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Justin Schatz is The Paper's daily news reporter. He has reported on New Mexico for KRQE News, Searchlight NM and the Santa Fe Reporter.

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Speaking over a crowd of rowdy protestors that harassed reporters and her supporters in attendance, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Thursday that she will be running for a second term as New Mexico’s governor. Grisham has been governor of New Mexico since 2018, when she defeated Republican Steve Pearce by a comfortable margin of 14 points. “We’re going to protect New Mexico, and no amount of the noise will deter that,” the governor defiantly said over the angry chants of protestors outside of the Albuquerque Museum. 

Prominent Democrats from around New Mexico joined her on stage, most notably Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, who also announced his intent to seek reelection. Melanie Stansbury, who had just won New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, also made an appearance supporting the governor’s reelection. Both touted the governor’s efforts to vaccinate New Mexicans and her economic support for New Mexico communities hit hard by the pandemic. 

The governor’s response to the pandemic has divided many New Mexicans. Still, many within the party see the governor’s response as a strength going into the election. “Voters know that the Governor’s decisive action with the state’s economy through investing more than a billion dollars in small businesses grappling with the effects of COVID across the state and giving a tax cut to over half a million middle-class New Mexicans put our state in a position to come back stronger,” Miranda van Dijk, Communications Director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, said. 

“We’re doing everything possible to build the party and get ready for the midterms. The recent race in CD-1 demonstrated that our outreach and GOTV strategies work. Right now, we’re focused on registering voters, testing new methods of outreach, and investing in local talent who will be ready to get out the vote in 2022,” van Dijk said. The governor’s announcement today signified the party’s eagerness to begin campaigning for midterms. 

None of the state’s leading Republicans have announced their intent to run for New Mexico’s highest office. Sandoval County Commissioner Jay C. Block was the first Republican to declare their candidacy for governor. Karen Bedonie, a Navajo Republican from Farmington, and Stephen Garrett, an independent from Moriarty, have also filed paperwork to run. Among these three, Block is the most discussed in Republican circles. He is running on a platform focused on the governor’s response to the pandemic, which had many small businesses operating at limited capacity, immigration, and loosening restrictions on New Mexico’s oil and gas industry. Block has been highly critical of the governor’s handling of the pandemic.

A crowd of nearly 100 protesters stood outside of the event and heckled attendees and harassed reporters. Protesters hurled insults with strong anti-vaccine and anti-mask overtones.


Protestors shows signs against Governor Lujan Grisham, 6/3/21, Photo: Justin Schatz, The Paper.

PICS: Protestors Harrass, Disrupt Gov’s Campaign Kickoff

Protestors confront reporters
Protesters’ sirens interrupt Native prayer and Pledge of Allegiance

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