A Republican member of the state House of Representatives is considering a run for governor in 2022.
“I’m not saying yes, and I’m not saying no,” Rep. Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences said Wednesday.
“I do think New Mexico trusts women in leadership roles, and they have demonstrated that with the last two governors they’ve elected and the number of women they’ve elected to the House,” she said.
“I am not ruling out exploring the idea.”
Dow, 47, said she will not make a decision until after this year’s 60-day legislative session, which is slated to begin Jan. 19.
“I’m focused on the 60-day session,” she said. “But I see some need for strong leadership at the state level with a comprehensive approach to COVID and COVID-related recovery — economic, education.”
Dow, who calls herself a “compassionate conservative,” was born in Cushing, Okla., but moved to Truth or Consequences when she was in fifth grade. She has lived there ever since.
She won her District 38 House seat in the 2016 election and took office the following year.
She was reelected last year in a campaign against Democrat Karen Whitlock.
Whitlock filed a complaint with the New Mexico State Ethics Commission, accusing Dow of violating conflict-of-interest and financial disclosure rules in seeking state grants for the nonprofit AppleTree Educational Center.
Dow founded the faith-based early childhood education center more than 20 years ago.
Dow said the charges were “false and baseless” because she did not run or own AppleTree but merely wrote grants for it.
Though the commission did not make its findings public, Dow’s lawyer, Pat Rogers, shared a letter he received from the commission with The New Mexican in October, saying all but one of the allegations had been dropped by the commission.
The one outstanding charge, according to the letter, referred to a July 1, 2019, Children, Youth and Families Department letter notifying AppleTree of a department grant coming its way. But the letter said that because the contracts signed for that award occurred before July 1, the complaint “likely” would be dismissed.
Late last year, Dow questioned an internal Children, Youth and Families Department memo saying the number of pending cases involving at-risk children was dropping.
She said she was concerned the drop in reports during the pandemic did not equate to a drop in situations where children were in danger of abuse or neglect.
Dow and her husband, Aaron, have two adult children, Seth and Jaylah. Dow said she has talked with her family members about her possible run.
“We deeply love New Mexico and are concerned about where we might be as a state as we come out of COVID,” she said.
“I haven’t made a decision — it’s definitely exploratory,” she said.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat midway through her first term, said in December she plans to seek reelection.