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February 2024

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Governor Lujan-Grisham Facing Two Opponents

Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham is facing two challengers for the Governor’s Office this November: Mark Ronchetti (Republican) and Karen Bedonie (Libertarian). The Questa del Rio News interviewed both challengers. We have yet to schedule an interview with Governor Lujan-Grisham.

Mark Ronchetti

The Questa del Rio News interviewed Republican challenger Mark Ronchetti in April as he was traveling north through Red River and Questa campaigning for his party’s nomination. Ronchetti grew up in Vermont, was educated as a meteorologist at Washington State University and eventually settled on a job as reporter/meteorologist for Albuquerque’s CBS and Fox affiliates. He describes his home state of Vermont as similar to New Mexico in that it’s sparsely populated with a lot of small towns that basically make up the whole state with “basically common sense values.” He owns a home with his family in Angel Fire.

Ronchetti’s main focus is reducing crime, specifically mentioning issues related to drug trafficking across the southern US-Mexico border. He described his plan to create a specific law enforcement task force for patrolling the border and getting the illegal drug trade under control.

“Part of our problem is the illegal drug trade, a lot of it comes up through New Mexico through the southern border, . . . human trafficking is also a huge issue…we need a border force that’s going to help go after the drug trade. If we’re going to get our arms around crime, we better get our arms around the drug trade coming up through here. What we want to propose is a border strike force which is a hundred and fifty officers under the Department of Public Safety and their job is to do two things: go after human smuggling and go after the fentanyl trade.”

One can listen to our full interview with Mark Ronchetti at the following web address: https://soundcloud.com/socialmedia-qedf/interview-mark-ronchetti.

Ronchetti has recently come under media attention over an apparent inconsistency regarding his stance on a right to abortion. Currently his website reads as such:

“Mark is pro-life, but as governor he will seek a middle ground with our legislature that ends the practice of late-term abortion. Mark believes permitting abortion up to 15 weeks and in cases involving rape, incest, and when a mother’s life is at risk is a position that most in New Mexico will support regardless of party affiliation.”

A website created by the Democratic Party of New Mexico has recorded a statement from Ronchetti on the issue of abortion from 2020. If true, it would represent an apparent shift in his beliefs on the matter.
On September 15, Ronchetti made a proposal to New Mexicans through the Twitter website to settle the issue of abortion via a state-wide ballot measure. “No politician should decide this, YOU should,” Ronchetti emphasized in the tweet.

Ronchetti takes pride in the fact that he currently does not have a background in politics, branding himself as a political outsider and therefore the more populist choice for Governor.

Karen Bedonie

Karen Bedonie is the Libertarian Party candidate for the Governor’s Office. She is from the Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico and she prides herself on her entrepreneurial background.

“We build all our businesses because there’ no jobs where we come from so we’ve had to function off of entrepreneurship and that’s how we’ve shaped our lives and built our own homes. My background is in construction . . . from foundations to fixtures but my specialty was welding,” Mrs. Bedonie explained in an interview with the Questa del Rio News on August 23.

On the afternoon of August 23, Mrs. Bedonie traveled to the Espanola Public Library as a part of her “the Great Debate 2022” tour during which she spoke to voters about how, if elected, she would do what she could to limit the size of the state government and make life easier for business-owners. In a Facebook live stream, Bedonie advocated for less corruption in government, more freedom for business-owners, and more opportunities for “hard-working Americans.” She even perpetuated what’s come to be known as the Big Lie, the debunked claim that President Joe Biden only won the election of 2020 through fraudulent voter ballots, and advocated for more election security to reduce voter fraud. Bedonie has an intense distrust of all government programs and would like to see the size of governments reduced across the board, even coming out on record saying she would not be opposed to dismantling New Mexico’s Public Education Department.

One can listen to our full interview with Karen Bedonie at the following web address: https://soundcloud.com/socialmedia-qedf/interview-karen-bedonie.

Organized by a group calling themselves “We the People of NM 2022,” Mrs. Bedonie traveled through twenty towns over twenty days speaking to people in-person as well as through Facebook live streams. Governor Lujan-Grisham and Ronchetti were invited to participate alongside Bedonie but did not appear.