2022 Governor's Race

Fact Check: Dow Attacks Ronchetti as ‘Climate Change Activist,’ ‘Never Trumper’

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Dow just dropped another bomb on the Ronchetti camp.

In her latest ad, the state representative from Truth or Consequences calls out the presumed frontrunner for being a “never Trumper” and a “climate change activist” who “worked with George Soros.”

Full transcript: Mark Ronchetti pretends he’s a Trump Republican but do you really believe someone who worked with climate change activists funded by George Soros is a true conservative? And do you really believe a Never Trumper who quit the GOP will secure our borders? Mark Ronchetti. Climate change activist. Never Trumper.

Are these accusations true?

As is often the case in politics, there’s more gray area than black and white when it comes to these attacks.

Did Ronchetti Quit the GOP?

Ronchetti’s team responded: “Dow claims Mark left the Republican Party, which official voter registration records prove is false. Mark is a registered Republican and did not leave the party.”

The problem is, there’s video of Ronchetti saying, “I used to be a Republican, until The Orange One.” 

“Used to” means you’re not anymore, and it doesn’t really matter that the statement was meant as a joke (he’s laughing, the audience laughs). Calling Trump “The Orange One” and disavowing the party because of him isn’t funny to people who support Trump.

Did Ronchetti Speak at a Climate Change Talk?

In March 2019, Ronchetti did speak at an event at the University of New Mexico. At that event, “human causes” of climate change were discussed. And according to the Daily Lobo, Ronchetti — who was a KRQE meteorologist at the time—“pointed out in discussion at the event that one of the best ways to make climate change feel more manageable on an individual scale is through localization.

“New Mexico exhibits the effects of climate change in the form of increased forest fires and drought, Ronchetti said. He explained that the community can help Albuquerque’s environment by volunteering to clean up the Rio Grande Bosque.” 

— “UNM holds talk on sustainability,” Daily Lobo, Mar. 25, 2019

According to the same article, “The event was sponsored by several student groups including Advancing Women in Science, Geology and Environmental Science Club, UNM Environmental Coalition and 350 UNM.”

And according to InfluenceWatch.org, “Groups linked to George Soros and Tom Steyer have also contributed extensively to 350.org.”

‘Working With’ Claim False

It’s true that Ronchetti spoke at a climate change event sponsored in part by a group with “extensive” financial ties to George Soros, and based on the news coverage of the event, Ronchetti appears to believe the climate is indeed changing. But that’s not quite “work(ing) with climate change activists funded by George Soros,” as Dow’s ad suggests.

Ronchetti was a weatherman. Speaking at an event about weather on a college campus isn’t exactly radical.

Nor is it true that Ronchetti “pretends he’s a Trump Republican.” In fact, that’s part of the reason some Conservatives oppose him. 

Ronchetti is walking a fine line. He has the most money and the most famous face of any of the GOP candidates, but to beat the Democrat incumbent he has to come out of the primary as a moderate. That means not looking like a Trump Republican. Depending on who sees it, Dow’s ad could help or hinder Ronchetti. (MAGAns could be put off by it, but Democrats unhappy with Grisham could find Ronchetti to be a moderate, at least by comparison to the rest of the field.)

What’s clear is that between her messaging on the border, Critical Race Theory, and now Ronchetti as an anti-Trumper, she’s doing everything she can to secure the MAGA wing of the Republican Party, which encroaches on territory Jay Block had been owning to this point.

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