Losing candidate wants to overturn Quezada win - Albuquerque Journal

Losing candidate wants to overturn Quezada win

Patricia Paiz, left, and Steven Michael Quezada, right. combo
Patricia Paiz, left, and Steven Michael Quezada, right.

The losing candidate in a Bernalillo County Commission race is asking a judge to overturn the election results and declare her the winner instead.

The complaint, filed on behalf of Republican Patricia Paiz, accuses Commissioner-elect Steven Michael Quezada of failing to sign the paperwork needed to declare his candidacy in March.

In an interview Wednesday, Quezada said the allegations are false and that he has photos proving it.

His campaign released photos showing Quezada at the candidate sign-in table in county offices, smiling as he held up election forms and posed for pictures with county staff.

“We didn’t do anything wrong,” Quezada said. “They’re just grasping at straws.”

He said his wife and campaign manager helped him fill out the forms, but he signed the documents himself.

Quezada – a school board member, comedian and actor known for his role in “Breaking Bad” – won 62 percent of the vote in November to defeat Paiz, a retired police detective who now works in real estate. The district covers much of the southern West Side and South Valley.

Incumbent Art De La Cruz couldn’t run because of term limits. He and Quezada are both Democrats.

Paiz’s lawsuit alleges Quezada wasn’t a valid candidate for office and that any votes cast for him weren’t legal.

To bolster her claim, Paiz’s lawsuit includes an affidavit from a handwriting analyst who says Quezada’s wife, not Quezada himself, appears to have filled out the declaration of candidacy.

The suit was filed in state District Court this week by attorney A. Blair Dunn, who was Republican candidate for the state Senate this year, and Colin Hunter of the Barnett Law Firm.

The election paperwork “calls into question the integrity of someone who’s trying to take a public office,” Dunn said in an interview.

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