Politics can be a dirty game. From harmless ploys to unethical tactics, candidates will sometimes stretch the bounds of morality to secure electoral wins. But when all is said and done, the losers typically bow out gracefully and quietly retreat to their pre-campaign lives. However, the charges being waged against one failed Republican congressional candidate seem to up the ante when considering what’s legal and acceptable in political races and their aftermath.
Gary Smith, a former primary candidate for New Mexico’s first congressional district, was arrested last week for purportedly slashing his opponent’s car tires. See, Smith was knocked out of the running to be a Republican candidate after Janice Arnold-Jones — his opponent — sued and successfully had him removed from the ballot (she disputed hundreds of signatures that were needed to keep him as a viable candidate).
Arnold-Jones inevitably lost her race against Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, but that wasn’t the end of her heartache. The Huffington Post reports that the failed Republican candidate found her car tires slashed on Dec. 20. Four other individuals who worked on her campaign reported similar actions taken against their vehicles. After reviewing home video footage that captured the incident, Arnold-Jones contended that it was potentially Smith who was responsible.
Authorities apparently agreed with her assessment, as he was arrested on Friday and detained on a felony charge of criminal damage to property. He has posted bond and has been denying responsibility for the actions. In fact, in an interview with KOB-TV from the back of a police car, the former politician doubled-down on his innocence.
Here’s more about the story (including Smith’s backseat interview with the local outlet):
Arnold-Jones said that she believes that the tire slashing goes beyond political retribution and that it is essentially an assault on her property. In an interview with KOB-TV, she also noted that the individual responsible (in her view, Smith) is “someone who is not very stable.”
“This is not politics. I know what it’s like when there is political retribution,” she said. “You lose your bills, you lose your office, you lose your parking space — that’s none of this. This is an assault on my private property on our residence and I believe it’s by someone who is not very stable.”
Here’s raw footage of the slashing, which shows a man using an ice pick to destroy numerous tires:
As for Smith, KOB-TV reports that investigators will work to determine whether he is a “Republican serial tire slasher.” If the four other individuals who claim to have had tires slashed can prove his involvement, further charges may be added to his roster.
(H/T: Huffington Post)