Gov. hopefuls' kids in campaign - Albuquerque Journal

Gov. hopefuls’ kids in campaign

Michelle Lujan Grisham and Mark Ronchetti. (Images courtesy of the candidates)

Both of the main candidates in New Mexico’s race for governor are making their children a visible campaign presence.

Most recently, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s reelection campaign on Monday launched a new TV ad that features her eldest daughter talking about her family’s struggles after Lujan Grisham’s first husband died of an aneurysm while jogging in 2004.

The governor’s daughter, Taylor Stewart, says in the 60-second ad that Lujan Grisham was forced to balance being a single mom with her responsibilities as a Cabinet secretary in then-Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration.

“We knew that mom’s job wasn’t just taking care of us, it was taking care of New Mexicans, too,” Stewart says in the ad.

Lujan Grisham hasn’t shied away from talking about family issues and testified to a legislative committee in 2019 with her then-3-year-old granddaughter on her lap. But the Democratic governor’s two adult daughters have not previously played a high-profile role in her campaigns.

Meanwhile, Republican Mark Ronchetti’s two daughters, Ava and Ella, have been visible in their dad’s campaign, appearing in television ads and, in the past, in recurring social media segments about “mean tweets” directed at Ronchetti.

In an interview this year, Ronchetti said his decision to make his family a visible part of his campaign was a deliberate one, saying he was concerned about his children and other young people leaving New Mexico and not coming back.

“We put the girls in the middle of this because they’re a big reason we ran,” Ronchetti said at the time.

Both candidates in this year’s race have already spent hefty sums on television ads – with plenty more expected over the next three months.

Ronchetti, who launched a new TV ad of his own Monday touting his economic plan, outraised Lujan Grisham by more than $450,000 during a recent monthlong period.

But the incumbent governor still has more money in her campaign account than does her GOP opponent – more than $2.7 million for Lujan Grisham compared to about $1.4 million for Ronchetti.

Outside groups have also launched TV ads in New Mexico, as political pundits have rated the contest as one of the most competitive gubernatorial races up for election this year.

In addition to Ronchetti and Lujan Grisham, Libertarian Karen Bedonie has also qualified to appear as a candidate for governor in the Nov. 8 general election, though Bedonie has not yet aired any TV ads.

Absentee and early in-person voting for the general election is set to begin Oct. 11.

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