Obama video endorses incumbent New Mexico governor

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Former President Barack Obama is urging voters to support incumbent Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in her campaign for reelection against former television broadcaster Mark Ronchetti.

The one-minute video endorsement from Obama praises Lujan Grisham for increased public investments in schools, economic policy and expanded access to subsidized health care.

Obama also says Lujan Grisham took action to protect the rights of women. The governor last year signed a bill to overturn a state ban on abortion in time to ensure access after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade.

“You can build on this progress, or take New Mexico backward,” Obama says.

Ronchetti and allied groups are hammering the incumbent governor in ads that highlight high crime rates, as the GOP nominee urges voters to hold Lujan Grisham accountable for economic turmoil and lagging school performance in the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns.

Several Republican governors and former Vice President Mike Pence have campaigned for Ronchetti in a state that Donald Trump lost in 2020 and Obama won twice.

Lujan Grisham campaign spokeswoman Delaney Corcoran said the Obama video is being circulated by email and on social media.

The pitch highlights recently added New Mexico voting provisions that allow registration on Election Day and at early voting locations.

Obama, who led an expansion of health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also mentions a new state “health care affordability fund” in New Mexico that may provide crucial insurance subsidies when Medicaid coverage expires for as many as 100,000 under special federal pandemic provisions.

The health care affordability fund comes from a new 2.75% surtax on health insurance premiums, the upfront payments made on behalf of an individual or family to keep insurance active.

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