Here is the last round of Journal North endorsements ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
HOUSE DISTRICT 46
This is one of those campaigns that gives politics a bad name.
Incumbent Carl Trujillo faces allegations of sexual harassment that will be investigated by an Interim Legislative Ethics Committee panel in the first test of a new anti-harassment policy at the Roundhouse. A legislator backed up the accusation by saying two other women had similar stories about Trujillo, who vehemently denies the accusations
Challenger Andrea Romero, former executive director of the publicly funded Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, is under fire for getting reimbursed for travel expenses for coalition board events that were against coalition policy, such as for booze and Major League Baseball tickets. Romero has apologized and paid money back.
Neither candidate has shined in the aftermath of the various allegations.
Trujillo put out a lie detector test said to have supported his denials of wrongdoing. Problem was, the questions used in the test didn’t match up with the allegations by a Roundhouse lobbyist who went on the record with her accusations about Trujillo. He’s upset “that we’ve created a culture where we’re expected to believe anything someone says based solely on their gender.” The people who know the lobbyist say there’s more to it than her chromosomes.
Romero hasn’t impressed with her own reactions when the heat was on. When the misspending at the Regional Coalition was first raised, she, like Trujillo, tried to shoot the messenger, calling for an investigation of a citizens’ group that made a public records request to obtain information on the coalition’s finances and then distributed them to reporters.
When pressed by Trujillo at a public forum about her party affiliation, Romero said she’d made a mistake and changed from Democrat to “decline to state” last year when updating her driver’s license. That’s hard to dispute. But she went on to say that otherwise she’d always been registered as a Democrat. In fact, she had changed her registration from Democrat to independent in 2012, then changed back to Democrat in 2014 – not too far back to remember.
Some of the problems in this race extend beyond the candidates. It was really harsh, but standard political hardball, for one PAC to compare Trujillo to Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein because of the sexual harassment accusations, and it was totally standard for Planned Parenthood to campaign against Trujillo for his 2015 vote on a bill to ban certain late-term abortions. But at least one of Planned Parenthood’s campaign callers lied – as caught on tape – when telling voters that Trujillo wasn’t cooperating with the Roundhouse ethics investigation. The caller went “off script,” the organization claimed to the New Mexican.
The Journal North is not making an endorsement in this race. Trujillo’s supporters in northern Santa Fe County like him for standing with them in disputes with area pueblos over water and roads. Who knows what will happen in the ethics investigation? Romero’s calling card is her progressive stances on issues like abortion rights and gun control. Do as you see fit at the ballot box.
In other races, the Journal’s choices are:
• Greg Shaffer and Jason Lidyard, who were appointed to state District
Court judgeships in the 1st Judicial District consisting of Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties, although both incumbents face other good candidates in their effort to retain their benches.
Shaffer’s background is in private practice, and serving as attorney for county government and the state Department of Finance and Administration. Lidyard has been a capable local prosecutor for years after spending time on the other side of the fence as a federal public defender.
• Donald Reece for District 3 Santa Fe County Commissioner. Reece brings an
interesting background to the race – a rancher who retired after a 27-year career with the Centers for Disease Control. Living in the Edgewood area, he would bring representation to that area and the rest of county’s southern end.
Here are the Journal North’s prior endorsements:
House District 40, Paula Garcia
House District 41, Susan Herrera
House District 43, Christine Chandler
Santa Fe County sheriff, Linda Ortiz
Magistrate judgeships: David Segura and John Rysanek.
Please go vote on Tuesday!