On Sunday, former governor Jerry Apodaca, a Democrat, endorsed Steve Pearce for governor. Pearce is the Republican nominee.
In an Albuquerque Journal op-ed, Apodaca did not mention any of Pearce’s policies. Rather, he wrote that Pearce responded to his request to speak with each of the candidates. He said he did not hear from Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Democratic candidate.
Apodaca’s son, Jeff Apodaca, lost in the Democratic primary to Lujan Grisham, receiving just 22 percent of the vote.
“I was surprised how open [Pearce] was and how we agreed on about 80% of the issues that plague New Mexico,” Jerry Apodaca wrote. “I found him to be straightforward and an honest man.”
Jerry Apodaca compared Pearce, a member of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus, to former president John F. Kennedy and “moderate Democrats and Republicans” from New Mexico. He mentioned Republican former U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen and Republican former U.S. Sen Pete Domenici and Democratic Governor Bruce King and conservative Democratic U.S. Rep. Harold Runnels. Runnels’ widow, Dorothy Runnels, recently endorsed Pearce.
Democratic Party of New Mexico chairwoman Marg Elliston called it “sour grapes on the part of a candidate who didn’t win his primary.”
“Steve Pearce is a Trump Republican and founding member of the Tea Party Freedom Caucus, not a JFK Democrat,” Elliston said. “His work to roll back civil rights protections, fight organized labor, and put corporations ahead of people are a disservice to JFK’s legacy.”
Pearce embraced the endorsement, sending a press release Sunday morning with a portion of Jerry Apodaca’s statement.
“Governor Apodaca is a great New Mexican and I appreciate his endorsement,” Pearce wrote.
Jeff Apodaca recently joined New Mexico Democrats for Democracy, a PAC critical of Lujan Grisham. The organization touts itself as progressive and advocates for legalization of marijuana and universal health care.
Jeff Apodaca recently appeared at a Pearce campaign event, but said he was not endorsing the Republican. Apodaca also recently began a weekly talk show at the conservative Albuquerque radio station KKOB. The station airs conservative content throughout the day, including syndicated radio shows from Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage.