Crime, abortion among issues likely to take center stage at first governor debate

As the two main candidates for governor prepare for their first televised debate, viewers can likely expect a stark contrast between the two when it comes to addressing crime, education, abortion and the economy.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, will face off against former TV weatherman Mark Ronchetti, a Republican, in the first of two scheduled television debates at 7 p.m. Friday on KOB-TV.

KOAT-TV, the Albuquerque Journal and KKOB-AM plan to host the second debate Oct. 12.

Lujan Grisham’s campaign sent out a news release Thursday saying she will demonstrate “how effective she is at getting the state government to work for the people of New Mexico.”

That release said Lujan Grisham will work to contrast her experience in government against Ronchetti’s lack of experience. “He might know how to smile and speak to a camera, but when it comes to the real-life work it takes to lead state government, Ronchetti will be starting with exactly zero leadership experience, zero business experience and zero experience in public service.”

That release said abortion will be “a defining issue of the debate.”

Ronchetti’s campaign spokesman Ryan Sabel wrote in an email, “The governor is a career politician and lawyer who has participated in many debates throughout her career in government, but she will have a challenge explaining her record with respect to the state’s out of control crime, New Mexico ranking last in education, and families struggling to make it to the end of the