ALBUQUERQUE — A raucous group of protesters yelling and screaming into megaphones outside the Albuquerque Museum’s outdoor amphitheater disrupted Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s formal announcement Thursday that she’s running for a second term in 2022, forcing the governor to cut her speech short and the event to end early.

Lujan Grisham, who took the stage to chants of “MLG!” from her supporters as she pumped her fist in the air, immediately made light of the situation.

“I know it’s going to be loud, and I just have to say I’m sorry that we picked the same location that the QAnon lizard people meeting was at,” she said, laughing.

“In spite of that,” she added, referring to the boisterous crowd of protesters, “I’m running for reelection for another four years. … We’re going to do what we do best. We’re going to protect New Mexico, and no amount of noise will deter, intimidate or create a vacuum in leadership that makes a difference for every single New Mexican this day and every day. Can’t be done. Can’t be done.”

Though Lujan Grisham had indicated in December she would seek another four-year term, she made it official during Thursday’s kickoff event, which drew dozens of noisy protesters, several of whom were holding homemade signs disparaging the governor. The crowd also included anti-vaccine activists. The group screamed, yelled, booed, chanted, shouted and created a steady stream of noise with megaphones and what sounded like police sirens.

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A woman who identified herself as Natalie with Liberty Ladies Unite holds up a petition to recall Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for malfeasance. Protesters gathered outside the Albuquerque Museum before the governor’s event to announce her plans to run for a second term.

Leanna Derrick, a retired Albuquerque Public Schools teacher, said she helped organize the protest through social media.

“She put out her own advertisement saying she’s going to talk about her fine accomplishments and all the good things she’s done for New Mexico, and we are standing together because we disagree,” she said, referring to the governor. “We believe she was a mistake for New Mexico.”

Derrick described the group of protesters as “constitutionalist New Mexicans.”

“Our Constitution has been marched all over because the World Health Organization and the pandemic has used emergency guidelines that overran our Constitution,” she said. “We want our constitutional rights back.”

John Ramacciotti, a gun-toting 35-year-old intensive care unit nurse who was wearing a black-and-white T-shirt emblazoned with “FU MLG” on the front, said the group represented people from “all walks of life.”

“You have every type of race and religion and creed and different socioeconomic classes here,” he said. “These are people that all feel strongly that MLG has done a terrible job at running this state.”

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Protesters wave signs while shouting and chanting into megaphones Thursday during the presentations at Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign event at the Albuquerque Museum. Taking the stage, the governor immediately made light of the situation. ‘I know it’s going to be loud, and I just have to say I’m sorry that we picked the same location that the QAnon lizard people meeting was at,’ she said, laughing.

Ramacciotti said the governor’s public health orders, which included business shutdowns and remote learning for schoolchildren, hurt scores of New Mexicans.

“She’s being praised by [President] Biden for being one of the best people for locking down this country, and she’s being applauded for that, but we actually see that as tyranny because she actually forced people to not be able to work,” he said. “I feel like she really has hurt our people, our kids.”

Despite the commotion, Kendall Witmer, Lujan Grisham’s campaign spokeswoman, she the governor accomplished what she set out to do: announce her reelection bid.

“The governor certainly made the shortest speech she’s ever going to make,” she said, adding that Lujan Grisham cut her speech short because she didn’t want “our ears blown out” from the protest.

“But she made her point, and it’s that she’s delivering for New Mexico. She’s focused on New Mexico, and she is running for reelection off of an incredibly successful tenure,” she said. “The governor is going to continue to lead in a compassionate and science-driven way, and we certainly will continue to reach out to every New Mexican.”

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Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham looks out over an audience cheering and waving signs at an event Thursday at the Albuquerque Museum to formally announce her reelection bid.

The governor’s compassion is among the reasons Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, supports Lujan Grisham’s reelection.

“Having been an openly queer person in New Mexico since I was 16 years old, I have never experienced the level of compassion, the level of drive, the level of ferocity to protect queer and trans people that we’ve had under this administration,” he said.

