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It’s more than 1,800 miles from Albuquerque to Richmond, Virginia, but Glenn Youngkin believes the political landscape isn’t so different between the two states.
During a Wednesday campaign stop with Mark Ronchetti, the Virginia governor said New Mexico voters are fed up with many of the same issues – including high crime rates, inflation and COVID-19 regulations – that Virginia voters were when he won election last year.
“It’s your turn, New Mexico,” Youngkin said to a cheering crowd of about 300 supporters.
“The issues are the same issues,” he later told reporters. “This is a time for a Republican governor to bring common-sense answers to these kitchen table issues, and that’s exactly what Mark is going to do.”
Youngkin, who also made a stop later Wednesday in Las Cruces, is the third Republican governor to travel to New Mexico to stump for Ronchetti, who is seeking to defeat incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the Nov. 8 general election.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared with Ronchetti at an August rally in Carlsbad, while Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey toured an Albuquerque manufacturing facility with Ronchetti last month.
In a Wednesday statement, a state Democratic Party spokesman said Youngkin’s visit to stump for Ronchetti showed the GOP nominee is “out of step” with New Mexicans.
“New Mexico voters must heed Virginia’s warning – Youngkin has gleefully put the MAGA GOP base above Virginians, promising an extremist abortion ban that voters strongly oppose,” said Democratic Party spokesman Daniel Garcia. “Unless we stop him, Mark Ronchetti will do the exact same thing in New Mexico.”
Youngkin was elected Virginia’s governor in 2021, narrowly defeating former governor Terry McAuliffe in a race that featured heated debate over parental involvement in public schools.
He’s faced widespread student walkouts in recent weeks in protest over a reversal of transgender student protections, but said Wednesday the criticism was misguided.
“This is about parents being engaged in their children’s lives and I don’t understand the debate,” said Youngkin, adding he respects students’ right to protest peacefully.
Ronchetti did not respond directly when asked whether he would push for a similar law in New Mexico, but said the state has a public school structure that does not heed parents’ voices.
Meanwhile, several Republican state lawmakers and GOP candidates attended Wednesday’s event, which was held in an Albuquerque coffee shop.
During Ronchetti’s remarks, he touched on familiar campaign themes like crime, state government spending growth and what he described as an unresponsive Democratic-led political establishment.
With Election Day in sight, he called on voters to pick a new path forward.
“The worst thing to happen to us is to believe that we, as a state, cannot change,” Ronchetti said.