In a formal mea culpa, state Sen. Phil Griego, D-N.M., has apologized to two liberal advocacy groups and retracted a claim made in a campaign ad he ran shortly before the June primary.
In the ad published in the Albuquerque Journal, Griego accused Neri Holguin, campaign manager for Griego's Democratic primary opponent, Jack Sullivan, of being on the payroll of two organizations, the Center for Civic Policy and the Southwest Organizing Project. The two groups earlier in the year had sent out a mailer blasting Griego's voting record.
In a piece written by Griego and published on Wednesday's Journal North opinion page, the senator said, "After meeting with CCP and SWOP, I now believe that was not the case and I wish now to correct the record. ... These regrettable accusations may have caused these organizations potential harm to their reputations."
Both groups are tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, which by law cannot directly participate in elections. In June, Javier Benavidez of the Center for Civic Policy told The New Mexican that Holguin was not not on his organization's payroll, though in 2009 she had a one-month contract to research issues related to the state's Hispanic population.
Benavidez said Wednesday that the groups asked for a retraction shortly after the ad ran and were considering a lawsuit if no retraction came.
He said he was happy with Griego's apology: "It means a lot to us. We hope it will send a message to other candidates."
Griego, who represents the sprawling, mostly rural District 39, which includes part of Santa Fe County, defeated Sullivan in the primary. He now faces Republican Aubrey Dunn of Mayhill in the general election.
Despite his bumpy history with the groups, in his apology, Griego wrote, "These organizations provide important education and advocacy resources to underrepresented communities in New Mexico. ... While I do not always agree with their views on these issues, I applaud their extensive track records of contributing to healthy debate toward finding solutions to these pressing issues and for encouraging New Mexicans to become more vocal and empowered in policy-making decisions.
"I hope that by setting the record straight, both [organizations] can continue with their important work, unencumbered by gossip and innuendo," Griego said.
Most Popular Stories
- Ex-Mobster to Bulger: Just Say Sorry
- Google Stock Split Ahead
- Guns Are Hot in California
- El Paso Symposium Offers Help to Startups
- OSH Selling Most of Its Stores to Lowe's
- MillerCoors Taps New Hispanic Ad Agency
- Small Businesses Hiring, but Worry About Expense
- First Person Cured of AIDS Virus Wants to Help Others
- LULAC Convention Starts With Focus on LGBT Youth
- Honda Says Sorry About the Lack of Electric Fits