Marti Lelko is an occasional commentary contributor to The Paper.

Vote Ballot Box Hand Suit Vote  - pjedrzejczyk / Pixabay
pjedrzejczyk / Pixabay

*Marti Lelko has worked in New Mexico media for over 30 years. As a media professional, she has been following politics closely, especially during the pandemic. In her monthly column, Marti will cover issues she finds especially baffling and troubling. She asks our readers for insight, questions or a really funny joke that might help make our political climate make sense.

The scramble by Republicans in our state to unseat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has begun. Not surprisingly, the roster of candidates runs the gamut from sane and successful to the completely wacky! Several are business people with no political experience. Apparently, your ability to make money, raise children, be pro-life or predict the weather is now all that’s necessary for good governance. 

The common denominator among this new crop of Republican candidates is their vitriolic loathing of our current governor and what they perceive as her mishandling of the COVID pandemic. This current group of seven (that number is ever-changing) would evidently have kept schools and businesses wide open, so our economy could stay on track. They don’t realize the public wasn’t really into in-school learning or in-person shopping and entertainment if it put their family’s health at risk. If folks could do their job safely from home, most had no desire to go into an office. The candidates don’t fathom that other than funeral homes, our economy doesn’t really grow when everyone is scared, sick or dead! It’s easy to talk about what you would have done after the fact. Hindsight is always 20/20. Lujan Grisham had no pandemic playbook she could turn to for answers. She relied on health officials, science and common sense. She erred on the side of keeping us all alive! 

A common belief by many of these Republican gubernatorial candidates is that Donald Trump won but was cheated out of his win by a rigged election. If our Republican candidates don’t have faith in our electoral process, should they even be running? Any good ideas and valid points they make are diminished by their unwillingness to turn away from Trump. 

Over the past few months, I’ve listened to interviews with most of the candidates on KKOB. One of the interviews was with Greg Zanetti. Having personally worked with him in the past, I know him to be a decent and smart man who served his country. So I was floored that, when asked about Arizona’s ridiculous Cyber Ninjas recount, his response was to blow it off like it was no big deal. He implied that the recount was necessary and described Trump as “bold and bombastic.” Those are odd words to describe an autocrat who actively encouraged a coup, trounced our Constitution and ignored science at the peril of American lives. 

Zanetti wasn’t the only Republican candidate to go along with this GOP fantasy that Trump actually won. When asked by the KKOB host if Biden won, several candidates stated Trump won, while others just skirted the issue. They continue to pander to Trump’s base. If these candidates can’t accept Biden as our fairly elected President and rulings by judges across the country that found no foul play or rampant voting irregularities, how can we trust them to govern our state? What other lies will they be willing to swallow or push? 

If it’s a choice between a governor who buys too much jewelry but wants to keep her citizens alive over a party that now stands for lies, hypocrisy and needlessly high death counts, it’s a simple choice.

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Marti Lelko is an occasional commentary contributor to The Paper.