The event drew a who’s who of New Mexico Democrats, including Lt. Gov. Howie Morales, U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, Congresswoman-elect Melanie Stansbury, state House Speaker Brian Egolf, state Senate President Pro Tem Mimi Stewart, state Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth and State Auditor Brian Colón.

“I think she can make a very strong case that she has led in the most difficult time in our 109-year-old history,” Colón said. “She’s got a track record of success, and she’s celebrated coast to coast as having been a leader when it came to addressing the issues that were presented in New Mexico because of the pandemic.”

Colón said the governor also has “already started turning the corner” on economic development, job creation and how New Mexico will move forward after the pandemic.

“For me, her leadership has been clear, and we hope to have that continuing in New Mexico the next 51/2 years,” he said.

Before the governor took the stage, Jessica Velasquez, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, told the crowd of supporters that Democrats were off to a good start with Stansbury’s “landslide victory” Tuesday in the special election for the 1st Congressional District.

“This is just the beginning,” Velasquez said. “We know that with determination and hard work, we can and will continue to elect Democratic leaders up and down the ballot in every corner of New Mexico, and that begins with our powerhouse candidate at the top of the ticket in 2022: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.”

Stansbury, Leger Fernández and other high-profile Democrats also took the stage, but they, too, were at times drowned out by the noise on the other side of the wall, forcing them to yell into the microphone.

“Obey your master!” a man screamed into a megaphone at the top of his lungs when Velasquez was addressing the crowd. “Give her a standing ovation, you sheep! Obey your master! Obey!”

“I used to be an eighth grade school teacher; I’m having flashbacks,” Velasquez joked. “Although I have to say, my classroom was much calmer and much more respectful.”

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(62) comments

mark Coble

Glad she and AG Balderas have arrested so many high profile drug lords and put them in jail. Oh, wait, nope, didn't happen. Yes, small fry caught but no big time dealers. Why is that I wonder? U.S. Marshals ? Once in a while they arrest those already under a warrant, that's about it. NO big arrests from them either, why??

Jim Klukkert

Wow, nark Coble, 7 comments in 8 minutes. No wonder your comments are unintelligible!

Slow down nark, it's a beautiful day, and the sun is shining. Albeit through the haze of global climate change and meltdown, but such beautiful sunsets the Apocalypse brings us!

Lucille Armijo

Does anyone find it odd that all of the complaints on this page are from men? I just have to laugh. Men seem to have a hard time with a strong woman who knows what she wants and gets the job done. However, if it was a man doing the things that MLG has done it would a much different rhetoric.

Thank you MLG, for keeping my loved ones and I safe during the last 15 months.

Russell Scanlon

[thumbup]

mark Coble

Hmmm...that's sexist! Cancel!

Jim Klukkert

nark Cobel, to cancel your subscription, you need to place a call to Circulation at (505) 986-3010.

Your welcome, narc

Red Eagle

Looking for a candidate who will rise above the petty name calling and vicious attacks. Perhaps someone who doesn’t affiliate with a “party” and who actually puts the safety and welfare of New Mexicans in front of their own could step forward, that would lead to a positive change and show the rest of the country how it really can be done! MLG doesn’t meet any of those criteria and she has shown us many times in the last year, not in the way she handled the pandemic but in the way she acted as if the rules did not apply to her. Too many examples to list here, but let’s not forget.

Tim Herrera

Michelle Lujan Grisham is the female version of Bill Richardson. You remember the guy that used our tax money and our State to gain notoriety to try and advance his political goals, polluted State Government with his exempt political flunkies, is partly responsible for Senator Ben Ray Lujan and who, if hadn’t been for a little play to pay scandal would have been in the Obama administration. He too that enjoyed his liquor and wagyu beef. Come to think of it, she worked for this crooked man and continues to employ many of these practices in the Governors Office. She fooled those that voted for her once, don’t let her do this to you twice.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Mark Ortiz

On the nose Tim. This BS prompted me to vote for Susanna "the 1st" time. But, I'm no novice, whatever candidate Steve Pearce pulls out of his arse, I will not be voting for. In the end, I'll hold my nose and vote. It won't be my first or last time and for that, I am so sad and fed up.

