State rep apologizes for “Anglo” attack

LOS LUNAS, NM (KRQE) – A day after saying his remarks weren’t meant for the media, state Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, apologized Wednesday for race-based attacks on two fellow Democrats.

The remarks were made in an email Garcia sent out late Monday. He wrote it to support Valencia County state rep candidates Andrew Barreras and Frank Otero. But he also warned against supporting their primary opponents, two “Anglo Democrats with egos as big as Texas, mouths as big as the Grand Canyon and much “green” [moolah] from the East and the West Coast.”

Those candidates, former coach and principal Jim Danner and Dr. Teresa Smith de Cherif fired back Wednesday.

“I looked at it and I [told] myself… hmmm,” Danner said. “Welcome to politics.”

“I was disappointed in the commentary that was circulated because Representative Garcia doesn’t know me,” Smith de Cherif said in a phone interview. “These kind of comments do nothing but divide the party.”

Although Garcia is declining to answer questions about what he wrote, but did send both candidates an apology Wednesday afternoon.

In it he wrote in part:

In the email I used inappropriate language to define your character.  Regardless of what I think your reason are for running for State Rep — I want to ask for your forgiveness regarding the negative manner in which I questioned your character or campaign pursuits.

It is not in me to speak negatively of fellow Democrats, or anyone for that fact, that I am not personally acquainted with or familiar with.  In my legislative career I pride myself on always taking the “moral high ground” on issues of bigotry, discrimination, inequality, prejudice, intolerance, hatred — I faltered in reaching that in my email.

Garcia also called both candidates as well. Danner and Smith de Cherif have accepted Garcia’s apology.

“We had a good long conversation,” Danner said. “He was very sincere.”

“It took a real man to do what he did and I appreciate that.”

“We had a very cordial conversation,” Smith de Cherif said. “As a matter of fact I invited him to have cafe con leche.”

Whoever wins the Democratic primary races will face off against two incumbent Republican representatives in the general election.

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