Amid growing speculation TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti will seek the Republican nomination for governor, attorneys for the Democratic Governors Association have fired a warning shot at his employer.

“Any time spent by Mr. Ronchetti on your station’s airwaves will become subject to the equal opportunity provisions of federal communications law should he decide to run for Governor of New Mexico,” attorneys with the Washington, D.C.-based Elias Law Group recently wrote in a letter to Bill Anderson, KRQE-TV’s president and general manager.

“We expect his opponents will zealously enforce their rights to the equal use of your broadcast facilities,” they wrote.

The equal opportunity provisions would be a factor only if Ronchetti becomes a “legally qualified candidate.” At this point, Ronchetti hasn’t even said whether he’s considering running.

A day before he announced his bid for the U.S. Senate in January 2020, Ronchetti stepped down from his position as KRQE’s chief meteorologist. The married father of two returned to his TV gig at the beginning of the year after he narrowly lost the race to Democrat Ben Ray Luján.

Though Ronchetti hasn’t revealed his intentions, Republican insiders say he’s considering a gubernatorial run.

Ronchetti has statewide name recognition, unlike the seven Republicans who already have announced their intention to seek the nomination, and proved his fundraising prowess when he ran for the Senate. A political science professor at the University of New Mexico said last month Ronchetti would be the front-runner if he threw his name into the ring.

In a statement Thursday, Ronchetti accused Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who chairs the Democratic Governors Association, of utilizing the organization’s lawyers to harass him and his family, which he wrote “has to stop.”

“The Governor’s thinly veiled efforts at intimidation are completely out of line,” he wrote. “I have not commented on political issues or done anything of a political nature since the end of the Senate campaign. No private citizen of this state deserves to have the Governor attack their livelihood.”

Kendall Witmer, a spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham’s campaign, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Ronchetti’s statement.

Ronchetti did not address whether he was considering a gubernatorial run.

The letter to Anderson states that “credible reporting” indicates he will announce his candidacy for governor soon.

“Television personalities like Mr. Ronchetti have delayed a run for office in the past in order to maximize their television exposure and promote themselves to voters for free,” the letter states. “We urge KRQE to take appropriate steps to ensure that this does not happen here.”

Anderson did not return messages seeking comment.

Christina Amestoy, senior communications director for the Democratic Governors Association, declined a telephone interview but provided an emailed statement.

“This letter is simply a request that Mark Ronchetti and his employers respect and follow the law,” she wrote. “As he holds meetings to discuss his possible run for governor, Ronchetti needs to know that he cannot use his very public position to bend the rules to advance his political career. New Mexico voters expect and deserve better.”

Jonathan S. Berkon, one of the attorneys who signed the letter to Ronchetti’s boss, did not return a message seeking comment. The letter states the lawyers “continue to closely monitor the situation” to ensure Federal Communications Commission rules are followed.

The Republican Governors Association, which is working to prevent Lujan Grisham from winning a second four-year term in November 2022, contends the letter to KRQE, the second involving Ronchetti since January, shows the governor is in “deep trouble” with voters.

“Instead of trying to get the local weatherman fired, DGA chair Lujan Grisham should focus her efforts on not getting involved in any more sex scandals that would definitely result in an immediate dismissal from any job,” association spokesman Will Reinert said in a statement, referring to allegations Lujan Grisham grabbed the crotch of a former campaign staffer who has been paid $62,500 so far to settle the salacious claim.

“Lujan Grisham’s candidacy is already doomed, and this latest act is an obvious sign of how vulnerable her allies think she is,” Reinert said.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(48) comments

Virginia Vigil

Oh F@%#s sake I hope not! There has to be somebody in the Republican party that has a brain.

Dottie Butler

Ronchetti has no chance of being elected governor.

The notion that he would be the frontrunner in a Republican Party primary is a testament to how impotent and pathetic the Republican Party is in New Mexico.

I hope he does run. I didn't think he could go any lower than he did in the recent Senate campaign, but I'm sure he will lower himself to the occasion if he runs for governor.

If he is breaking campaign laws I expect him to be prosecuted and for KRQE held legally accountable as well.

They would demand the same if the shoe were on the other foot.

Mike Andredi

Even a Republican weather person would be better than any Democrat in this state... I love how all the woke liberals who cry tolerance and acceptance use the term "weather-MAN" lol. Thats rich. If you keep voting for the same group of people (Democrats), you will continue to get the same results... New Mexico being at the bottom of everything good and at the top of everything bad. You cant argue with the statistics, and there are 2 decades of statistics showing you are going to keep getting the same results with the same type of people... don't complain about things then vote for the same people with the same mentality. Now to be fair, New Mexico attracts new liberals from other liberal cities who then vote without understanding the issues NM faces, which helps keep NM locked in a cycle of Democrat failure. If want NM to change, then quit voting for the same group of people. Its a concept even a 3rd grader can understand...

