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Not a Smart Move

The Albuquerque Journal has reported that Lt. Governor Diane Denish has decided to endorse District 6 City Council Candidate, Rey Garduño (subscription):

While [Mayor Marty] Chávez wouldn’t comment on Denish’s motivation for the endorsement, he said in reference to Garduño’s conviction in a 1988 shoplifting case, that “given his background, it’s unusual.”

[Lt. Governor Diane] Denish said she was aware of the shoplifting case— in which Garduño pleaded no contest and was found guilty— but said it didn’t dissuade her.

Garduño didn’t reveal the incident on his initial response to the Journal’s candidate questionnaire.

This seems just plain foolish to me. First, you’ve got to wonder what the Lt. Governor is thinking by stepping into this fight. Second, could she have picked a worse candidate to endorse? As near as I can tell, partisan politics aside, Mr. Garduño has two strikes against him.

First, you’ve got a guy running for office, on the taxpayers dime I might add, who was caught shoplifting. Sure, it happened almost 20 years ago. But, he was 45 years old at the time… FORTY-FIVE YEARS OLD AND SHOPLIFTING (subscription):

A police incident report said a Sears store employee accused Garduño of putting a $200 telephone in his bag and leaving without paying for it.

The charge was a misdemeanor and he was issued a citation.

Garduño said the incident was a misunderstanding. He had bought light bulbs and a lamp at Sears and was looking at the phone, he said. He didn’t intend to leave the store without paying, he said.

“It’s not something I planned to do,” Garduño said. “It was a mistake.”

Garduño said he didn’t recall being found guilty. He thought the charge was to be dismissed if he agreed to go to school.

We’re not talking about the mistake of an immature kid. We’re talking about a man, who at 45 years of age, gets caught trying to walk out of a store with a $200 phone. Then, he makes matter worse by running for office and not owning up to his petty theft until he is caught again:

He said Tuesday that he misunderstood the question. A campaign spokesman said Garduño would submit an updated response to the questions. The campaign had thought the 1988 citation was akin to a traffic ticket, not a misdemeanor, the spokesman said.

I’m sorry. We’re supposed to believe shoplifting is “akin to a traffic ticket?” Yet another great example of the caliber of candidates we get when the taxpayer is footing the bill for the election.