the only Democrat currently running.