ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A race for one Albuquerque city council seat has accusations flying. It reached a boiling point Tuesday when one side posted a video on social media of a supposed campaign sign thief at work.
It ended with them chasing the man several blocks, and the other side crying foul.
It was a bizarre scene that happened in a neighborhood in the Heights, then spread like wildfire on Facebook. The women say they caught the trenchcoat, sunglasses-wearing thief stealing a Brook Basson sign near the voting location off Paseo del Norte and San Pedro.
The man in the video denies it and walks away, zig-zagging through the neighborhood. Then, video captures the women out of breath as they chase the man through a neighborhood, then down Carmel toward I-25.
At one point, they both take a breather, and then, they resume the chase. After catching up with him, they question his motives.
“I am just a guy who has disdain for anyone who looks at this political climate and throws in support for Mitch McConnell, and thought it was funny to take a sign,” he said.
On the women’s Facebook page, they claim the man is a supporter of Ane Romero, Basson’s Democratic challenger in Tuesday’s city council runoff election in the Heights. Romero’s camp says this is all a bunch of bull.
“It’s a video that looks completely staged to us. We had nothing to do with it, and for my opponent to insinuate that in any way had to do with this is slanderous,” Romero said.
Romero says they have no idea who the man is in the video and have their own suspicious.
“That behavior is unacceptable, stealing of any sort is unacceptable. It’s not something I tolerate in my campaign or my person,” she said. “We think this video is a deliberate attempt to make us look bad and diminish voter turn out. I encourage every single person to not let this distract you, get out and vote.”
In the video, the women tell the man stealing a campaign sign is a felony. It’s actually a petty misdemeanor. The women say they did file a police report.
Incumbent Isaac Benton and his challenger Zackary Quintero are facing off in the other runoff election. That’s for the council district covering the downtown area.