Gubernatorial Candidate Evaluations

Grading based on NMD4D's policies and candidate interviews, forums and debates.

Gubernatorial Candidate Grading

Michelle Lujan 
Grisham (D)

Overall Grade: C (77.5%)

Steve Pearce (R)

Overall Grade: B (81.7%)

Investing in New Mexico

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

Wants to invest the full 9% from the Severance Tax Permanent Fund, $200 million would be available for direct investment.

Double the New Mexico's Small Business Investment Corporation (SBIC) program to 2.0% allocation of the Severance Tax Permanent Fund, making $50 million more available to strengthen and grow small businesses that banks are not serving.

Total $250M investment plan.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Believes the State Investment Council (SIC) should invest in NM industries.

The SIC can provide financing for facilities or invest directly in companies, create private and public investment verticals for NM industries.

Establish a proof of concept fund that would help early-stage New Mexico startups and entrepreneurs and stipulate that the use of those funds would obligate the company to build their businesses in New Mexico.

Steve will support and encourage the SIC board, legislators and private sectors to investment between $800M-$1B.

Create a closing fund that allows New Mexico to attract new businesses and compete with other states.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

Jobs Plan, Small Business & Tax Reform

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: A

Create new transmission infrastructure by 2020, wind and solar, and increase renewable portfolio standards to 50% by 2030,

Make state buildings energy efficient, immediately raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour, followed by increasing the minimum wage to $12 in four years and indexed it to inflation. During the primary, Michelle stated she supported raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour under the progressive movement.

Fast-track investments to modernize roads, bridges, water systems, and broadband internet services.

Direct state procurement systems to buy from local New Mexico businesses.

Attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to create good jobs here at home, develop global markets, bolster efforts at the border and improve our relationships with Mexico and Latin America.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: A

Steve will focus on eight key areas to start: Silicon Mesa (tech), film & TV, value-added production of NM resources, renewable energy, tourism, agriculture self-sufficiency for food production, the retirement economy and business resiliency.

High-tech transfer with research from our labs and universities.

Create more high-tech incubators.

Lead in military research and space.

Biotechnology, optics, photonics and other high-tech industries.

Create new industries with Spaceport America.

Lead in the energy economy.

Target on-shoring industries in New Mexico and create better trading relations with Mexico, Canada, China and South America.

Anchor Institutions: higher education and research & development with UNM, NMSU, UNM+HSC, and UNMH.

Tourism/Sports Tourism

Retirement destination- certified retirement Community programs.

Business Resiliency: The impact of severe weather on global business is seen as a significant risk factor. New Mexico will target global companies to establish operations that allow them to maintain their competitive advantage during extreme weather events or other natural disasters.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:


Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: A

Fund the education system we need and that our students deserve.

Implement a responsible increase in distribution from the Permanent School Fund to help fill funding gaps for Pre-K and K-12. (She has not provided an amount, but has said she would support an additional 1/2% funding of the land grants fund, or an estimated $165M.)

Will cut overly burdensome regulations and streamlining administrative functions (with no specifics).

Create universal access to high-quality Pre-K a reality for every New Mexican family.

Support the adoption of rigorous competency-based science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) standards.

Expand dual-degree technical programs, create access to apprenticeships, and opportunities for students to develop critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills.

Increases annual salaries by $10,000, paying our principals, teachers, and education personnel more.

Increase salaries for tiers I, II and III to $40,000, $50,000, and $60,000 respectively.

Limit school testing and use qualitative data to track student and school achievements.

End the use of the PARCC exam.

Engage parents, communities, and students as partners in education.

A commitment to a robust dual language education program across the state by maintaining all five dual language models, training more qualified teachers, and expanding uptake of these programs across the state.

Believes the New Mexico’s American Indian populations are well-served.

Will expand GEAR UP and similar programs to make sure our high schools are teaching our kids what they need for the next step in their educations, be it university, community college or a technical program.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Believes we need local control, responding effectively to the local needs of New Mexico communities, parents, teachers and students.

