Sheriff’s campaign turns ugly after restaurant run-in

BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – A sheriff running for re-election is now the subject of a police investigation after his opponent’s mother had a run-in with him at a restaurant accusing him of campaign hijinks.

Sandoval County Sheriff Doug Wood, who’s running against Deputy Jesse James Casaus, says she’s imagining things.

Elizabeth Aguilar, Casaus’ mother, says she put her son’s campaign cards on a table in the foyer at the Range Cafe in Bernalillo Thursday night.

She and two others sat down for dinner, and shortly after, Wood arrived with his friends.

“When we were leaving the restaurant, I noticed all the cards were gone,” said Aguilar.

She says in their place was a stack of Wood’s cards, so she went to confront him.

“I said, ‘Doug Wood, this is not very good sportsmanship of what you have done. We know what you’ve done, here’s your cards,'” she said.

Wood tells News 13 she threw his cards on his plate of food.

She says she put them on his table.

Through all this, Wood kept denying he ever touched Casaus’ cards.

Aguilar’s brother says he got involved when Wood stood up from the table.

“So I’m just being a brother and I step in and I say, ‘Yes, you did,’ because he was denying it, using the f-word and saying, No, I didn’t,'” said Felix Aguilar.

What happened next is being investigated as assault by Bernalillo Police.

“He grabbed my neck and with his other hand he grabbed my arm and he turned and got in my face and he’s walking me like that out in to the lobby,” Felix said.

Wood says he simply “put his arm around him” to calm him down, and denies touching the campaign cards.

The report also says Wood made a strange comment.

“He said, ‘Tell Jesse not to bring a pocketknife into the woods,'” Aguilar said.

News 13 asked Wood about that, too. He didn’t deny saying it.

He said that expression meant Casaus “wasn’t prepared to run for sheriff.”

“He acted in a way that he was going to use his office to get back at us. And he still might,” Felix said.

News 13 looked at that same table of cards on Friday.

Both sets of campaign cards were there, but Casaus’ were torn up.

Wood said he would provide a statement to News 13, but had not provided anything by the time of the broadcast.

Casaus told News 13 his mother did the right thing by reporting the incident.

Both sides pointed out there were plenty of witnesses.

News 13 tried to talk to employees of the Range Cafe, but they said they did not want to get involved.

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