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A sign pointing toward a voting center located on Albuquerque’s west side in 2020.

UNM Students react to upcoming gubernatorial election

With governor elections coming up on Nov. 8, students at the University of New Mexico are preparing to make their voices heard by exercising their right to vote. To many students on both sides of the aisle, this election is crucial in determining the future of the state.

As of the time of publication, polls have Democrat incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham with a 6.1 point lead over Republican opponent Mark Ronchetti — but this still could be anyone’s election.

Exercising the right to vote is the best way to ensure that we elect people who are willing to fight for our rights, according to Marcela Johnson, a third-year journalism and communications major.

“Local elections are so important, especially in terms of the gubernatorial race,” Johnson said. “At the very least, I can honor those who fought for my right to vote by using said right.”

Going into this election cycle, incumbent Lujan Grisham faces a lot of backlash and praise for the way that she has responded to issues such as reproductive rights and COVID-19 safety in New Mexico, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Associated Press, respectively.

Ronchetti won the Republican Party primary with 58.4% of the votes, according to NPR, proving him a popular candidate for many members of the GOP.

Lily Holcomb, a second-year psychology and English student, explained how despite Lujan Grisham’s lead, Ronchetti can still win the governor election.

“Ronchetti has a chance of winning. Aside from largely populated cities like Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico is a Red/Republican-voting state,” Holcomb said.

On top of this, Ronchetti’s former career as a TV meteorologist has given him a popularity with certain voters, according to the New York Times.

It’s likely that either Ronchetti or Lujan Grisham will win the election, with the closest third-party challenger polling 35.4 points under Ronchetti.

“I do plan to vote, but it is definitely still questionable, as I do not support the dominance of the two-party system, and I support the foundation of the third parties.” Holcomb said. “As long as he caters to each dominating party, but ensures values for one over the other, the likelihood of him taking the position over Lujan Grisham is more guaranteed. That seems to be how politics works for such mindless followers.”

Johnson emphasized the importance of voting no matter your proximity or level of comfort in going to a voting site.

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“I’d like to add that everyone should go vote, and if you’re like me (out-of-county voter), request absentee,” Johnson said.

Students can register to vote online at or in person at a polling site the day of the election.

Alizay Chavez is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at or on Twitter @ChavezAlizay

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