Garrey Carruthers would seem to have clout. He says he doesn’t.
A former Republican governor of New Mexico and retired chancellor of New Mexico State University, Carruthers is a charismatic personality who’s sidelined himself politically.
He isn’t helping any candidate in the fall campaign. At 83, Carruthers says most people outside of Las Cruces don’t know who he is.
Even if Carruthers took an active role in one race or another, he doesn’t believe he could influence voters.
“Endorsements aren’t worth the powder to blow them away,” he said Thursday in a phone conversation.
Maybe he’s right. The country’s most relentless endorser, former President Donald Trump, backed onetime Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a special election for Congress. Palin lost to Democrat Mary Peltola for Alaska’s lone seat in the House of Representatives.
They will again compete against one another in the November general election, as Palin’s comeback tour drags on.
The late Sen. John McCain’s worst decision was choosing Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election. Palin stumbled through the campaign, the butt of jokes for her thin understanding of both history and current events. Palin later befriended Trump, who declared she would be a fine congresswoman.
Palin’s upset defeat in the special election might signal the start of a losing streak for Trump and candidates who embrace him.
Trump’s choice for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania is surgeon Mehmet Oz, a television personality. No wizard, this Oz has a mean streak.
His opponent, Democrat John Fetterman, is recovering from a stroke. Oz proposed a public debate in which he would pay for any medical attention Fetterman might need during the event.
Polls show Fetterman leading, but his cushion has dwindled from double digits to a few percentage points. Averse to compassionate Republicanism, Oz and his crew continue belittling Fetterman. One aide to Oz told Business Insider Fetterman might not have had a stroke if he “had ever eaten a vegetable in his life.”
Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, is Trump’s Senate candidate in Georgia. Palin seems like a Jeopardy! champion compared to Walker.
Football glories are Walker’s main talking point. There’s no smoothness in his game as a 60-year-old politician. Still, Walker is in a close race with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Trump lost Georgia in his failed 2020 reelection campaign. He later made a brazen phone call to Georgia election officials, encouraging them to switch thousands of votes in his favor. If Trump’s maneuver wasn’t a crime, it should be.
Warnock in January 2021 defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, an incumbent by appointment. Trump and Walker are just the tag team to help Warnock pick up undecided voters in the campaign’s final two months.
Arizona is another state Trump lost in 2020. He’s endorsed candidates in two of its high-profile races.
Kari Lake, formerly a television anchor, is the Trump-backed nominee for Arizona’s open governor’s seat. Lake won’t shrink from her ties to Trump, no matter how many voters denounce the former president for encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Arizona’s Republican Senate candidate, businessman and author Blake Masters, fears a backlash. He has retreated from his published claims that Trump was cheated of victory in 2020. Masters faces Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut with an edge in the polls.
Ohio turned ruby red after Democrat Barack Obama carried it in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. This year might be different, as the state’s Trump-backed Senate candidate, J.D. Vance, is in a tough race.
Vance is a graduate of Yale Law School and author of Hillbilly Elegy, a best-selling memoir about his upbringing in drug-ridden rural Ohio.
Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, another product of Ohio’s Rust Belt, looks like a formidable opponent. Ryan has even led Vance in some of polls. Trump, never known for logic, once referred to Ryan as “weak but dangerous.”
Carruthers, governor of New Mexico from 1987-91, remains a popular figure in the southern part of the state. Despite his protestations, Carruthers could influence the November election, especially in Las Cruces.
That New Mexico city is part of the El Paso television market. Its viewers didn’t watch Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti during his two decades as a New Mexico TV weatherman.
Carruthers said he’s spoken with Ronchetti a couple of times, but the former governor doesn’t get involved in campaigns anymore. “Nobody knows who I am,” Carruthers said.
Trump has the opposite problem, and that’s fine with the Democrats. Their side needs him.