Jim Klukkert

Mike Andredi- "You can't [sic]argue with the statistics," yet you post no statistics. You allude to facts that you never present. You rant and you rave, but no effort to persuade. You call our nationally elected, legal leadership names, as if that is convincing.

Mike Andredi, your partisan driven anger is an embarassment to these comment pages.

Emily Koyama

Do you really need someone to provide you with the "statistics" to convince you that New Mexico is at or near the top of every bad list, and at or near the bottom of every good list? And this is with Democrats largely controlling the State for 80 years....it's on the news in one form or another every day.

Mr Andredi is correct about constantly electing Democrats in New Mexico- it's insane.

Jim Klukkert

Koyama- when folks post partisan rants, I think it good that they have some factual basis to their angry claims. Is that not a rational expectation.

As to who to elect in NM, or anywhere else, Republicans need not apply until they renounce Insurrection, Voter Suppression and Trump. Anything else is insane.

Case closed.

LeRoy Sanchez

👍

paul pacheco

Well said.........!

Bob Res

Why does MLG have to get High-priced lawyers out of D.C.?

I would guess there are some excellent lawyers right here in little oil’ New Mexico!

Of course, when many of your waking moments center around how to get to D.C., throwing business to those sophisticated folks makes more sense then using the runes from the desert!

——- Bob Res

Richard Reinders

MLG isn’t calling the shot her out of state bosses are and probably paying the legal fees, which might be a campaign contribution?

paul pacheco

The guy’s a weatherman, for God’s sake! The left, liberal, democrats are so scared of the thought of losing power, they have some of the same traits as the Capone gang of the 1920’s! High-priced lawyers coming out of D.C. to enforce FCC rules? Get real! That’s the signal and another reason to vote MLG out! Sure, FCC rules are set in place to protect us all but Mr. Ronchetti is a professional, a family man, with political aspirations to better all the citizens of the great state of New Mexico! It’s the democrats who are always trying to find their opponents doing wrong when all they have to do is look in the mirror! IF….Ronchetti decides to run for governor, he’s got our vote!

Robert Fields

Let me check my secret communiqués and instructions from MLG… Hold on… Aw darn. Still nothing. That’s a puzzle and kind of refutes your claim we’re all drones following MLG’s orders. Not that you’d believe it, though.

Ronchetti made his intentions crystal clear in 2020. He’ll follow a dictator if it gets him the power he wants and is happy to do Trump’s bidding. The only person tied closer to Trump might be Stormy Daniels.

What will be interesting will be how Ronchetti walks the line on vaccinations. Trump is already claiming Biden is why the fringe right is vaccine hesitant but over and over now, republicans get booed when they encourage vaccinations. Even Trump. The fringe right is still stuck in first gear. Mainstream GOP are vaccinated and Ronchetti will need both groups to win.

So Ronchetti will likely advocate personal freedom and eliminating all mandates just like how has worked so well in red states like Florida and Texas - which have each surpassed the entire US death toll in Vietnam. Two Vietnams. Two states.

Ronchetti will toe the GOP line of vote suppression, graft, greed, and covid denial. That benefits a handful of New Mexicans, and impoverishes, disenfranchises, and even kills the rest.

Ronchetti may get your vote but he won’t get mine. It will be to New Mexico’s lasting embarrassment and detriment if that opportunist somehow finds his way into the governor’s office and we get our own version of DeSantis or Abbott. Both of those guys have each killed more of their own residents than a major war. Who looks at those guys and says give me some of that? Besides you, I mean.

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup]

LeRoy Sanchez

Ronchetti needs to start from scratch. Run for NM House or Senate first. He can’t like #45, go from 0-60! I’m a Dem and wouldn’t be voting for him, but I feel people need to work from the bottom up and show their worth.

Peter Romero

When your state is last in everything good, we can only go up with a different person as governor.

Robert Fields

Just like how things got sooo much better with Trump…

Bob Res

WTF does Trump have to do with NM????

As the post said, NM is last, or close to it, in everything good. Common sense would say we can do better, yes? When you’re this bad, coin flips and dart throwing might be a better answer.

—— Bob Res

Jim Klukkert

Bob Res- WTF does Trump have to do with NM? Well as the R leadership and any candidates are Trumpeteers, hence liars, traitors and shysters, Trump has to plenty to do with NM.

New Mexico voters would, rather correctly, suffer the current Democratic Party, than endure any more fascist horse potatoes from Trumpeteers.

Looking forward to seeing Bannon in jail. After that....

Robert Fields

What does Trump have to do with NM? You missed the point, Bob. Peter Romero was saying vote for anyone for an improvement. That was also republicans’ argument with Trump and Trump’s own argument to vote for Trump. “What do you have to lose?”, he asked voters.

Turns out we had a lot to lose including government integrity and even democracy. His family turned the government into a feeding trough for corruption.

