The first financial reports filed since the June 7 primary signal a tight in the New Mexico gubernatorial contest. While mainstream political analyses rank the race as leaning Democrat, GOP candidate Mark Ronchetti outraised incumbent Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham by nearly 38%, according to Secretary of State financial filings released yesterday.
Grisham, who was unopposed in the Democrat primary, maintains an overall fundraising advantage and has twice as much cash on hand, $2.75 million to Ronchetti’s $1.4 million. But Ronchetti rolled over his opponents in a five-way primary on the GOP side, beating his next closest opponent by 43 points, with 58% of votes cast. In the first month’s fundraising data, he is proving to be a formidable opponent, outraising Grisham $1.2 million to $755,000.
That a political outsider is outraising a Democrat incumbent in a solidly blue state proves that the New Mexico gubernatorial race is far from a “likely” Democrat stronghold, and the Grisham campaign’s attempt to white-wash the latest financial reports signals that even Grisham knows she’s in trouble.
“Gov. Lujan Grisham continues to be in one of the strongest positions an incumbent governor in New Mexico has ever been in,” campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer said in a statement, according to Santa Fe New Mexican‘s Daniel Chacon. “She’s one month into the general election and has nearly twice as much in the bank as her GOP opponent.”
As one of the least popular governors in the country (according to an April 2022 Morning Consult poll), losing the fundraising race by $450,000 is anything but a “strong position.” Running unopposed is significantly cheaper than running against four opponents, as Ronchetti did, and Grisham’s cash on hand advantage predates the general election race.
The only post-primary gubernatorial poll gave Grisham a 3% edge, well within the 4% margin of error, and that from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling firm.
Ronchetti’s fundraising prowess gives the Republican significant momentum in the race. Added to Grisham’s low approval rating, New Mexico’s fifth worst first quarter GDP rank in the country (-4.7%), and the highest unemployment in the country make the gubernatorial race anything but “likely” Democrat. This is a tossup, and mainstream analysts would be wise to take notice.
“You can feel how energized New Mexicans are for a new direction, and I’m truly humbled by the support we have from New Mexicans in every corner of the state. People are ready for change and are supporting our campaign in record numbers, with their time, their energy, and their financial contributions for the movement we’re creating. New Mexicans want safer streets and an economy that doesn’t crush family budgets.”–Mark Ronchetti campaign statement, July 7, 2022