Alan Webber, the Santa Fe entrepreneur who co-founded Fast Company magazine and who ran for governor in 2014, on Thursday became the latest potential rival to instead endorse Democrat U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham for governor.
Webber’s endorsement, announced by Lujan Grisham’s campaign, came about two weeks after state Attorney General Hector Balderas — who had been considering running for governor — endorsed the congresswoman from Albuquerque in her bid to succeed Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
Webber described Lujan Grisham as “a leader with vision and purpose and a record of getting things done for New Mexico’s families” and “a person of energy, integrity and grit.”
His support not only adds another well-known Democrat to Lujan Grisham’s growing list of endorsements; Webber could help her in winning support from the progressive wing of the party.
Other Democrats seeking the party’s nomination are state Sen. Joe Cervantes of Las Cruces, businessman Jeff Apodaca and alcohol-abuse counselor Peter DeBenedittis.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce of Hobbs is the only Republican in the race so far. After Pearce announced his candidacy this week, two other Republicans who had been considering running for governor — Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and state Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn — said they were supporting Pearce.
Martinez cannot seek a third consecutive four-year term.
In a statement Thursday, Webber took a jab at Martinez, saying, “Four years ago I ran for governor because our state needed jobs and our people needed work. … Instead, last election we ended up with four more years with no vision, no leadership, no new ideas and no positive agenda for our state. Things went from bad to worse.”
Lujan Grisham welcomed the endorsement, saying in a statement, “We don’t have to look outside of our state to create economic opportunities — we need to invest in the potential we have right in front of us. Alan understands that and I look forward to working with him and entrepreneurs across the state that are ready to turn our state’s potential for economic success into a reality.”
Until recent weeks, Webber frequently was mentioned as a possible Democratic contender in the governor’s race. Around the first of the year, he created a nonprofit organization called One New Mexico. In the early days of this year’s legislative session, Webber could be seen in the Capitol passing out a booklet from One New Mexico titled “How We Make a Better New Mexico.”
Webber made his first try for elected office in 2014 and did well for someone who seemingly came out of nowhere. Appealing to progressive Democrats and to more liberal members of the business community, Webber came in second to Gary King in the crowded Democratic primary. He beat King by a 2-1 ratio in Santa Fe County, which is King’s home county. King went on to lose to Martinez in the general election.
Lujan Grisham, who announced her candidacy well before anyone else, has tried to establish an air of inevitability in her campaign for the Democratic nomination. She raised nearly $900,000 for her campaign by the end of March. She won an early endorsement from former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman and has racked up support from various labor unions.