New Mexicans raise questions over campaign mailer

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State Democrats claim a new mailer sent by state Republicans is racist. The Republican party says those claims are ridiculous.

“We actually started getting calls from constituents who received this mailer at this houses that were disturbed by what they saw in the imagery,” said Alicia Manzano, the House Democratic Caucus campaign adviser.

Democrats said state Republicans darkened the hands on a stock image, warning the public about sex offenders in New Mexico. Republican state Rep. Rod Montoya described the hands as shadowy and gray, and called the claims of racism outrageous.

“A shadowy, gray figure is not a racial category,” Montoya said in a statement. “What this mailer does depict is the danger in which Democrats voted to put our children.”

Montoya said the flyer refers to attempts by Republican lawmakers to restrict sex offenders from getting licenses as beauticians and barbers.

House Majority Leader Javier Martinez said the claims on the mailer mention legislation that both parties agreed on.

“Both of these bills passed with wide bipartisan support,” Martinez said. “One of them in particular was actually a Republican bill sponsored by Sen. Martin Moores.”

Martinez, a Democrat, said the main issue is the imagery and how it comes across.

“To me, it’s not about whatever they slapped on the flyer, it’s that image right there. That’s the real issue,” Martinez said.

Montoya said the racism allegations are just a distraction.

“Charges of racism are simply a smokescreen to distract attention from progressives’ voting records, which put the interests of convicted criminals over the safety of law-abiding New Mexicans,” Montoya said.

The mailer targets specific Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico, and their voting records. Democrats said they were sent out statewide.