Carolyn DM

Great comeback to the Quidiots, MLG!! Thankfully there are more smart people with integrity in this state than there are brainwashed fools!!

Bill Becher

I reread the Constitution and can't find anything about a right to infect your fellow citizens with a deadly disease.

Dan Lewis

Right on!

Barry Rabkin

True. Moreover, the US Constitution legally provides for each State to manage public health emergencies according to the State’s constitution and laws. Thank you, Governor Grisham for prioritizing human life over commerce.

Emelda Martinez

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Vince Czarnowski

I am curious as to how many of those protesters were people who voted for her in the last election? It wouldn't surprise me if there were quite a few. Remember, you get the government you voted for.

Joe Preston

You go, girl.

Mike Johnson

MLG needs to get used to these kind of protests. She has created a level of visceral hate and loathing I have not seen in NM politics before. Her actions have been unprecedented in NM history over the last year, and some of the people will not stay silent and acquiesce to her authority and have no respect for her at all. We live in a new political theatre.

Stefanie Beninato

It is the other guy who used to occupy the WH and the GOP who have created this level of hate and fear. As for Ms Derrick--she sounds like an anti-science person who has been given a new lease on life to protest violations of whatever she personally finds offensive--let the facts be d**ned.

Khal Spencer

This visceral hate has been building for a long time (recall Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich in the '90s?). It feeds on itself and gets worse. The silly young man who flew the drone with the male sex toy at Sheriff Gonzales and then got into a brawl when he wanted his drone back ain't much better. Its all pretty immature.

I had a friend who worked with state government and could not stand Gov. Lujan Grisham, saying she was arrogant and vindictive. I've no interactions with MLG so cannot say.

I'd hate to be a governor these days. Its a job that requires a think skin and a strong stomach. Kinda like a lizard...

Mike Johnson

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Khal Spencer

"thick skin"

Russell Scanlon

She has created the hate? By being a Democrat and a woman? What has she done to offend thee so much?

Dan Lewis

Plus trying to save our lives. That's right wing gratitude for you.

mark Coble

We can all be safe in our own little jails. Freedom? NO! Safety first!

mark Coble

Dead small businesses while her government as grown?

rodney carswell

How are her actions unprecedented when every other governor instituted a version of the same thing? Although you recently, in another comment, unironically decried "divisiveness in politics", here you are practicing it; I think you experience "hate and loathing" viscerally because it is you who are doing it, kind of daily, here in the peanut gallery.

Khal Spencer

KUNM covered the dustup at the Governor's rally this morning, saying part of the animosity was due to MLG putting out one of the most restrictive emergency orders in the fifty states. I am sure that rankled some. What rankled me is that our toothless legislature never put in a sunset clause on emergency orders, subject to renewal by a legislative vote. I don't blame MLG for that. I blame whoever voted for the bill giving a governor so much unlimited power.

Barry Rabkin

I remain thankful that the NM could not stop her PHOs. I prefer prioritizing human life over commerce during a time period of a highly infectious deadly virus cascading through societies around the world.

Khal Spencer

Barry, if you like authoritarianism rather than shared government decision making, that's up to you.

Tim Herrera

👍👍

Dan Lewis

Nonsense, that is overflow from the hate filled regime of the orange maggot and his Jan.6 insurgents.

Lupe Molina

You are predictable as clockwork, Mike!

Mike Johnson

What Lupe, no personal attacks, name-calling, and insults from you this time?

J. Beatty

Ms. Derrick's Facebook page is full of hateful rhetoric and rage. She is a retired schoolteacher who presents herself as a patriot, but apparently takes exception with the First Amendment. She also opposes vaccinations and masking, and holds raucous protests at COVID vaccination sites, ostensibly to stop people from getting vaccinated. Her Facebook page has a good deal of misinformation on vaccines, ostensibly because she hasn't done enough -- or any -- research.

