Heinrich slams opponent over Kavanaugh comments | KOB 4
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Heinrich slams opponent over Kavanaugh comments

Patrick Hayes
September 28, 2018 02:00 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— New Mexico Democrats and several organizations are asking the GOP candidate for Senate to apologize for comments he made about U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich regarding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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Multiple times, Heinrich has asked for an investigation into the sexual assault allegations facing Kavanaugh.

Meantime, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Republican candidate Mick Rich told New Mexico Political Report that they agree the allegations need to be looked into but are still supporting the president’s pick.

However, Rich also told the site he “would like to see Martin Heinrich go to a high school and tell those students, ‘If you went to a party and behaved inappropriately, you have no future.’”

Now, those comments have sparked a backlash and prompted a large group of Democrats to sign a letter asking Rich to apologize.

More than 80 people have signed the letter including Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The letter states in part, “Rather than condemning sexual assault, Mr. Rich instead broadly dismissed the allegations because of Kavanaugh’s age when it occurred.”

Heinrich responded by saying, “I am disgusted by these comments that perpetuate the toxic culture that has allowed sexual assault to be so pervasive in our society. Mick Rich has not only proven he is out of touch, but that he is unfit to serve."

Rich told KOB that Heinrich is taking his comments out of context.

"I said all along all parties need to be heard on the Senate vote for Judge Kavanaugh. That hasn't changed," he said.

Rich also said Heinrich is a hypocrite for condemning Kavanaugh but not Democratic National Committee (DNC) Vice Chair Keith Ellison who is also accused, but not convicted, of sexual assault.

When asked, Rich said he still supports Kavanaugh even after Thursday’s hearing.

"There is no one standing up and corroborating Dr. Ford's testimony. Right now, I support President Trump's nomination of Judge Kavanaugh and having seen and heard the testimony today, I don't see that I would deviate from that support," Rich said.

Meanwhile, one of the groups to sign the letter told KOB, it thinks Rich’s comments send the wrong message.

"The message that Mick Rich sends is that he doesn't take claims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct seriously and as a parent to two young children, I don't want them growing up in a state that is represented by a man who would dismiss something as egregious as sexual assault as boys will be boys," said Rachael Lorenzo, co-founder of Indigenous Women Rising.

Rich also said it is important to consider someone’s age and what they’re accused of doing.

“The whole country is discussing what this stumble is and no one has a clear handle on what this stumble was or even who was involved. Was it Judge Kavanaugh? Was it someone else,” Rich asked. “I’m looking at like, is it high school? Is it junior high? Is it grade school? How far back do we go and what things do we deal with?”

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Patrick Hayes

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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