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Libertarian, Republican candidates vie for spot to challenge incumbent governor


Five Republicans and two Libertarians are running for governor in the June 7 primary and are vying to challenge incumbent Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The Republicans are Greg Zanetti, Ethel Maharg, Jay Block, Mark Ronchetti and Rebecca Dow. The Libertarians are Karen Bedonie and Ginger Grider.

“I think everybody is deeply concerned about things in the world and things in the nation,” New Mexico Republican Party Chair Steve Pearce said. “The involvement of new generations of voters gives me all the hope in the world.

“Democrats are getting a lot of blame right now,” Pearce continued. “We have to keep our message simple – we can make lives better and restore the value of the dollar – that’s what’s at stake in this election.”

All these candidates, Republican and Libertarian, say they are “pro-life” and “pro-business.”

Greg Zanetti (R) grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Valley High School in 1976.  He graduated from West Point in 1980 and was promoted to brigadier general in 2005.  He was then deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2008 where he served as deputy commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo.  He has served as chairman of the New Mexico Right to Life movement as well chairman of the effort to outlaw forcing any employee to join a union against their will.  

Ethel Maharg (R) was born in Cuba, New Mexico. She says she is running for governor to “breathe life into New Mexico.” She is the first woman to be elected mayor of Cuba, is pro-life and said respect for the rule of law means the southern border must be secured immediately. 

Jay Block (R) was born in Manchester, New Hampshire and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1989 to 2016, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. Block’s career experience includes working as a nuclear weapons consultant. Currently severing his second term as Sandoval County commissioner, he supports bringing bail back, looking closely at mental health issues and securing the border.

Mark Ronchetti (R)  lives in Albuquerque, where he and his wife, Krysty, are raising two young daughters. He says he has seen the flawed education system and the non-existent mental health support and how it’s failing kids in New Mexico. He wants to ensure a “justice system that works and prioritizes law-abiding citizens over criminals.” Ronchetti started a career as a reporter in Grand Junction, Colorado. He spent two decades on air in the Albuquerque television market, including KRQE News 13.

Rebecca Dow (R), a member of the New Mexico House of Representatives representing Truth or Consequences, has been serving the area since 2017. Dow was born in Oklahoma and moved to New Mexico when she was a young girl. Dow earned an associate’s degree from Tulsa Community College and a bachelor of science degree in business management from Oral Roberts University. As a state representative, she is for defending New Mexico jobs.

Karen Bedonie (L) says her “freedom is Christian based, strong, cultural … constitutional, womanly and beautiful.” She is pro-border wall, a business owner, an educator, a Diné historian by traditional teachings and a constitutionalist.  She has been a New Mexican her entire life and a makes her home in Tòdiildò in McKinley County.

Write-in candidate Ginger Grider (L), who lives in Portales, says she is an advocate and business owner. She is a medical cannabis patient and works with the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate Alliance.