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.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(13) comments

Jerry Appel

It is a welcome sight that so many Republicans think they have a chance to become the next governor of New Mexico and a woman. Pres. George W. Bush was a compassionate conservative and he gave us the longest wars in US History, he gave us No Child Left Behind with testing mandates, he cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and let Wall Street run amok producing the Great Recession. One of Pres. Bush's proteges was Gov. Susana Martinez and she gave us deficits, clawbacks, the PARCC exam, and Value-Added Modeling which treated students and teachers like farm animals. Rep. Dow says she wants New Mexico to be successful like Texas and Arizona where folks don't need a license or training to open carry firearms, where Texans freeze-to-death because power companies get to shaft you and where COVID-19 is killing residents at a much higher rate than New Mexico along with higher per capita case numbers and lower vaccination rates. Candidate Dow is tired of New Mexico being last or near the bottom in education and child services. Aren't we all? Anyone you know cheering that on? How do you fix that issue when your goal is to cut taxes on business in one of the poorest states in the nation to increase business? Where do you get the money to fund universal pre-school? Finally, how would Gov. Dow manage to get all this passed in a Democratically controlled legislature? She may represent Truth or Consequences, but I don't see a lot of truth in explaining the consequences of her positions.

Khal Spencer

Its refreshing to hear a Republican announce a candidacy without repeating the same tired old slogans of past Republican leadership. I'd like to see a little more elaboration on some of her political positions and voting record, but would welcome a center-right candidate to challenge this state's status quo if that person has some intellectual and policy credibility and who distances herself from the Trump legacy of lies and corruption.

Not to mention, someone who would buy her own delicacies rather than pick my pocket for high carbon-footprint goodies like Wagyu Beef and tuna steaks, all the while telling me I have to conserve resources and get a 52 mpg car due to the "climate crisis".

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup]

Mike Johnson

A bright light in an otherwise dismal night. Best of luck to her, we need more qualified people who are not corrupt, long time political hacks, to be elected. Maybe then we could make progress out of the country's basement.

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup]

Paul Chadwick

Americans need to stop electing people with only business experience and business education (often with very little experience). They are destroying our country.

Mike Johnson

According to the Gallup Poll, most Americans would disagree with you: "Four in five Americans (81%) say the U.S. would be better governed if more people with business and management experience were in political office. Meanwhile, 63% say the country would be better governed with more female political leaders."

Khal Spencer

Early childhood education is supposed to be something we are feverishly working on in New Mexico. Sounds like a perfect fit to me.

paul pacheco

Now that’s a candidate who can win and be a great governor! She’s got energy, she brings positive ideas to the table, she’s smart, and she’s ready to reach out to all the citizens of New Mexico! She’s right when she points out where our state is weak and unwilling to compete with other states in jobs, better education for our children, bringing higher paying jobs to our state, and more! There’s too much government in our small state; let the people govern and determine our own destinies. The time to elect a governor who really cares for New Mexican’s is finally here, voters (we) can make it happen!

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup]

Dottie Butler

She sounds so nice from what you wrote about her.

Does she believe that Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump fair and square?

Does she think there really was an insurrection on January 6, 2021?

Is she a supporter of the Cowboys for Trump guy?

Does she want to cut taxes for the rich?

What would she cut out of New Mexico's current budget?

Is she a wolf in sheep's clothing?

If she really is a compassionate conservative, what makes her think she can beat the Trumpers she's running against?

Who would say they were a compassionate conservative today if they weren't?

B. Rosen

Compassionate conservative = oxymoron

Cleve Spence

Republicans should know about our constitutional freedoms being under attack: Big Lie, promoting the Big Lie, insurrection against our Capital 6-Jan-2021, "gas-lighting," 6-Jan-2021, and promoting their 2021 version of Jim Crow voting laws!

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