David F. Cargo
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|David F. Cargo|
|22nd Governor of New Mexico|
January 1, 1967 – January 1, 1971
|Preceded by||Jack M. Campbell|
|Succeeded by||Bruce King|
January 13, 1929 |
|Spouse(s)||Ida Jo Cargo|
Cargo was born in Dowagiac, Michigan, the eldest of three children born to Francis and Mary (née Harton) Cargo. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (LLB: 1957).
He represented the Albuquerque area in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 1963 to 1967, when he was elected governor at the age of thirty-seven. As a representative he won one of the first lawsuits forcing proportional representation in the state legislature. He remains one of the youngest governors elected to date in U.S. history, along with Harold Stassen in Minnesota (1938), Bill Clinton in Arkansas (1978), Christopher "Kit" Bond and Matt Blunt in Missouri (1972) and (2004), respectively, and Bobby Jindal in Louisiana (2007).
Election as governor, 1966 and 1968 
Cargo was considered a liberal Republican, more in the Nelson Rockefeller mode than in the Barry Goldwater image. He had difficulty winning the Republican primaries in both 1966 and 1968. Each time he faced the more conservative Clifford J. Hawley of Santa Fe. In 1966, Cargo won with 17,836 (51.8 percent) to Hawley's 16,588 (48.2 percent). He improved in 1968, when he defeated Hawley, 28,014 (54.9 percent) to 23,052 (45.1 percent).
Cargo won the general election of 1966, when he barely defeated Democrat T.E. Lusk. Cargo received 134,625 votes (51.7 percent) to Lusk's 125,587 (48.3 percent). Running again in 1968, Cargo won by an even smaller margin, 160,140 (50.5 percent) to Democrat Fabian Chavez, Jr.,'s 157,230 ballots (49.5 percent).
As governor, Cargo started the state film commission, which has brought millions of dollars in revenue to the state of New Mexico. Cargo established ties to Hollywood and was even asked to appear in several films. In 1971 he made a cameo appearance in Bunny O'Hare, which starred Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine. During his first campaign for governor, he was known as "Lonesome Dave."
Later losing campaigns 
Cargo could not seek a third two-year term in 1970. Gubernatorial terms were changed to one four-year term with the 1970 election, and subsequently two four-year terms with the 1990 election. Cargo hence ran for the U.S. Senate in 1970, but he lost the Republican primary to the conservative choice, Anderson "Andy" Carter, who was later a Ronald Reagan leader in New Mexico. Carter polled 32,122 (57.8 percent) to Cargo's 17,951 (32.3 percent). Andy Carter then lost the general election to incumbent Democrat Joseph M. Montoya, who later became nationally known as a member of the Senate Watergate Committee.
From 1973 until 1985, Cargo relocated to Lake Oswego, Oregon, with his wife Ida Jo and five children, Veronica, David, Patrick, Elena, and Eamon. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for State Treasurer in Oregon in 1984.
After returning to New Mexico Cargo won the Republican nomination for Congress, but was badly defeated by the incumbent, Democrat Bill Richardson in 1986. Cargo ran for Mayor of Albuquerque in 1993, but was defeated by Martin Chávez. He tried for a gubernatorial comeback in 1994. Cargo ran a poor fourth (13 percent) in the primary and lost to Gary Johnson, a libertarian Republican. Johnson won the general election, having benefited from 1994 being a heavily Republican year nationwide.
- "Cargo, David F.". New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
- "Constitution Of The State Of New Mexico - Article V, Section 1". New Mexico Secretary Of State. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "Books: Lonesome Dave". Sunstone Press. Retrieved 2010-12-28.
Jack M. Campbell
|Governor of New Mexico