Republicans Crowd Into Primary Race for Governor, Congress

Candidates are crowding into the Republican primary election to challenge Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as first-term Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque in a newly drawn First District.

 

Candidates are crowding into the Republican primary election to challenge Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as first-term Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque in a newly drawn First District.

 

New Mexico’s 2022 election landscape came into sharp focus on Tuesday during the one-day registration period for primary contestants to pursue major-party nominations that include the Libertarian Party.

 

Democrats control every statewide elected office, as Lujan Grisham seeks a second term. She led the state through the coronavirus outbreak with aggressive emergency health mandates and vaccination programs, and is proposing tax cuts and tougher criminal penalties and bail provisions in response to surging crime rates in Albuquerque.

 

GOP contenders for governor include former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2020 against Ben Ray Luján. State Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, a consultant to early childhood providers, also filed a signature petition to enter the Republican primary, along with second-term Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block.


Additional GOP contenders include anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg of Albuquerque and West Point graduate Greg Zanetti of Albuquerque. Zanetti lost a bid for lieutenant governor in 1994 to Walter Bradley, who won the general election alongside Gov. Gary Johnson.

 

First-term congresswomen are defending all three New Mexico congressional districts under newly drawn political boundaries that divvy up the state’s conservative oil-producing region in the southeast of the state.

Several statewide offices are on the ballot, including secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer and land commissioner overseeing New Mexico’s vast underground oil and natural gas reserves.

Stansbury, who won a special congressional election in 2021, is defending an Albuquerque-anchored seat held by Democrats for more than a decade. In December, the district added a swath of rural, conservative leaning territory to the southeast of Albuquerque.

 

Republican contenders for Stansbury’s seat include Albuquerque city councilor Louie Sanchez, who owns a firearms store a shooting range and ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination to U.S. Senate in 2020, and perennial Republican political candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes, a former police detective and administrator for the state attorney general’s office.

 

Garcia Holmes ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018 and lost a run for Congress in 2020 to Deb Haaland, before Haaland’s appointment as U.S. secretary of interior. Jacquelyn Reeve and Joshua Taylor Neal also are seeking the GOP nomination in the First District.

 

Las Cruces city councilor Gabe Vasquez is among contenders seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell in a district that recently annexed heavily Hispanic neighborhoods of Albuquerque.

 

In northern and eastern New Mexico, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez is defending her seat in a possible rematch against Republican contender Alexis Martinez Johnson of Santa Fe, who lost to Leger Fernandez by 17 percentage points in 2020. Jerald McFall also is pursuing the Republican nomination in the 3rd District, where he lost by more than 30 percentage points in 2018.


Candidates will vie in open races to serve as the state’s top public prosecutor with the departure next year of Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas.

 

Contenders for the Democratic nomination include Raúl Torrez, district attorney to the Albuquerque region, and Brian Colón, who is stepping down at state auditor. Gallup-based attorney Jeremy Michael Gay is seeking the Republican nomination.

 

Termed-out State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg is endorsing as a potential successor to Democrat Heather Benavidez, a former municipal and magistrate judge who oversees state treasury programs including investment and savings accounts for people with disabilities. She’ll vie for the Democratic nomination against Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya, with Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya seeking the GOP nomination.

 

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2022 United States House of Representatives elections in New Mexico

GOP down to five candidates for governor’s seat

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.

Republicans Crowd Into Primary Race for Governor, Congress

Candidates are crowding into the Republican primary election to challenge Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as first-term U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque in a newly drawn 1st Congressional District.


New Mexico’s 2022 election landscape came into sharp focus Tuesday during the one-day registration period for primary contestants to pursue major-party nominations that include the Libertarian Party.
Democrats control every statewide elected office as Lujan Grisham seeks a second term. She led the state through the coronavirus outbreak with aggressive emergency health mandates and vaccination programs, and is proposing tax cuts and tougher criminal penalties and bail provisions in response to surging crime rates in Albuquerque.


GOP contenders for governor include former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2020 against Ben Ray Luján. State Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, a consultant to early childhood providers, also filed a signature petition to enter the Republican primary, along with second-term Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block.


Additional GOP contenders include anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg of Albuquerque and West Point graduate Greg Zanetti of Albuquerque.


Zanetti lost a bid for lieutenant governor in 1994 to Walter Bradley, who won the general election alongside Gov. Gary Johnson.


First-term congresswomen are defending all three New Mexico congressional districts under newly drawn political boundaries that divvy up the conservative oil-producing region in the southeastern area of the state.
Several statewide offices are on the ballot, including secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer and land commissioner, overseeing New Mexico’s vast underground oil and natural gas reserves.


Stansbury, who won a special congressional election in 2021, is defending an Albuquerque-anchored seat held by Democrats for more than a decade.


In December, the district added a swath of rural, conservative-leaning territory southeast of Albuquerque.
Republican contenders for Stansbury’s seat include Albuquerque City Councilor Louie Sanchez, who owns a firearms store and a shooting range and ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination to U.S. Senate in 2020, and perennial Republican political candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes, a former police detective and administrator for the state Attorney General’s Office.


Garcia Holmes ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018 and lost a run for Congress in 2020 to Deb Haaland, before Haaland’s appointment as U.S. secretary of the interior. Jacquelyn Reeve and Joshua Taylor Neal also are seeking the GOP nomination in the 1st Congressional District.


Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez is among contenders seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell in a district that recently annexed heavily Hispanic neighborhoods of Albuquerque.


In Northern and Eastern New Mexico, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández is defending her seat in a possible rematch against Republican contender Alexis Martinez Johnson of Santa Fe, who lost to Leger Fernandez by 17 percentage points in 2020.


Jerald McFall also is pursuing the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District, where he lost by more than 30 percentage points in 2018.


Candidates will vie in open races to serve as the state’s top public prosecutor with the departure next year of Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas.


Contenders for the Democratic nomination include Raúl Torrez, the district attorney in the Albuquerque area, and Brian Colón, who is stepping down as state auditor. Gallup-based attorney Jeremy Michael Gay is seeking the Republican nomination.


Democrat Heather Benavidez, a former municipal and magistrate judge who oversees state treasury programs, including investment and savings accounts for people with disabilities, will vie for the Democratic nomination to succeed termed-out State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg.


She is running against Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya, with Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya seeking the GOP nomination.

Reeve for Congress

There is a Storm Coming