It’s election season in New Mexico and that means candidates are facing off with each other in a few candidate forums where voters can actually compare candidates side-by-side.
Last night, the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County held its first candidate forum of the season, featuring candidates for attorney general and secretary of state.
Candidates were on stage, microphones ready, to answer questions from the moderator and the audience. They were supposed to provide their answers based on what they know – or don’t know – about the issue at hand. But at least one candidate brought a little extra help.
Republican incumbent Dianna Duran caught the attention of several people in the audience with her frequent texting before her turn to answer. Then we figured out why:
That’s ‘Lightning’ Rod Adair, the former Republican state senator who Duran brought into her official office to manage elections. The same Rod Adair who, while in Duran’s office, was a plaintiff along with the Republican Party in a lawsuit to eliminate campaign finance limits capping campaign contributions and expenditures by political parties.
It’s also the same Adair who, while in Duran’s office, was caught by our staff awkwardly trying to blend into the crowd to video tape Democratic candidates and labor leaders during a rally earlier this year. After claiming that he left partisan politics far behind, Adair left the secretary’s official office to run her Republican re-election campaign. No word on whether Adair was the one who directed volunteers to paint over “Republican” on her signs so Democrats could be fooled into voting for her.
Last night we caught him texting to Duran just before she answered a question at the forum. You can see her checking her messages in the very next pic.
We don’t pretend to be big fans of Dianna Duran lately. She recently became the first secretary of state in recent memory to take ballot questions off of ballots, denying voters the right to vote on issues. Two of those questions came out of the marijuana decriminalization campaign we are helping to advance. The Supreme Court will take up the issue next week.
Still, we’d call others out on this too. Either know your stuff or don’t. But don’t cheat by getting answers you don’t know sent to you by your campaign manager in the audience.
If you throw your hat in the ring and put your name on the sign (even if you paint over part of it), be confident enough to stand on your own two feet in front of voters and tell them what you do and don’t know.
You can read the Santa Fe New Mexican’s report on the forum here.