ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — The gloves are off in the race for the Democratic bid to replace Congressman Martin Heinrich, just six days before the primary election.
State Sen. Eric Griego, County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham and former Mayor Marty Chavez are all vying for the nomination. Recent polls show Griego and Grisham in a dead heat, and the two are not holding back.
"When there's something negative out there, you have to respond to it," said Gilbert Gallegos, spokesman for Lujan Grisham.
Griego said an independent supporter came out with an attack on Grisham, an ad he insists he had no part of.
"It's an independent group that we have zero affiliation with. We can't by law," said Griego.
But it prompted Grisham's camp to slam Griego on a previous DWI conviction and a number of arrest warrants, including driving without insurance or registration, according to the ad.
"I take responsibility for not paying tickets on time. I don't think I'm above the law. I paid every one of those fines," said Griego. "When someone attacks you, you have to respond."
Griego did by pointing to Grisham's professional record. His ad narrows in on Grisham's tenure as secretary of the state health department and the mistreatment of seniors in New Mexico's nursing homes.
"It's a total ridiculous attack," said Gallegos. "She inherited the problem, but she took responsibility for fixing the mess."
But one person not complaining about the fighting is Chavez. Despite being behind in the polls, Chavez said voters are fed up with the negativity.
"All I know is, I'm running on my record," said Chavez. "At the end of the day come Tuesday, they'll be able to say well who has run positive and who has run negative and I've run positive."
Griego said it is disappointing that fellow Democrats are taking aim at each other during the primary. He said it will hurt whoever the nominee is in November when the candidate faces Republican Janice Arnold Jones, who is running unopposed.
In a statement to KRQE News 13, Jones said "we respect the primary process of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, and are eager to engage their nominee about getting our economy back on track and helping business create jobs in New Mexico."
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.