2022 Governor's Race

Twitter Poll Doesn’t Show Zanetti Should Drop Out, But He Should

Because life isn’t chaotic enough, we thought we’d spice things up by posting a Twitter poll that managed to anger pretty much every Republican voter out there.

We asked, “Which GOP GOV candidate should drop out first?” The options were Rebecca Dow, Jay Block, Greg Zanetti, or “None. Go to June” (when the GOP primary will be held).

Jay Block fans were upset that it even be suggested he drop out of the governor’s race. 

Mark Ronchetti foes were mad that Ronchetti wasn’t an option at all — in fact, one New Mexican, “TMONEY”, got more likes on his comment “Why no Mark Ronchetti?” than anything he has tweeted in the three and a half years he’s been on Twitter.

But polls aren’t science. They’re persuasion, and even at that they usually suck. Ours was no different.

The results are puzzling, because part of the time the respondents commented with emotional frustration, ignoring the reality of odds and the influence of money in politics; part of the time they responded based on principle; and part of the time they voted for Rebecca Dow to drop out before Greg Zanetti.

Ronchetti is the clear frontrunner, and while people can be upset about that fact, it doesn’t make it less true. He’s famous (New Mexico famous, anyway), and he has more money than all of the other candidates combined. It doesn’t mean he’ll win the nomination (though odds say he will). It just means he won’t drop out, which is why he wasn’t included in the poll.

Dow was the frontrunner until Ronchetti jumped in the race, and plenty of people still believe she is a more formidable opponent against incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham. 

Block is going to stay in because people like him. Despite being last in fundraising (of the four serious candidates), he wins every straw poll out there, he has the Trumpian attitude and in-your-face energy that gives people hope that if a Republican managed to beat MLG in November, he’d actually have the balls to use his new office to make some much-needed changes in the state. (At this point, any change would be better than last place at everything.)

So you have a wealthy celebrity, an adequately funded but ethically challenged cowgirl, the people’s candidate, and…the other guy.

Greg Zanetti. 

Financial advisor. Former Bill Gates money manager. Foreign affairs genius. Probably more capable of running a state than any other candidate in the race.

He’s just boring.

Zanetti’s grasp of global monetary policy and international military incursions, of the stock market and personal investment, of intellectual property and the potential legislative reforms that could save America billions—on these topics he expresses intelligence that we would all be proud to have advising policies at the national level.

But Zanetti is a behind-the-scenes guy, not a frontman, and the inability to personally connect with voters shows in his financial reports. He’s just not going to draw the votes he needs to be competitive.

Whether he’s talking with Eddy Aragon on The Rock of Talk, Paul Gessing on the Rio Grande Foundation’s podcast, or political upstart Jebidiah Osborn of Common Ground, Zanetti is such a deep roller on complex issues that their applicability to New Mexico — let alone to the gubernatorial race and his place in it — seem to be an afterthought that he uncomfortably tacks on at the end of his TED Talk-type expositions.

It’s sad to say, but it’s true: Zanetti is too smart for New Mexico. He talks over the heads of average voters, and his campaign lacks the simplicity of a “Make America Great Again” (or even the “Hope & Change”) message that would not only resonate with voters but would differentiate him from the competition. 

In “Ronchetti Is In: Opponents Must Now Decide How They’ll Help Boot MLG,” we argued that, “if the goal is to oust Grisham, the candidates who see the writing on the wall need to be careful about forcing their supporters into an all-or-nothing commitment.”

At this point in the race, there are two paths for candidates. If they stay in, hoping to win the nomination by tearing down the presumed frontrunner on a Hail Mary, they need to drop out. If they’re advancing a message that benefits the party and their presence on the debate stage adds to the conversation, benefits the party generally, and thus helps replace Michelle Lujan Grisham whether or not they’re the nominee, they should stay in.

Zanetti’s inability to speak to voters on their level, and his subpar fundraising numbers, make him exactly the candidate who pulls Republican voters — and funds — away from the eventual nominee.

Zanetti, we love you, but you just can’t win.

Drop out, issue an endorsement, and hope for a cabinet spot. Lord knows we need some bigger brains in the governor’s office. It just so happens you’re not the face.

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