Signs held up by critics of the Democrat, who is known as MLG, included slogans such as “Stop Obeying,” “Open All Businesses Now,” and “Governor, We Are Not Your Subjects,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Booing and chants against Grisham outside the Albuquerque Museum appeared to force the governor to cut her speech short and leave early, the newspaper reported.
As she faced the protesters Thursday, Grisham dismissed her critics as “QAnon lizard people,” the New Mexican reported.
“I know it’s going to be loud, and I just have to say I’m sorry that we picked the same location that the QAnon lizard people meeting was at,” she said, according to the newspaper.
“In spite of that,” she continued, “I’m running for reelection for another four years. … We’re going to do what we do best. We’re going to protect New Mexico, and no amount of noise will deter, intimidate or create a vacuum in leadership that makes a difference for every single New Mexican this day and every day. Can’t be done. Can’t be done.”
New Mexico Republicans responded to the governor’s remarks on Twitter.
“New Mexicans deserve a governor who will face their constituents in their frustration, not insult them,” the GOP wrote.
Grisham’s opponents in the crowd spoke about why they showed up.
“We believe she was a mistake for New Mexico,” protester Leanna Derrick, a retired Albuquerque teacher, told the New Mexican. She said she was with a group that considered themselves “constitutional New Mexicans.”
“We believe she was a mistake for New Mexico.”
“Our Constitution has been marched all over because the World Health Organization and the pandemic has used emergency guidelines that overran our Constitution,” Derrick claimed. “We want our constitutional rights back.”
Another protester, John Ramacciotti, pointed to the diversity of the protesters.
“You have every type of race and religion and creed and different socioeconomic classes here,” the intensive care unit nurse, 35, told the New Mexican. “These are people that all feel strongly that MLG has done a terrible job at running this state.”
“These are people that all feel strongly that MLG has done a terrible job at running this state.”
He claimed that Grisham’s coronavirus restrictions had hurt the state.
“She’s being praised by [President] Biden for being one of the best people for locking down this country and she’s being applauded for that, but we actually see that as tyranny because she actually forced people to not be able to work,” he said. “I feel like she really has hurt our people, our kids.”
Grisham, 61, who served in Congress from 2013 to 2019 and is also a former health secretary for the state, has also faced criticism over her personal behavior and her spending habits as governor.
In April, media reports said Grisham had agreed to pay $62,500 to settle a case in which a male former staffer claimed she had grabbed his crotch in 2018. Grisham’s office has denied any wrongdoing.
In February, local media reported that Grisham had spent more than $13,000 in taxpayer funds over a six-month period on items including groceries, dry cleaning and alcohol.
After President Biden took office in January, Grisham was reportedly offered the job of interior secretary but turned it down.
She was previously said to be under consideration to lead the Health and Human Services Department, but some issues from her past were said to be potential obstacles for her.
Media reports claimed Grisham had profited from New Mexico’s pricey high-risk insurance pool, even after ObamaCare was designed to end such practices; had ignored complaints of abuse in New Mexico’s long-term care facilities; and had violated her own stay-at-home order to make a jewelry purchase.
Last month, Searchlight New Mexico reported that Grisham’s office supported using the Signal encryption app for communications among staff, in potential violation of the state’s Public Records Act.
Grisham’s opponents as she seeks a second term will include U.S. Air Force veteran Jay Block, a Republican who is a Sandoval County commissioner, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
No New Mexico governor has lost a reelection bid since 1994, when Republican Gary Johnson defeated Democrat incumbent Bruce King, according to the Journal.