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Hispanic lawmaker blasts ‘Anglo Democrats,’ then apologizes

By   /   May 15, 2014  /   No Comments

‘TREACHERY IN OUR RANKS’: Longtime Democrat in the NM House of Representatives, Miguel Garcia, attacked “Democratic Anglo newcomers” in an email.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE, N.M. – A longtime Democrat in the New Mexico House of Representatives apologized Wednesday for a blistering email he sent to fellow House members, urging opposition to two white Democratic candidates running against Hispanic candidates in the upcoming June 3 party primary.

In a portion of the email under the heading, “Treachery In Our Ranks,” Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, called on members to support Andrew Barreras and Frank Otero in their respective primaries over fellow Democrats Jim Danner and Teresa Smith de Cherif in Valencia County.

“A minority of unsuspecting Democratic leaders are supporting the Democratic Anglo newcomer opponents in Andrew’s and Frank’s primary races. Anglo Democrats with egos as big as Texas, mouths as big as the Grand Canyon, and much ‘green’ (moolah) from the East and the West Coast,” the email said.

At first, Garcia did not apologize for the email, sending a text to KRQE-TV that said, “I did not send the email to the media. I have nothing to share regarding my email seeking support for two outstanding candidates.”

But news of the email spread quickly across the state and, Wednesday afternoon, Garcia apologized for making “inappropriate comments.”

Garcia also released an email he sent to Danner.

“I want to ask for your forgiveness regarding the negative manner in which I questioned your character or campaign pursuits,” Garcia wrote. “It is not in me to speak negatively of fellow Democrats, or anyone for that fact, that I am not personally acquainted with or familiar with. In my legislative career I pride myself on always taking the ‘moral high ground’ on issues of bigotry, discrimination, inequality, prejudice, intolerance, hatred —  I faltered in reaching that in my email.”

Garcia did not apologize for the attacks he made on two incumbent Republicans in Valencia County and one incumbent Democrat who sometimes sides with Republican Gov. Susana Martinez in his original email.

In apparent reference to Rep. Sandra Jeff, D-Crownpoint, Garcia called Jeff “a renegade Democrat who licks the Governor’s (armpits).”

He referred to Rep. Kelly Fajardo, R-Belen, as a “loyal lapdog” of Martinez and wrote that Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, “always falls in line every time Gov. Martinez snaps her blood-stained fingers.”

“I feel it’s pretty disgusting,” Jeff told New Mexico Watchdog. “I don’t think, as Democrats, that’s not our values. He should be ashamed. That’s a personal jab.”

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.