Decisions must be made closer to the classroom and communities that are directly affected by those decisions.

Shifting control back to our local communities and implementing common sense, time-tested processes and policies, creating quality public schools for all students.

Supports local control and leadership development. New Mexico must be informed and led by New Mexican educators.

State initiatives, policies, and practices must reflect the authentic input of the people working in the field.

Will immediately suspend the current teacher evaluation system, PARCC testing and will seek input from New Mexico educators to create a system that is fair.

From our urban and rural districts to our pueblo and border schools, each community and region is diverse and unique and should be guiding how education expectations are met.

Fund operations equitably on a per-pupil basis, funding below the line should be available to all districts to provide resources and support as they determine necessary to meet the needs of their students.

Let teachers teach: remove barriers and let our teachers do what they are trained to do; we will see immediate results.

We must work with our high schools and colleges to actively recruit students into the teaching profession.

Give teachers a voice by creating opportunities to provide genuine feedback to inform state policies and practices.

Diversify education funding sources to ensure stable funding streams to school districts and charter schools.

Aging school facilities must be evaluated; construction should be funded on an as needed basis since some districts have much older buildings than others.

Apprenticeship programs in high schools, choices for parents and students, charter schools, magnet schools, e-schools, and homeschooling have a place in meeting the needs of some students.

Offer in-state tuition to international STEAM  (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) and business students at New Mexico’s public universities. Statistically, these students are more likely to start new companies and create jobs for New Mexicans.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

Film & TV

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

Lift the cap on film tax credits.

Double the amount of film production in the first two years.
(Michelle provides no detailed plan on this topic.)

Expand soundstage and other physical production capacities.

Support and expand the resident crew base to handle increased production.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Would raise the cap to $100M from $25M today.

Would invest (with the private sector) into an international film school targeting all New Mexicans and targeting Hispanics, Native and African American kids from around the world.

Will focus on training programs through community colleges and NM universities.

Believes the state should actively pursue these high-quality jobs.

Will work with film unions to grow the New Mexico's workforce, not just non-residence workforce.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:


Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

Has said if the legislator offered a bill with strict guidelines she would support legalization. In the primary, she said she would not.

She also stated that medical or recreational cannabis would not lower opioid addition when studies show other states have seen a 25% drop in opioid use when expanding medical or legalization programs.

Does support expanding medical cannabis program but has not given any specifics on how she would do so.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: C

Would not legalize cannabis at this point due to the impacts to unemployment, DUI and drug addiction issues in New Mexico.

Does support medical cannabis program and would expand access and patient protections.

He is in favor of raising or eliminating plant count restrictions by license.

Would allow the market and cannabis patients needs demand the plant count expansion with strict state regulations as other states also follow.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:


Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

Wants to create a blue-ribbon commission to overhaul the VA and eliminate mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse.

Supports the VA Healthy Choice Program, wants to reduce wait times, increasing access to PTSD services, improving caregiving and provide quality health care.

Supports a whistleblower program to protect employees.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: A

Steve is a veteran of the Vietnam war.

In Congress, he helped enact the only fix for the issue of concurrent receipt in over 100 years, which provided $22 billion to more than 250,000 disabled veterans. 

Supports the Healthy Vet Act, giving veterans in rural areas access to different health facilities. 

He also established a Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC), which is comprised of veterans from across New Mexico.

The VAC keeps a dialogue open between veterans in New Mexico’s Second Congressional District and himself. Steve will continue this program as Governor throughout the state.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

Health care

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: A

Voted yes and supports Obamacare (ACA).

Former NM Secretary of the Department of Health and supports the expansion of Medicaid, but does not support a single-payer system.

Will focus on the behavioral health system and expand access to high-quality, affordable care.

Supports cost-effective, innovative approaches to providing affordable, high-quality health care to all New Mexicans, including Medicaid buy-in and the New Mexico Health Security Act.

She will pool our state resources to negotiate lower drug prices.

Michelle will also focus on the health professional workforce shortages, particularly in our rural communities and support programs that recruit and sustain health care professionals who provide services to New Mexico’s underserved communities but has not offered a plan to do so.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Voted against Obamacare (ACA) and to repeal and replace the ACA.

