New Mexico mayoral candidate says rival sent stripper, claims ‘extortion’
A New Mexico mayoral candidate is claiming that one of his opponents set up him by sending a topless dancer to his office and then threatening to release the video if he didn’t drop out of the race.
Sunland Park candidate Gerardo Hernandez told KVIA that he was in his office with two other men when a woman came in and began to dance topless for all of them.
“She started dancing and she was suggestive,” Hernandez said, claiming he was later approached by people connected to his opponent, Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Salinas, who is also running for mayor.
“They said, ‘We have a video of you and we’re going to release it if you don’t withdraw from the race.’ And I said, ‘Well, you can release it, because I’m not going to withdraw from the race,'” the candidate recalled.
Hernandez said he immediately took those threats to authorities.
“I thought it was blackmail and (the police officer) said, ‘No it’s extortion.'”
By Tuesday evening, about 10 officers and detectives from the District Attorney’s Office were raiding City Hall in connection to the State Police’s investigation, a report in the Albuquerque Journal confirmed.
For their part, the Salinas campaign said they found the video on a USB drive at their tent near City Hall before turning it over to KFOX-TV, alleging it showed Hernandez having sex with a woman.
“It’s something that we can use so we’re passing it to the people,” Salinas remarked.
Hernandez, who is married, denied that there was any sexual contact.
“As any gentleman would know, it was a lap dance,” he told The Associated Press.
“I’m still in the race, and I’m going to be here until the 6th of March,” the 59-year-old insisted to the Journal.
The state is also reviewing claims that city officials improperly withheld absentee voting ballots. Police plan to stand guard outside City Hall through the March 6 election.
“We’ve been here since they started early voting,” Sunland Park police’s Jaime Reyes said. “Just to make sure everything stays quiet.”
Watch this video from KFOX and KVIA, broadcast Feb. 23, 2012.
(H/T: Political Wire)