David Cargo

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David Cargo
David F. Cargo 2006.jpg
22nd Governor of New Mexico
In office
January 1, 1967 – January 1, 1971
Lieutenant Lee Francis
Preceded by Jack Campbell
Succeeded by Bruce King
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born David Francis Cargo
(1929-01-13)January 13, 1929
Dowagiac, Michigan, U.S.
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ida Jo Cargo
Alma mater University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1953-1955

David Francis Cargo (January 13, 1929 – July 5, 2013) was the 22nd Governor of New Mexico, having served between 1967 and 1971.[1]

Life and career

Cargo was born in Dowagiac, Michigan,[1] the eldest of three children born to Francis and Mary (née Harton) Cargo.[2] He received a B.A. (1951), M.A. (1953) and LL.B. (1957) all from the University of Michigan. He served with the United States Army in Germany from 1953 to 1955 [3]

He represented the Albuquerque area in the New Mexico House of Representatives from 1963 to 1967. [3]As a representative he won one of the first lawsuits forcing proportional representation in the state legislature.[3] Cargo was elected Governor in 1966 and remains the youngest person ever elected Governor in the state [4]

Election as governor, 1966 and 1968

Cargo was a liberal Republican [4] and had the nickname of "Lonesome Dave" due to his campaigning in rural towns by himself [5]. He had difficulty winning the Republican primaries in both 1966 and 1968; both times he faced State Representative Clifford J. Hawley of Santa Fe.[6] In 1966, Cargo won with 17,836 (51.8 percent) to Hawley's 16,588 (48.2 percent).[7] He improved in 1968, when he defeated Hawley, 28,014 (54.9 percent) to 23,052 (45.1 percent).[8]

Cargo won the general election of 1966, when he defeated Democrat T.E. Lusk 134,625 votes (51.7 percent) to Lusk's 125,587 (48.3 percent). [9]. Cargo was re-elected in 1968 defeating Democrat Fabian Chavez Jr., 160,140 (50.5 percent) to 157,230 (49.5 percent). [10]

As governor, Cargo started the state film commission, which has brought millions of dollars in revenue to the state of New Mexico.[11] In addition, Cargo proposed that the state start financing kindergarten programs and raise the state minimum wage. Cargo also opposed anti-union, right-to-work measures, and proposed abolishing the death penalty [5]

Post Governor

Cargo could not seek a third two-year term in 1970 due to state law at the time [12]. Cargo hence ran for the U.S. Senate in 1970, but he lost the Republican primary to the conservative Anderson "Andy" Carter.[13] Carter polled 32,122 (57.8 percent) to Cargo's 17,951 (32.3 percent).[14]. Cargo tried for New Mexico's other Senate seat in 1972, this time losing in the primary to eventual winner Pete Domenici.[13]

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.[13]

After returning to New Mexico, Cargo won the Republican nomination for Congress, but was defeated by the incumbent, Democrat Bill Richardson in 1986.[13] Cargo ran for Mayor of Albuquerque in 1993, but was defeated by Martin Chávez.[13] He tried for a gubernatorial comeback in 1994. Cargo ran fourth (13 percent) in the primary and lost to Gary Johnson.[15] Johnson won the general election. He ran his final race in 1997 running again for Mayor of Albuquerque but came in third place in the October election losing to both winner Jim Baca and second place Vickie Perea .[16]

Cargo continued to practice law in Albuquerque.[1] In 2010 he wrote an autobiography titled Lonesome Dave.[17]

Cargo died on the morning of July 5, 2013 from complications of a stroke he had suffered two years earlier. He was 84.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Cargo, David F." New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Retrieved December 28, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Kallenbach, J.E.; Kallenbach, J.S. (1977). American State Governors, 1776-1976. 3. Oceana Publications. Retrieved September 13, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "State of New Mexico State Historian".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "David F. Cargo, youngest to serve as governor of New Mexico, dies at 84".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "'Lonesome Dave' not alone at last gathering".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Associated Press (May 4, 1966). "Governor Race Sparks Contest in New Mexico". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved July 6, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Scammon, Richard M. (1967). America Votes. 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Scammon, Richard M. (1969). America Votes. 8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Our Campaigns- NM Governor 1966".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Our Campaigns- NM Governor 1968".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Former NM Governor Dave Cargo Dies, KRQE.com". web.archive.org. Retrieved September 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Constitution Of The State Of New Mexico - Article V, Section 1" (PDF). New Mexico Secretary Of State. Retrieved August 20, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Terrell, Steve (July 5, 2013). "Former New Mexico Gov. David Cargo dead at 84". The Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved July 6, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Scammon, Richard M. (1971). America Votes. 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Canvass of Returns of Primary Election Held on June 7, 1994 - State of New Mexico" (PDF). New Mexico Secretary of State. Retrieved July 6, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Our Campaigns Abq Mayor 1997".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Books: Lonesome Dave". Sunstone Press. Retrieved December 28, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Merle Tucker
Republican nominee for Governor of New Mexico
1966, 1968
Succeeded by
Pete Domenici
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack Campbell
Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Bruce King