The former Chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party Allen Weh officially jumped into the 2010 Race for Governor today at noon. About 100 supporters, including former U.S. Representative and Interior Secretary Manual Lujan, joined Weh inside the University of New Mexico's Student Union Building.
At the end of his announcement Weh told supporters: I’ll assert leadership, I’ll act on my commitments,I’ll use common sense and the good advice of a bi-partisan team I intend to bring with me….and I won’t let you down.
Weh, who's been exploring the run and touring the state since May 5th, when he announced his exploratory committee, pledged to pick a bipartisan team to work in his office in Santa Fe if elected.
He said whoever becomes governor next year will be inheriting a mess. He told me that there's plenty of waste in the state's budget and he'll cut it out. He said he's against any tax increases. "In a recession we're trying to stimulate the economy, not stifle it."
Weh said he decided to run because he cares about the state and the country:
My business experience has taught me the importance of talented employees, of balancing budgets, of superior customer service, and of accountability. If you can’t handle those things, you go out of business very quickly. State government needs to be managed with similar considerations and State resources directed to the common sense priorities the majority of New Mexicans want done. It isn’t that complicated!
He also pledged not to run for any other office [hinting at Governor Bill Richardson's Presidential campaign in 2007/2008] while he's serving as Governor. He also said if he hasn't drastically improved education by the end of his first term he will not seek re-election, but did not state specifically what benchmarks he will use as a measure. He did say he would push for legislation that would allow for school choice and focus on reducing the number of dropouts in New Mexico.
Unlike the Richardson-Denish administration which campaigned in 2002 as THE Education team, and then watched our education system degrade during their almost 7 years in office, I’ll tell you now….If I’m your next governor and I can’t show improvement in the first term, I won’t insult you by asking for re-election.
Weh also reminded people in the crowd about the astonishing number of criminal indictments of elected leaders and and their accomplices in New Mexico.
There is a troubling history of cronyism and overpaid political appointees in the state, including executives at the University of New Mexico, and practices like public employee double dipping that’s eroded public confidence in our government, and drained taxpayer money that should’ve been put to good use elsewhere. It’s not like we don’t have common sense priorities in this State that have overwhelming bi-partisan support…. we do!Weh also talked about his experience as a businessman and the advantage that will give him in revitalizing the state's economy.
I’ll show measured improvement in our economy during my first term in office and we’ll start by assisting our existing businesses to grow and add jobs…Economic development begins at home…. not adding another reservation call center for companies whose headquarters and high paying jobs are all in other states!Weh faces State Representative Janice Arnold-Jones, Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez, and likely candidate Doug Turner in the Republican primary.
Martinez, who was the first Republican to announce her gubernatorial campaign, sent a statement to reporters welcoming Weh to race, but wrote that while she respects Weh's military service, she said the party needs to nominate a different kind of candidate.
As the step-mother of a current serviceman, we all owe a debt of gratitude to those who serve our country and I respect Allen Weh’s military service.
Allen Weh has political experience as Republican party chairman for the last 4 years, but I believe we must nominate a different kind of candidate with a proven record of taking on corruption if we are going to beat Diane Denish next fall.
Weh was introduced by the President of UNM's College Republicans Heather Hall and by former Albuquerque City Council President and Secretary of State Candidate Vickie Perea, who told us she will not be running again. So far, no Republicans have announced their candidacy to unseat incumbent Democrat Mary Herrera.
This was Weh's second visit to UNM in as many weeks. He welcomed students back to campus last month at the beginning of the fall term.
A handful of former Ron Paul delegates made their way inside Weh's announcement with signs and chants. They handpainted messages read "No Weh in 2010." The group were led by Patrick Marron who released this statement (in all caps) over the weekend.
Marron, who is also a former Marine, was a State delegate from Albuquerque, and a candidate for the National Convention delegation because of his support of Ron Paul for President. Marron said he was ejected, by Weh, for asking why he couldn’t videotape the proceedings.
Meanwhile, JR Damaron, who was the original Republican nominee for Governor in 2006, before quitting the race, entered the race for Lieutenant Governor in Santa Fe today. Veteran political reporter Kash Nash, at the SF New Mexican, posted the details on her Green Chile Chatter blog earlier today.