With the exception of voters who live in her hometown of Truth or Consequences, not too many New Mexicans are familiar with state Rep. Rebecca Dow.
But Dow, who plans to formally announce Wednesday she will seek the Republican nomination for governor in next year’s election, said that’s about to change.
“I’ll be visiting every county [in New Mexico], and if anybody wants to connect with me and introduce me to folks because they’re ready for change, tell me when and where and I’ll be there,” Dow, 48, said Tuesday.
The self-described compassionate conservative, who said in January she was considering running for governor, is a fresh face in a party looking for electable new stars who can appeal to voters in a blue state, particularly women.
Dow, a businesswoman and consultant to for-profit and community-based early childhood providers, is the fifth Republican to announce plans to try to unseat Democratic incumbent Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who launched her reelection campaign last month. Though not a longtime presence in the Legislature — she’s in her third term in the House and is the GOP’s House caucus chairwoman — she is seen by some in the party as having potential to win a statewide race.
Other Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for governor include former congressional candidate Karen Bedonie, Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block, retired teacher Tim Walsh, and investment adviser and West Point graduate Greg Zanetti.
“I have a deep love for New Mexico and the everyday New Mexican,” said Dow, who has served in the state House of Representatives since 2017. “I am tired of us being last in education, last in child welfare [and ranked highest in unemployment]. I’m tired of our constitutional freedoms being under attack, and it’s time for us to thrive economically, just like our neighboring states, Texas and Arizona.”
Asked how she would create a thriving state, Dow said she would roll back unnecessary regulations.
“I’m not talking health and safety but overburdensome regulations,” she said, adding she would hire “a good team [of] experts in their field who can help us with these reforms and create commonsense governance” and return decision-making to the local level.
“I don’t have to be the expert on everything,” Dow said. “I have to let people govern themselves, and we have to create commonsense government from the top down.”
While Lujan Grisham will play up how she handled the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives and averting more infections, her detractors plan to criticize her state-mandated restrictions, which were some of the most strict in the nation.
Dow called Lujan Grisham a “power hungry career politician” who has failed the state during the pandemic.
“Children have lost 18 months of learning — well, we don’t know that for sure because we’re not testing — but our families and our local elected school boards have lost their say in local decision-making for our districts,” she said. “These school board members are elected by the local community. They know and understand the needs of families and students and the teachers that they serve. And their hands have been tied by this governor.”
Dow said she will need to raise millions of dollars for her gubernatorial campaign.
“I could never out-fund the special interest machine that’s behind the governor’s radical agenda,” she said. “But I’ll take every penny I can get, and I’ll use it wisely.”
Dow said beating Lujan Grisham won’t be easy — the state’s last three incumbent governors all won reelection with comfortable margins. But she said she’s fairly certain New Mexicans “would prefer to drain the swamp in Santa Fe and not Elephant Butte Lake.”
“I think the everyday New Mexican understands that we are last in education, last in child welfare, we have the highest unemployment rate because of bad government,” she said. “I think that they are ready for change, and they’re tired of a one-party system telling them how to live their lives in their homes, when they can leave their home, when they can worship, when they can eat out. I think they understand that there’s a need for change in New Mexico. It’s time for New Mexico to thrive.”
The only thing stopping New Mexico from competing against neighboring states is “bad government,” Dow said.
“I want it to be a message of hope,” she said. “I really am not running to trash the governor. It’s just time for change.”
Dow has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Oral Roberts University. She and her husband, Aaron, have two adult children, Jaylah and Seth.