Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block took 29% of the delegate votes in the Republican Party’s pre-primary convention Saturday, putting him at the top of the June primary ballot in the race to unseat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Republicans and Democrats alike criticized the convention over technical glitches that required a late switch to paper ballots. A big-J Journalist live-tweeting the event called someone an asshole on social media! And Block allegedly called Grisham “the crotch-grabbing evil witch of Santa Fe.”
It all sounds very exciting!
Ronchetti issued a statement that the convention “descended into chaos” while the state Democrat Party criticized Republicans for their “stunning incompetence” — which is ironic considering how poorly Democrats have run the state for the better part of the last century.
(It never ceases to amaze me how people will criticize technological malfunctions in politics but can’t sign into Amazon Prime on a smart TV without calling tech support, let alone figure out how to connect a Powerpoint to a projector screen without calling in six guys from IT.)
Block 29%, Dow 28%, Zanetti 23%
The results of the delegate votes is perhaps most surprising to gubernatorial candidate Greg Zanetti, whose campaign came out with the only polling so far this election cycle, in January, showed him beating out frontrunner Mark Ronchetti and state Rep. Rebecca Dow in head-to-head races with Grisham.
The push poll, as they’re known — because they literally push respondents toward specific options — oddly didn’t include the name Jay Block.
Zanetti took third in the convention, with 23%, behind Block and Dow. He will be on the June primary ballot.
Ronchetti Still The Man To Beat
Ronchetti gathered more than twice the number of signatures required to get on the ballot, and by all official counts he’s the man to beat. The Republican Weatherman has the best name recognition of the candidate pool, not only due to being a local TV personality but from a fairly well-executed Senate run in 2020.
Ronchetti ultimately lost, to then U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, but in a toxic political environment with the politically divisive former president on the ballot, a 45.6% showing wasn’t bad.
Trump is likely to remain a problem for New Mexico Republicans this election cycle, in state-wide as well as congressional races.
Die-hard Trumpers won’t forgive Ronchetti for his mockery and criticism of the former president in 2020. Never-Trumpers (comprising the entirety of Democrats in New Mexico) won’t appreciate Ronchetti’s slow embrace of the Trump policies that, in the Biden era, are proving more and more sound.
As an unabashed supporter of the former president, Block faces the same problem.
How these candidates maneuver around the unfavorable personality while embracing the anti-Woke, anti-mob, anti-Socialist policies that are starting to unite the country is yet to be seen.
One thing is for sure, in a state that is failing under decades of Democrat leadership, Trump will be a front-and-center issue this election cycle. Democrats have literally nothing else to run on.