Santa Fe businessman and political newcomer Alan Webber had a simple answer Monday when asked whether he’s really going to run for governor.
Webber, 65, a co-founder of Fast Company magazine who has lived in Santa Fe since 2003, said he had filed his candidacy papers with the Secretary of State’s Office early Monday morning to run in the Democratic primary.
“I started looking at running for governor about a year and a half ago, but I didn’t really make a decision until about three months ago,” he told a reporter.
He said that before he made his decision he traveled throughout the state. “I wasn’t presenting myself as a candidate,” he said. “I was presenting myself as somebody with a lot of experience in business, economic development and issues like public education. … I head the same thing from people everywhere, whether it was Las Cruces or Pecos, and that is, the state’s not doing very well. The state’s in real trouble. The state’s at a standstill. I heard that more than once. And we’ve got to do something to get New Mexico moving again.
“I looked around at the Democratic slate and I felt very candidly that I was the one who could actually do the best job presenting a better vision for the state and could win the election for the governor’s office.”
Asked whether the fact that he’s a relative newcomer to the state will be a problem in the campaign, Webber said, “In New Mexico, questions will always come up: ‘How long have you lived here? Who are your people? How well do you know us?’ The flip side of that is everyone I’ve met in that period of time I was exploring the idea [of running] was incredibly generous. They didn’t ask me, `Who are you to be interested in New Mexico’s future?’ They said, `We’re really interested in New Mexico’s future, too, and if you are, welcome to the conversation.’ I’m sure it’ll come up. But I have to tell you, when I lived in Boston, people were really concerned that I didn’t come over on the Mayflower.”
Webber moved to New Mexico from Boston, where he edited Fast Company for 10 years. Previous jobs for Webber include editing the Harvard Business Review and writing speeches for Michael Dukakis when he was governor of Massachusetts.
The Martinez campaign was quick to respond to Webber's entry into the race: “Alan Webber represents the extreme fringe of the Democratic Party and his radical ideology, which has even included attempts to eliminate car use, is way out of step with mainstream New Mexicans," said Martinez spokesman Danny Diaz. He was referring to a memo Webber wrote in 1971 -- when he was in his early 20s and an assistant to the mayor of Portland, Ore.
Webber joins fellow Democrats Attorney General Gary King and state senators Linda Lopez of Albuquerque and Howie Morales of Albuquerque. Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is seeking re-election and is not expected to have any serious primary opposition.
Read more in tomorrow’s New Mexican. For more background on Webber, here's a story I wrote Friday.