At the pre-primary convention Saturday in Ruidoso for the state Republican Party, contenders for Congress and statewide elected offices competed for positions on the primary ballot ahead of the June vote.
There are five contenders seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, including state Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block and former television meteorologist Mark Ronchetti of Albuquerque.
The convention was supposed to determine who got on the primary ballot with at least 20 percent of endorsement votes and who got top billing with the highest approval. It wasn't long into the convention that things quickly started falling apart.
First, the Republican Party postponed releasing pre-primary convention results after its electronic voting system encountered glitches. Then somehow, the system overcame the glitches and Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block was declared the pre-primary winner late Saturday night. State Rep. Rebecca Down will be next in line on the ballot. Greg Zanetti also qualified for the ballot.
Former weatherman and Mark Ronchetti said the convention had descended into chaos and that the party was fractured. He called the process of voting for delegates "tragically flawed". He went on to say "Republicans are suing to keep other candidates off the ballot, anonymous texts are attacking fellow Republicans, delegates had to leave before voting even started. Parties that exclude people, lose."
Ronchetti maintains that his campaign turned in twice the number of signatures required to secure him a spot on the primary ballot. In a press release, his campaign stated, "Any results from today's haywire vote will likely be in question."
Whoever wins the Republican Party’s nomination for governor on June 7 will face off against Lujan Grisham, who is running unopposed, in the general election.
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