Dan Lewis

Her students probably grew up and headed off to DC on Jan. 6th.

Prince Michael Jauregui

The Santa Fe New Mexican's Headline: "Lizard People Meets Octopus Woman!"

Seriously, with the "leadership" of both Political-parties on local, state and federal levels, this country is toast. Burnt.

Psalms 20-21 in 2021.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]

rodney carswell

run for office; fix it if you can.

James Morris

The fact that no one posting comments about this story can say anything reasonable, courteous, or insightful says a lot about the state of politics. What will it take to persuade people to end their vitriolic personal attacks and focus on policy?

Alexandra Lynch

Thank you, Mr. Morris, for your courteous and thoughtful comment. I am so weary of people shouting at each other. We need to do better.

Dan Lewis

Most New Mexican are grateful that under MLG's leadership, New Mexico has been one of the leaders in effectively fighting against the covid pandemic.. Look it up. Just because some vocal kumquats, inspired by mango-head, don't want to act responsibly doesn't negate that fact.

Richard Reinders

Who knows who the protestors were , a lot of Democrats are unhappy with MLG they don't like being ripped off with Booze and Wagyu beef parties ,pay offs for grabbing crouch, and $400 hair do's

Russell Scanlon

The “Right Wing” looks increasingly like misfits and miscreants. Too bad.

Andrew Lucero

And the "Left Wing" doesn't? It's long overdue for the Centrists and Independents to take over and boot out these radical fringe elements from BOTH parties!

Prince Michael Jauregui

Amen, Brother Andrew: "Fools to The Left of me, jokers to The Right......"

Russell Scanlon

Nope—I don’t accept false equivalency on this. In six short months we have the pandemic under control and the government is back to at least a functioning level. Unfortunately there is only one responsible political party right now and the other has become a personality cult of Donald Trump.

Dan Lewis

So true.

mark Coble

Yes, thank goodness GOVERNMENT is under control. Small businesses? DEAD. Not THAT is control.

Khal Spencer

Lizard people? Nothing like the proverbial "never wrestle with a pig" , eh, Michelle? That said, we can expect the usual clown car candidates from the GOP. MLG will sail into a second term and probably by an even greater margin than when she stomped Steve Pearce. The GOP and its supporters have become irrelevant except for political comedy.

Barry Rabkin

The only problem I have with her calling QAnon 'lizard' people is that insults lizards.

paul pacheco

Protestors? She'll still win! Why? Because there's not much of a democracy in New Mexico when 99% of the voters are liberals with very little education, on top of added voter fraud! But thank goodness for term limits! Oops, what's next?

Lupe Molina

Show one confirmed instance of voter fraud. And the fact that most reasonable people vote is exactly what democracy means. MLG is not my favorite elected rep but the fact that she flutters fascists and conspiracy theorists like you makes me want to vote for her even more.

Lupe Molina

Flusters* darn autocorrect. But still has a better chance of being right than the right.

John Cook

Well, Lupe, I thought 'flutters' was pretty much correct, also!

Khal Spencer

And your advanced degrees are in what, Mr. Pacheco?

rodney carswell

from Trump U.

Dan Lewis

Actually, Liberals, on average, are much more educated than Q-Anon right wingers. Look it up.

Jim Klukkert

Liberals and those on the Left have enough education to correctly punctuate their name, Mr. paul "Lower Case P" pacheco.

Stefanie Beninato

LOL to your comments, Paul. Do you really believe the tripe that comes out of your computer?

mark Coble

True. Sad, but true. They think a man can transform into a woman. Nope, can't be done. Yet SFNM and libs push this BIG LIE. Good example of not being educated.

Jim Klukkert

Darn those pesky scientists, doctors and educated types, capitalizing both their first name and last name, and always with the facts and hard data.

Enough to drive mark Coble around the bend!

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