2022 Governor's Race

Ronchetti Snubs Party, Chairman Pearce Returns the Favor

Republican gubernatorial candidate and former weatherman Mark Ronchetti went on the attack at the pre-primary convention last Saturday — but his target wasn’t MLG; it was the GOP.

He called the nominating process “backbiting and backstabbing” with “cheap-shot cowards” who need to “grow up.” In a post-convention press release he said the convention “descended into chaos” and excluded people. “We need to do better,” he chided.

In the days that followed, the party took its shot.

On the GOP’s weekly podcast “Inside New Mexico,” chair Steve Pearce didn’t even mention Ronchetti. While Derek Underhill did acknowledge Ronchetti as a candidate, it was brief, unflattering, and followed segments of every other gubernatorial candidate’s convention speech.

@NewMexicoGOP Twitter Page Snubs Mark Ronchetti

“Mark Ronchetti only got 110 votes (16%), but he is on the ballot because he has a sufficient number of signatures as required by the secretary of state,” Underhilll said before going to commercial.

Ronchetti’s speech was not featured in the podcast.

As if the message wasn’t clear, the Republican Party of New Mexico’s Twitter page Monday posted individual videos of each of the candidates along with links to their websites where New Mexicans can “learn more” about the candidates.

Ronchetti again was snubbed.

Playing Politics

Whatever bad blood exists between Ronchetti and the party, the division may not be all bad news for Ronchetti — at least not in the general election.

If there’s anything Democrats hate more than Donald Trump specifically, it’s Republicans generally. Being “anti-GOP” may be a good strategy for a general election candidate in a deep blue state. 

But that ignores the primary, which is closed (meaning only registered Republicans can cast ballots). Ronchetti’s claim of raising $1.2 million in fundraising no doubt gives him a sense of financial independence, but it’s a questionable strategy to flip off the GOP when it is GOP voters who will nominate the party’s representative this June.

Ronchetti knew going into the convention that he didn’t have the delegate support to win — he took fourth place — so he went on the attack and released his delegates, telling them to support other candidates under the guise of inclusivity.

“We have friends in this room who aren’t speaking to each other because they find themselves on the other side,” he said.

Rather than making the case for why he is the best candidate to represent the Republican party, Ronchetti attacked the system. 

But there are no friends in politics. Like in sports, you can be blood brothers off the field, but in the hour of competition, there are no rules. Ronchetti chose to fight the referees rather than his challengers, and he ended up losing to both.

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