SANTA FE (KRQE) - Is dirty politics at work in the Santa Fe mayor's race?
One mayoral candidate says “yes” after he got an email with a picture of one his staffers in his underwear, claiming the staffer made a sexually suggestive post online.
While the man in his underwear admits the photo is of him, he says the sexually suggestive advertisement is fake. He’s contacted police.
“I mean it was outrage, to be quite honest with you," said Ray Sandoval, the man featured in the email.
Sandoval is the political campaign manager for Roman “Tiger” Abeyta, who is running in the Santa Fe mayor’s race. He’s also well known in Santa Fe as the organizer of the “Burning of the Zozobra” event, something he’s done for the last few years.
Earlier this week, Abeyta received an email from someone with a screen capture of a Craigslist post featuring a photo of Sandoval in his underwear followed by a message soliciting sex with men.
The person who sent the email also include a note, reading:
“To whom it may concern -
Inquiring minds are wondering if this Ray Sandoval, the Santa Fe’an who is in charge of Zozobra and is currently the campaign manager for Roman Abetya?
Take a look for yourself. Sure looks like it to me.
If this is Ray, we all should ask ourselves, is this is a good representative of Zozobra or Roman Abetya's campaign, who is running to be our next Mayor?”
While Sandoval admits he is actually the person in the photo, he says someone stole the picture from his Facebook page and made the Craigslist advertisement. Sandoval says he had Craigslist pull the advertisement from its website when it learned of it.
“A lot of people know what it feels like to have Identity theft, and this was clearly identity theft,” said Sandoval
With the advertisement coupled with email, Sandoval claims someone is trying to smear him.
“The idea was to embarrass,” said Sandoval. “This email was sent to the press, it was sent to the Kiwanis, it was sent to Ramon, it was just, those things are kind of you know. It reeks of a bad political trick.”
The person who sent the email goes by the name "Sean Gallegos” and claims to be a “concerned citizen.”
KRQE News 13 contacted Gallegos Tuesday. He insisted “a friend” found the post on Craigslist, that it was real, and that he's not affiliated with any political campaign.
Sandoval says he’s never met Gallegos.
“To be honest with you, I have no idea who this person is,” said Sandoval.
Meanwhile Abeyta says he's standing with his campaign manager.
“The campaign I hope is about the issues and who's best qualified to do the job,” said Abeyta.
Sandoval and Abeyta also told KRQE News 13 they don't have their eyes on any one particular opponent. No one has claimed responsibility for the email. One candidate even told KRQE News 13 on Tuesday that they too are “mad” about the email.
For the first time New Mexico is requiring high school students to pass end-of-course exams or else they will not graduate. However, APS leaders will meet Wednesday to talk about an alternative to those tests.
The Lobos and Aggies will have meeting 211 in their rivalry series Wednesday night in Las Cruces.
The Academy Chargers upset the Sandia Matadors and Cibola's Kevin Saiz caught fire in his team's game against Albuquerque High, two of many games on the high school basketball schedule Tuesday night.
A thief stole a trailer holding $40,000 of equipment and donated toys from an Albuquerque church over the holiday weekend.
Dangerous chemical weapons abandoned in Panama by the U.S. in the 1940s won't be headed for New Mexico, a Defense Department spokesperson told News 13 on Tuesday.
A video encouraging students at a high school in Albuquerque to enroll in clubs and sports is racking up views on YouTube.