On Monday, Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham dodged a key NAIOP forum with business and commercial real estate leaders that was held in Albuquerque.
Republican gubernatorial nominee Mark Ronchetti was the only candidate in attendance after the governor did not show up.
As the forum began, Ronchetti’s campaign manager unveiled a photo of Lujan Grisham to poke fun at her absence, which was quickly removed by the event’s hosts.
“I personally felt very strongly that the governor should be here to give an accounting to the business community for the last four years [and, if reelected], let us know what she plans on doing for the next four years,” NAIOP chairman-elect, Lance Sigmon, said to the crowd.
“I just felt the business community was owed this, and I’m sorry I couldn’t deliver on this,” Sigmon added. “But her opponent, Mark Ronchetti, is here, and I wanted to thank Mark for being here.”
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Lujan Grisham’s spokeswoman Delaney Corcoran “declined to disclose where the governor was or what she was doing Monday. Her press secretary, Nora Meyers Sackett, declined, too.”
After the forum, Ronchetti shared a news clip from KRQE 13, writing, “I was excited to be at @NAIOPNM today to share my vision for New Mexico, at what was supposed to be a gubernatorial candidate forum. However, @Michelle4NM declined to join and defend her indefensible record on small business and economic issues.”
A recent report from the New Mexico Restaurant Association, which was a co-sponsor of the NAIOP forum, revealed that Lujan Grisham’s lockdowns had killed around 20 percent or nearly 1,100 New Mexico restaurants. The Governor’s own Department of Tourism revealed that over 40% of New Mexico’s small businesses had closed amid the Governor’s lockdowns.