Republicans crowd into primary race for governor, Congress – The Durango Herald
SANTA FE — Candidates are lining up for the Republican primary election to challenge Democratic New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as well as Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury of Albuquerque in a newly drawn First District.
New Mexico’s 2022 electoral landscape was highlighted Tuesday during the day-long registration period for primary candidates to pursue nominations from major parties, including the Libertarian Party.
Democrats control every elected office statewide, as Lujan Grisham seeks a second term. She has 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 the skyrocketing crime rates in Albuquerque.
GOP candidates for governor include former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020 against Ben Ray Luján. State Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, a consultant to child care providers, also filed a signed petition to enter the Republican primary, along with Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block’s second term.
Other GOP candidates include anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg of Albuquerque and West Point graduate Greg Zanetti of Albuquerque. Zanetti lost a 1994 bid for lieutenant governor to Walter Bradley, who won the general election alongside Governor Gary Johnson.
Congresswomen are defending New Mexico’s three congressional districts under newly drawn political borders that divide the state’s conservative oil-producing region in the southeast of the state.
Several statewide offices are on the ballot, including the secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer, and lands commissioner overseeing the vast underground oil and natural gas reserves. from New Mexico.
Stansbury, which won a special congressional election in 2021, is defending an entrenched seat in Albuquerque held by Democrats for more than a decade. In December, the district added a swath of conservative-leaning rural territory southeast of Albuquerque.
Republican candidates for the Stansbury seat include Albuquerque Councilman Louie Sanchez, who owns a gun store and shooting range and ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for the 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 2020 congressional race to Deb Haaland, before Haaland was nominated for US interior secretary. Jacquelyn Reeve and Joshua Taylor Neal are also seeking the GOP nomination in the First District.
Las Cruces Councilman Gabe Vasquez is among the candidates for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell in a district that recently annexed heavily Hispanic neighborhoods from Albuquerque.
In northern and eastern New Mexico, U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez is defending her seat in a possible rematch against Republican candidate Alexis Martinez Johnson of Santa Fe, who lost to Leger Fernandez by 17 percentage points in 2020 Jerald McFall is also pursuing the Republican nomination in the 3rd District, where he lost by more than 30 percentage points in 2018.
Candidates will face off in open races to serve as state attorney general with the departure next year of Democratic attorney general Hector Balderas.
The candidates for the Democratic nomination are Raúl Torrez, Albuquerque-area district attorney, and Brian Colón, who is stepping down as state auditor. Gallup-based lawyer Jeremy Michael Gay is seeking the Republican nomination.
State Treasurer Tim Eichenberg is named a potential successor to Democrat Heather Benavidez, a former city judge and magistrate who oversees state treasury programs, including investment and savings accounts for People with Disabilities. She will be vying for the Democratic nomination against Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya and Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya seeking the GOP nomination.