Believes finding affordable health care is a major concern for families in New Mexico, but states a massive government-run health care system is not the solution.

Steve favors specific legislation that will fix individual problems with health care.

Believes we need to allow you to keep your insurance if you lose or change jobs.

Supports lawsuit abuse reform, and a ban on discriminating against pre-existing conditions.

Wants health savings accounts and has helped pass the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit program that lowered costs and saved money for millions of seniors.

Supports the reimportation of FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs.

Wants to allow small businesses and individuals to group together for lower health plan costs and tax deduction for those who purchase individual insurance.

Wants cost controls with families and individual insurances.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

  • The ACA is a good idea but does not control the cost of insurance.
  • Premiums and prescription costs have jumped up 140% in the last six years. 
  • NMD4D is in favor of a single payer system where you pay for your needs, creating healthcare corporations within and with out-of-state firms, and the state negotiating cost of prescription drugs.


Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

Served on the House Agriculture Committee.

Voted no on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 also known as the Farm Bill.

States she will and has advocated for small businesses in the rural economic development and renewable energy sectors.

Supports using agriculture to combat hunger and providing economic security to New Mexico’s families.

With so many in our state struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table, Michelle worked to protect SNAP from harmful cuts during Farm Bill negotiations.

Improve sustainable agriculture and value-added agriculture practices, including wineries and craft breweries.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Steve Pearce received the American Agri-Women 2018 Champion of Agriculture Award.

He has the support of the New Mexico CowBelles, New Mexico Wool Growers’ Auxiliary, New Farm & Livestock Bureau, New Mexico Stockman and Protect Americans Now.

Voted yes on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 - known as the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill helps provide a pathway to success in agriculture, job training and nutrition including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 

The job training and work requirements added will help New Mexicans learn skills needed to succeed and to lift themselves out of poverty.

The Farm Bill requires working-age adults, who are not disabled, pregnant, or the sole guardian of a child under 6, to work or receive job training for 20 hours per week.

Roughly two-thirds of Americans on food assistance would not be required to work or to receive training due to one of these exemptions. 116,800 New Mexicans who would qualify for training program under the plan and would be fully funded.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

Renewable Energy

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: B

Make New Mexico the clean energy state.

New transmission infrastructure online by 2020 to ensure that New Mexico’s wind can be used to generate power and jobs.

Increase New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standards to 50% by 2030, and expand it to include small-scale, customer-owned solar and wind systems including incentives for production in rural areas.

Accelerate the development of a green energy workforce, and make state buildings energy efficient.

Expand access to new markets hungry for clean energy.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: C

New Mexico is known for its scenic beauty with some of the most favorable weather in the nation and is rarely struck with significant catastrophes resulting from floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. The dry, mild climate is an enormous competitive advantage over other states.

Steve believes New Mexico should leverage our advantages to the fullest extent by adopting proven, successful economic principles such as embracing the free market, creating more effective and efficient agencies and making a business-friendly environment that will foster job creation.

Steve believes this strategy will create numerous and improved employment opportunities for the people of New Mexico.

Steve supports in investing into renewables but wants the private industry to lead.

Steve wants renewable expansion in wind and solar energy but wants the demand to determine growth, not government set goals.

Supports business, labor and government partnerships that encourage a diversified, growing and sustainable energy economy.

Believes in New Mexico's strong natural resources economy and supports working with the private sector.

Considers renewable energy critical to our nation, but are also a source of good, high paying jobs for New Mexico.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

Oil & Gas

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

Michelle has not laid out any plan for oil and gas production in New Mexico.

She has not discussed the oil & gas industry publicly.

In the primary, she spoke about stopping or limiting fracking.

Will not allow fracking near sacred lands and water aquifers.
(NMD4D supports this aspect.)

She has received monies from oil & gas contributors, so we believe Michelle will not hinder the oil & gas industry.

She supports Stephanie Garcia Richard for Land Commissioner who has said she wants higher fees and will restrict fracking around the state.

