June 7, 2022

Ronchetti wins Republican nomination for governor

Mark Ronchetti

Mark Ronchetti, a former meteorologist, won the Republican primary for governor and will face incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this November.

Ronchetti won a five-way primary after being the candidate with the highest name recognition and the most campaign funds throughout the primary.

In his victory speech, Ronchetti touted his credentials.

“When I announced my campaign, I said I was running because politicians have forgotten us….they don’t listen. I’m a political outsider,” the former U.S. Senate candidate said, “and I won’t apologize for that.”

Ronchetti also slammed Lujan Grisham, calling her “the ultimate political insider.”

Ronchetti faced Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, state Rep. Rebecca Dow, anti-abortion activist Ethel Maharg and retired National Guard Brigadier General Greg Zanetti.

Karen Bedonie will represent the Libertarian Party in the general election. She was the only name on the ballot, though Ginger Grider ran as a write-in candidate.

The Republican Governors Association praised Ronchetti after he won, saying, “After years being a trusted voice in people’s homes across the Albuquerque media market, the RGA is confident voters know Mark is the pragmatic outsider who will bring about positive change for the state.”

The Democratic Party of New Mexico, meanwhile, said through a spokesperson Ronchetti was “an out-of-touch, inexperienced TV weatherman who doesn’t understand New Mexicans or the issues they face.”

“Ronchetti has managed to claw his way through the Republican Primary by echoing national GOP talking points, but New Mexicans will see through his empty suit to find a failed politician who offers no solutions for our state,” party spokesperson Delaney Corcoran said.

Ronchetti was the favorite to win the primary throughout the campaign, and he at times pivoted to addressing Lujan Grisham instead of primary opponents. The Democratic Party of New Mexico has focused on Ronchetti in recent weeks over the other Republican candidates.

Republicans have put forward Ronchetti as a formidable candidate because of, in part, his better-than-expected showing in the 2020 U.S. Senate election, which he lost to Democrat Ben Ray Luján by 6.1 percentage points. Luján replaced Democrat Tom Udall, who retired.

Lujan Grisham is seeking her second term. The last incumbent governor to lose reelection was Bruce King in 1994, who lost to Gary Johnson, then a Republican, in a three-way race.

Nominees for Lieutenant Governor are chosen separately from governors in New Mexico, though they run as a ticket in the general election.

Retired aerospace engineer Ant Thornton led in the Republican primary as of 8:20 p.m.

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales will be Lujan Grisham’s running mate once again. Travis Sanchez was the only Libertarian on the ballot.