For months we’ve seen the empty-messaged billboards from so-called “Respect New Mexico,” trying to rebrand the Republican Party as something more moderate than the extreme right-wing party it’s become. For months, it’s tried to escape Trump’s responsibility for the death of over 200,000 people due to COVID-19. And now, they’re trying to pivot away from Trump’s support of the white supremacist hate group the Proud Boys.
Meanwhile, “Respect New Mexico” is perpetuating the same extreme measures here in our own state, endorsing a slate of conservative candidates, some of which display their own version of “Western chauvinism,” not unlike the Proud Boys.
Enter Dave Gallus, a candidate in New Mexico Senate District 37, who is seen wearing a MAGA hat adorned with the Proud Boys’ iconic laurels in his campaign photo. Indeed, he’s endorsed by “Respect New Mexico,” the brand that’s too embarrassed to call itself Republican in 2020.
In 2018, Gallus wrote a series of letters to the editor in the Las Cruces Sun-News that suggested that women who were sexually assaulted must be “groupies” or “prostitutes.” Further, in an op-ed Gallus blamed survivors of sexual assault by stating “when a woman dresses and acts provocatively … she wishes to choose the male.” This shaming of survivors is not only disgusting but unacceptable.
And if that weren’t enough, Gallus runs to the defense of perpetrators of sexual assault, suggesting a sexual assault is “like a nuclear reaction, once released is difficult, if not impossible, to control.” Gallus provides excuses for perpetrators instead of calling sexual assault what it is: a criminal act of violence.
Gallus and Respect New Mexico are sick to endorse this behavior. Any self-respecting candidate endorsed by Respect New Mexico has the responsibility to denounce this group, their Republican colleague, and their shameful acts of violence against women, queer communities and all survivors of sexual assault.