Republicans believe the contest to unseat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is a winnable race given the favorable political environment and controversies during the Democrat’s first term. While we currently rate the race as Likely Democrat, it certainly has the potential to move into a more competitive category. We plan to reassess and make that determination after the June 7 primary.

The leading challenger to Lujan Grisham is Mark Ronchetti, an affable former Albuquerque TV weatherman. He was on air for more than two decades, giving him strong name ID and high favorables in the state’s largest city. His first foray into politics was in 2020, when he ran an uphill campaign for the Senate against Democrat Ben Ray Lujan. However, Ronchetti turned in a stronger-than-expected performance, coming within six points of the now-senator and outpacing President Trump on the ballot by about 16,500 votes.

Ronchetti didn’t qualify for the ballot at the GOP convention, which isn’t unusual – he also fell short in 2020 for Senate – and said he never intended to go that route

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