5 Republicans vying for governorship in New Mexico primary – Boston News, Weather, Sports

SANTA FE, NM (AP) — Republican voters were choosing a candidate for governor of New Mexico from a field of five candidates during Tuesday’s primary election campaign dominated by concerns about the economy, violent crime and the United States southern border security.

The winner of the GOP contest will face incumbent Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as she seeks a second term after guiding New Mexico through the coronavirus pandemic with aggressive public health restrictions and increased government spending by the state linked to record oil production.

Former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti and state Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences are prominent Republican candidates who have spent heavily on ads.

Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, investment adviser Gregory Zanetti and anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg were also pursuing the nomination.

Former Republican President Donald Trump hasn’t directly weighed in on the race after losing New Mexico’s 2020 vote by 11 percentage points and fleeting attempts to challenge the result through a lawsuit and a list of fake voters.

Ronchetti, a veteran broadcaster and a household name, lost a Republican bid for the U.S. Senate in 2020 by 6 percentage points to Democrat Ben Ray Luján. None of the GOP candidates has held elected office at the federal or state level.

New Mexico has alternated between Democratic and Republican governors since the early 1980s. The last incumbent governor to lose re-election was Democrat Bruce King, defeated in 1994 by then-Republican Gary Johnson.

Amid reports of deadly attacks, Republican primary candidates have highlighted plans to send soldiers or law enforcement personnel to the state’s remote international border with Mexico, which echoes the border deployments of the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona.

Support for gun rights and opposition to abortion figured prominently in the primary, along with concerns about New Mexico’s lowest employment rate and students falling behind in schools.

The fall election will test the stamina of a Democratic governor who revoked a state ban on most abortion procedures, introduced new controls on access to guns and demanded greater police accountability by lifting immunity provisions for law enforcement amid concerns over police brutality.

In Tuesday’s vote, new same-day registration provisions allowed unaffiliated voters to participate if they registered with a major party, even briefly.

New Mexico still follows a closed primary system that limits participation to voters registered with a major party, who cannot switch parties once early voting begins.

A steady stream of voters attended the polls at a church and an elementary school in central Santa Fe. About 55,000 ballots were cast by 1 p.m. on Election Day, with Republicans and Democrats casting their ballots in scant numbers. nearly equal. Nearly 180,000 ballots were cast in total, including postal voting and in-person early voting, which equates to 13% of registered voters.

Registered Republicans had the highest turnout at around 26% of registered voters and rising.

Democratic voters were deciding on a nominee for the top law enforcement official while Attorney General Hector Balderas was absent. Albuquerque-based District Attorney Raúl Torrez was competing with State Auditor Brian Colón for the nomination. The winner will face Republican attorney and US Navy veteran Jeremy Michael Gay of Gallup.

First-term congressmen were seeking re-election in New Mexico’s three congressional districts, with no major challengers.

In the 1st District that includes most of Albuquerque and rural southern communities, the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury was sought by shooting range owner Louie Sanchez and former police detective Michelle Garcia Holmes.

In New Mexico’s southern 2nd District, Las Cruces Councilman Gabe Vasquez was vying against rural physician Darshan Patel for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell.

Two Democratic candidates were vying to succeed Colón as state auditor in the race between Albuquerque’s Zackary Quintero and Public Regulation Commissioner Joseph Maestas, with no Republican nominee in the general election.

Former Sandoval County Treasurer Laura Montoya was competing for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer against former magistrate judge and treasury official Heather Benavidez of Albuquerque to replace state treasurer Tim Eichenberg. The winner faces former Republican Santa Fe County Commissioner Harry Montoya.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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