U.S. Rep. Grisham the first to jump into 2018 governor’s race

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U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., announced Tuesday that she’s running for governor in 2018 with a focus on combating the state’s high poverty and other problems.

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Courtesy photo

Michelle Lujan Grisham

“We won’t solve our problems overnight. It’s why this is a beginning,” Grisham says in a campaign video posted online. “But for the last six years, with a governor who refused to acknowledge the problems even exist, we haven’t been able to solve anything.”

Grisham referred to the state’s high unemployment, poverty, and drug addiction rates; “struggling schools;” and “seniors and families who are afraid for their safety and feel left being by the failed policies of the last six years” — a reference to the tenure of current Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican who is term-limited from running again in 2018.

“When it comes to standing up for people who are being hurt or taken advantage of, I’ll never stop fighting, and I never give up,” Grisham says in the video.

The Democratic primary race for governor could be crowded. Others who say they’re considering joining the race include N.M. Attorney General Hector Balderas, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, state Rep. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces, and Alan Webber — who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014 and today runs the think tank One New Mexico.

Grisham’s early entry into the governor’s race could be an attempt to discourage other Democrats from running. It also sets up a potentially hot battle for Grisham’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.

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Although there’s a noteworthy sentence at the bottom of Grisham’s gubernatorial campaign website: “Contributions to Michelle for New Mexico will support Congresswoman Lujan Grisham’s exploration of candidacy for New Mexico Governor and will not be used to support any other effort, including her potential bid for re-election to the First Congressional District of New Mexico,” it states.

Grisham has represented the Albuquerque-area First Congressional District in the U.S. House since 2013. Before that she was a Bernalillo County commissioner. She has also served as a cabinet secretary under three past New Mexico governors.

On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry are mentioned as possible 2018 candidates for governor.

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