ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Months after a chaotic Donald Trump rally was followed by violent protests in downtown Albuquerque, the Republican presidential candidate’s running mate, Mike Pence, held a lower key town hall Tuesday afternoon.
After giving a brief stump speech in which he repeatedly attacked Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and praised the Navajo Nation for suing the EPA over the Gold King Mine spill, Indiana’s Governor took questions from a capacity crowd inside the Sandia Ballroom at Sandia Resort & Casino. They were on a wide range of topics from bringing jobs to the state and fixing the Veterans Health Administration.
“Donald Trump’s made it clear we’re going to fix that system, we’re going to bring in people to fix that broken system,” Pence said. “It’s appalling to think of people waiting days and weeks for medical procedures.”
One notable absence at the event was Governor Susana Martinez, R-NM, who was travelling out of state in Colorado for Republican Governors Association meetings. When one questioner asked Pence about Martinez’s lack of support for Trump, Pence chose to praise Martinez.
“Well let me say, Susana Martinez is a very dear friend of mine. She’s a great governor, she’s done a great job for New Mexico,” said Pence, followed by loud booing from the crowd.
At his May rally, Trump slammed Martinez’s performance as governor but backed off days later saying he wanted her endorsement and liked and respected her.
During the town hall, Pence also took a question from a man who says he was brutally attacked in the chaos following Trump’s event in May.
Pence’s event had a number of contrasts to Trump’s including a lack of interruptions from protesters during the event and a lack of rioting afterward.
Although New Mexico is not widely considered a battleground state and was won by President Obama by wide margins in 2008 and 2012, Pence encouraged the crowd to turn out and deliver the state for Trump.
Following the town hall, Pence headed to Roswell, a Republican stronghold in the state, for a nighttime rally.
The Democratic Party of New Mexico spoke out against Pence’s visit Tuesday.
““Mike Pence is one of the most extreme vice presidential candidates we have seen in recent history,” said Juan Sanchez III, the DPNM’s vice chair in a statement. “During the event in Albuquerque, Pence spread the same hateful rhetoric that Trump has made the cornerstone of his campaign and promoted the same failed economic policies that continue to damage New Mexico’s economy.”