So if anyone asks what you have to lose, remember it could be everything especially if you elect a criminal while you’re looking for some kind of change. Even well-meaning incompetents are generally better than opportunists looking to seize power and establish themselves as a de facto dictator. Not saying that’s what Ronchetti is. But he was sure happy to be everything Trump. Kind of a Mini Me to Trump and likely just as dangerous. He certainly didn’t exhibit any kind of good decision making or critical thinking by tying himself to Trump.

Instead of voting for someone different just because they say they are different, try looking critically at the choices and deciding for yourself instead of just some knee jerk choice. Last time we did that we nearly lost our country.

LeRoy Sanchez

No to Ronchetti. No experience in politics.

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

LeRoy Sanchez

You’re so wrong.

Emily Koyama

Replying to your "No to Ronchetti, no experience in politics" comment....you do realize, it is "politicians" (mostly Democrat) that have put New Mexico at the bottom for decades. You DO know that, right?.

Jim Klukkert

Koyama always has a simple answer for the complex questions that face us today:

"Blame the Dems!"

Such simplicity, a real comfort for simpletons.

Thanks, Emmy!

Joseph Tafoya

It appears that Mark Ronchetti is the new Democrat boogieman. He must be demonized, destroyed, and driven from the political scene. This is what Democrats do. They cannot win the argument so they pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.) Right out of the Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” playbook.

Robert Fields

You must have missed all of Ronchetti’s boot licking ads when he was running for senate. He himself tied himself to Trump. Trump tried to seize power and overthrow a legitimate election. We can’t help you if that doesn’t ring alarm bells. It really should.

Lynn k Allen

👍

Jim Klukkert

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

LeRoy Sanchez

👍

LeRoy Sanchez

He’s not qualified for any office yet. He should first run for ABQ city council. Work his way up.

Robert Fields

Ronchetti made his Trump boot licking painfully clear during his senate run. He is a willing and eager pawn of a want-to-be dictator and apparently is ready to prostrate himself again however is required to get his own hand in power. There’s no doubt that once/if Trump announces a 2024 run, Ronchetti will be back kissing as much Trump hiney is necessary to get votes. That Ronchetti tied himself so strongly to Trump is all anyone needs to know about him especially now that all the ways Trump tried to steal the election, seize power, and fomented an insurrection are clear.

It’s supposed to be a government by the people and for the people and that includes even TV personalities, but Ronchetti tied himself to Trump like Herrell, Griffin, and members of the Floyd school board. That is the overarching thing for voters to remember. Anyone who tied themselves that disgustingly close to someone who came within arms reach of overthrowing the US government ought to be shunned and ignored.

I prefer politicians who don’t support insurrectionists and would-be dictators.

Lynn k Allen

Thumbs 👍

LeRoy Sanchez

👍

Floyd Cable

Ronchetti danced the dance last time - resigning the post the day before he formally became a candidate, to maximize air exposure. Expect him to do the same this year if he runs. And as he did for his Senate run, expect him to mouth Trumpist talking points, while avoiding saying Trump's name. And if he were to lose, expect KRQE to hire him right back, just as was the case after he lost the Senate race. The only good thing I recall about Ronchetti's Senate run, is that I don't think he blamed his loss on fraud, as did Yvette Herrell when she lost the 2018 race. Expect Ronchetti to support the GOP's voting "reforms" which are all about the suppression of non-GOP votes. Ronchetti is fine as a weatherman - in the best interests of New Mexico, that's where he should stay.

Angel Ortiz

Total non-issue here. No one even watches Ronchetti and the news from KRQE!

Russell Scanlon

In Ronchetti’s case, nightly exposure only confirms the fact that he is a witless tool. In other words a perfect GOP candidate.

LeRoy Sanchez

👍

Charles W Rodriguez

I can't imagine a worse candidate for hub than raunchetti. He's a typical republican disaster.

LeRoy Sanchez

👍

Kirk Holmes

Apparently the DGA has retained services from the law firm Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe.

John Cook

Only the Republicans would think that enforcing federal election law is cheating and intimidating.

Edwina Gardner

Isn't that the truth. The rules are for others....not them.

Sabine Strohem

@johnn Cook exactly! Enforcing laws set to protect is apparently cheating.

Barry Rabkin

Right ! We watch KRQE every evening. I can't understand why Mark uses his time spouting off on political issues instead of what he is supposed to do: telling us the weather. Oh wait, he only delivers his weather forecast. Perhaps if he was discussing politics, the Democrats would have a logical argument.

Tim Herrera

👍

Robert Fields

Face time is face time, Barry. He has makeup, lighting, and teeth whitening to appeal to those who only care about the window dressing and nothing about the substance. You know - republicans.

Robert Fields

This. So very much this. Thanks for pointing it out, John. [thumbup]

Paul Branch

Yes, scream the loudest while ignoring that Elias was the attorney most responsible for the blanket defeat of the Kracken lawsuits around the nation, and standing up to Trump’s blatant treason and fraud. Elias helped save democracy but the idiots just need to emote. Wish they’d get therapy.

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