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Former Gov. David F. Cargo died last Friday. He was a former governor for 43 years. That had to be some sort of record. He was elected at 37, New Mexico’s youngest governor ever and one of the youngest ever in the nation.
Cargo was born into a Democratic union family in Michigan. The story is that before leaving Michigan with a master’s degree in political science and a law degree, he researched which state would provide the quickest path to the governor’s office.
The answer was to go to New Mexico and become a Republican. Ten years later he was governor.
But the Republican Party never really was home to Cargo. That’s how he got his nickname “Lonesome Dave.” He didn’t come up with the name but he was proud of it. He said it was easier and cheaper to work alone.
Cargo wasn’t really lonesome. He had many friends. But none of them were in the Republican Party hierarchy. His friends were mainly independents, Hispanics and union members.
Cargo always had trouble winning Republican primaries. His GOP problems never were more obvious than when he had to find someone to run with him for lieutenant governor.
The rule back than was that gubernatorial candidates had to find a running mate even in the primary.
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