She supports recapturing methane emissions.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: A

Former oil and gas businessman.

Supports expanding oil and gas and investing into infrastructure to maximize revenue for New Mexico.

Will invest with the industry to create a better infrastructure, clean fracking water, and improve distribution.

He's calling for a system of toll roads in southeastern New Mexico to serve booming oil fields and other commercial activity from out-of-state traffic around one of the most productive oil and gas areas in the world.

Steve's plan would be financed by private companies without taxpayer dollars and is aimed at traffic generated from the Delaware Basin and Texas.

Texas oil trucks have damaged New Mexico roads and created dangerous conditions with paying zero taxes or road fees.

Texas and Colorado have similar toll roads. Two lane road has an estimated cost of $260 million; a four-lane toll road has an estimated cost of $500 million and would be fully funded by oil trucking companies, not by the public.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:

Government Corruption

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: D

Michelle Lujan Grisham and State Rep. Deborah Armstrong have been proven to have a none bidding contract being paid millions annually for the state's high-risk medical insurance pool under their Delta Consulting organization.

Michelle claims to have divested from Delta Consulting; however, SOS & PRC records show she still may maintain interests via a third party company "Dog Breath" while Deborah Armstrong and her family remain as principles within the organization.

Michelle Grisham had tried to pass a federal house bill to fund $5B to state's high-risk pools when 34 states had eliminated state pools due to Obamacare (ACA).

Deborah Armstrong, Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign treasurer and Chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee have killed house bills that would impact Delta Consulting over the years.

Reports from the Albuquerque Journal, AP, Politico, and other news organizations have confirmed these allegations, with some legal professionals and AG candidates stating she has committed fourth-degree felonies.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Michelle Lujan Grisham's campaign accused Steve Pearce for the sale of his oil companies at three times the market value due to his status of being a Congressmen.

The U.S. House Ethics Committee found no wrongdoing in 2008.

In 2018 Grisham's campaign accused his oil company renting out catering equipment under an oil and gas company Pearce invested with or has ownership within.

NMD4D has found no credible reports or information that Steve Pearce has done anything unethical or illegal.

NMD4D advocates for open government policies and open personal records of all elected officials along with the following criteria:

  • Prohibit elected officials, their immediate families and the companies they work for or own from engaging in state contracts or earning dividends for services or products provided to the state.
  • Require the release of tax returns when filing as a candidate, limit campaign donations from companies and lobbyists doing business with the state.
  • Creating an independent ethics commission which shall maintain an index of campaign donations with bills sponsored by elected officials.

Opioid Addiction & Prison Reform

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D)

Category Grade: C

As NM Secretary of Health between 2004-2007 Michelle Lujan Grisham pushed pill mills in the state of New Mexico.

Contrary to Lujan Grisham claims that opioid addiction reduced under her service, opioid addiction increased by 40% from 2006-2007 per CDC reports.

Michelle Lujan Grisham stated New Mexico did not have a problem with addiction until 2010.

In 2005, New Mexico was ranked second in the country for opioid overdoses.

In 2016 while in Congress, she voted in the House for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act that passed and allowed pharmaceutical companies to flood the market with addictive opioid pills.

One of the largest pharmaceutical companies that distributes opioids around the world such as McKesson who profited billions has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Grisham during her campaigns for Congress and Governor.

She has now stated, she supports fully funding rehabilitation and job training programs in just the last few months.

She has not officially supported decriminalization for non-violent offenders or moving funds away from private prison to support rehabilitation and job training programs.

Steve Pearce (R)

Category Grade: B

Steve Pearce supports NM4D's plan to decriminalization non-violent criminals and assigns them to rehabilitation and job training programs.

Steve Pearce would move funds from private prisons and into drug addiction and DUI courts, allowing judges to determine sentencing or rehabilitation and job training programs.

We have not found Steve Pearce supportive of opioid pill mills, but he too voted for Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
Questions and evaluations are based on NMD4D's policy platforms:


Together we can turn New Mexico around!