GOP down to five candidates for governor's seat - Albuquerque Journal

GOP down to five candidates for governor’s seat

From left, Jay Block, Rep. Rebecca Dow, Mark Ronchetti and Greg Zanetti

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The field of Republican candidates for governor narrowed considerably Tuesday as five GOP candidates filed the documents necessary to challenge Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Three others who had announced plans to seek the nomination either switched to another race or changed party affiliation.

As it stands now, the five Republican candidates are Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, state Rep. Rebecca Dow, anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg, ex-KRQE meteorologist Mark Ronchetti and financial adviser Greg Zanetti.

Each filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday to seek the Republican nomination in the June 7 primary election.

Two other candidates who had initially announced Republican campaigns switched their affiliation to Libertarian and will seek that nomination instead: business owner Karen Bedonie and retired teacher Tim Walsh.

A third candidate, Louie Sanchez, who owns an indoor shooting range, decided to run in the 1st Congressional District rather than for governor.

The winner of the Republican and Libertarian nominations will take on Lujan Grisham, a former congresswoman seeking reelection to a second term.

State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce said any of the Republican candidates can beat Lujan Grisham in the Nov. 8 general election.

“This governor has damaged New Mexico’s economy, its businesses and its education system,” Pearce said. “We need strong conservative leadership, and we are confident that we will see a Republican in the governor’s office next year.”

State Democratic Party Chairwoman Jessica Velasquez said Lujan Grisham is in strong position to win reelection.

“None of the GOP candidates for governor have a plan to lead New Mexico,” she said, “and instead of offering up concrete policy proposals, they continue to pander to extremists with empty rhetoric.”

The field isn’t necessarily set. Candidates may face challenges to the validity of the petition signatures they submitted or drop out on their own.

Here’s a look at how the races in newly drawn congressional districts are shaping up:

— Four Republicans filed for the nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Melanie Stansbury. They are nurse practitioner Jacquelyn Reeve; retired police detective Michelle Garcia Holmes; Sanchez, the former governor candidate; and Joshua Neal, a city planner.

Stansbury, who lives in Albuquerque, is seeking reelection to a second term in the 1st Congressional District, covering much of eastern Albuquerque, most of Rio Rancho, the East Mountains and part of Roswell.

— Two Democrats filed for the chance to take on Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell of Alamogordo.

Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez and Darshan Patel, a physician who works in Lea County, are seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.

Herrell is seeking her second term in the district, which was redrawn to include much of the West Side, South Valley and parts of the Barelas neighborhood in Albuquerque, in addition to southern New Mexico.

— Two Republicans are seeking the nomination to challenge Democrat Teresa Leger Fernandez of Santa Fe in the 3rd Congressional District.

The candidates are Alexis Martinez Johnson, an oil and gas engineer living in Santa Fe, and Jerald Steve McFall, a farmer from Angel Fire.

The district stretches from Farmington and Santa Fe into the oil patch, including part of Hobbs.

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