Thursday, June 1, 2023

GOP Candidates For Governor: And Then There Were Eight

Will Mark Ronchetti's "Local Celebrity" Status Help Him Beat the Pack?


Well-known television personality and meteorologist-turned-politician Mark Ronchetti is throwing his hat in the ring for the already-crowded 2022 gubernatorial race. In an announcement Wednesday, Ronchetti's entrance into the field comes hot on the heels of dismal fundraising reports by other members of his party. He abruptly resigned from his position at KRQE-TV last week, accidentally made his gubernatorial website go live, then took it down, then said he'd announce whether or not he'd run after speaking with family and praying about it.

This isn't Ronchetti's first foray into New Mexico politics. In 2020 he left the same cushy job at KRQE-TV to run for the U.S. Senate seat. He won a three-way Republican primary race in his first foray into statewide politics. Ronchetti lost in that year’s general election to Democrat Ben Ray Luján and subsequently returned to the television station as a meteorologist. This makes us wonder about how impartial KRQE's senior staff could really be—especially if they continue to let Ronchetti back in to their well-paying dugout between statewide races.

The Ronchetti/Trump Platform

Ronchetti has stayed consistent with his über-right wing politics from his Senate campaign, when he repeatedly stated his support of Donald Trump. He opened his gubernatorial campaign towing the party line of blaming immigrants for the state's high crime rate as well as a lack of support for law enforcement. The solution? Close the borders and support the cops. What was missing? Any mention of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery or a vaccination plan.

Having been a TV personality for over 20 years, Ronchetti easily has more name recognition than most of the GOP candidates. As a result, he's definitely not being received with open arms by other candidates. Republican candidate and Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block dismissed Ronchetti as “an opportunist.”

Show Me the Money

So far, Lujan Grisham has shown the most strength of any of the candidates, raising $2.5 million for her campaign and reporting another $2.1 million in the bank. As we reported, Lujan Grisham has raised more than double of all seven GOP candidates combined. Whoever wins the GOP nomination in the primary next June will run against Lujan Grisham in November 2022.


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