District 46 Rep. Carl Trujillo saved it for last but went on the attack against his opponent in the June 5 Democratic primary, Andrea Romero, during a candidate forum in Santa Fe on Tuesday night.
During his closing statement, Trujillo questioned Romero’s authenticity as both a candidate interested in the issues affecting the district that runs from the north side of Santa Fe to the Santa Fe-Rio Arriba county line and as a Democrat.
Trujillo touted the 40 or so town hall meetings he’s held since he became a state representative in 2013, mentioning specifically meetings having to do with the long-running Aamodt water rights settlement and a dispute over access to roadways for non-Indians on tribal land.
“I never saw her at one of these meetings,” he told a crowd of about 50 people at the Villa Alegre Senior Center.
He then asked attendees who they would support.
“Is it going to be the individual who has a proven record, who has been there day in and day out and held these meetings, or is it going to be somebody who didn’t show up to any of these meetings for the past three years?” he asked.
“And furthermore,” he continued. “I’ve been a Democrat since I was 13 years old. I think Miss Romero just registered as a Democrat in December just to get into this race.”
Romero addressed the assertions during her closing comments, saying she and her family have been engaged in the Aamodt and road access issues.
“Maybe he didn’t see me there,” she said of the town halls, adding that not everyone can attend those meetings in person.
Regarding her status as a Democrat, Romero said Trujillo must have been referring to when she went to get her Real-ID card a year ago and her political party affiliation was listed as “declined to state.” But she corrected the problem last October. “I made sure that I was a Democrat,” she said.
Romero said she’s always held Democratic values and voted in Democratic primary elections for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
“So I stand strongly and firmly on Democratic issues and will be a true blue Democrat lifelong,” she said.
Explaining what it means to be a Democrat, Romero said, “It means we stand up for women, it means that we believe in protecting our environment and creating better jobs and opportunities for growth in local businesses. It means we stand up against corporate abuse and stand strong for those in need of help. These values are important and they are not negotiable once in office.”
The remark about standing up for women may have been a veiled attack on Trujillo, who is under investigation by an internal House panel relating to accusations by a lobbyists that she was sexually harassed by Trujillo.
Romero has also been the subject of scrutiny. She recently wrote a reimbursement check for $580 after auditors questioned spending on Major League Baseball tickets and alcohol on a trip to Washington, D.C. while she was executive director of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.