Local Republicans and Democrats react to second presidential debate

AP-Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (Rick T. Wilking/Pool via AP)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sunday night’s second presidential debate was a big talker locally. While New Mexico Democrats held a local watch party, local Republicans reacted to the debate in different ways.

Before the debate, Hillary Clinton supporters at the Kelly’s Brew Pub watch party said they hoped to see her address the policies she would enforce as President of the United States. After the debate, party organizers believed she did just that.

“She was able to address the questions that the voters gave to her. She was substantive, and I think she provided a plan that was actually a plan,” said Felicia Salazar, the Communications Director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Meanwhile, signs of a divide among New Mexico Republicans.

There was no official GOP watch party here in the state, although the state GOP released a statement following the debate that was supportive of Donald Trump in the wake of 2005 statements about women that have stirred controversy.

“Donald Trump’s resilient performance in the debate was what his campaign needed tonight,” said Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Debbie Maestas in a statement. “Mr. Trump effectively redirected the narrative back toward the critical issues this country faces and the many failures of Hillary Clinton.”

“The Republican Party of New Mexico certainly does not condone the language used nor the actions described in the video of Mr. Trump released on Friday, however we believe Mr. Trump to be a different man than that today and that he is the better choice for president.”

But other Republicans in the state have turned a cold shoulder to Trump. Governor Susana Martinez, R-NM denounced Trump in a statement yesterday saying she can’t support him.

Bernalillo County Republican Party Chair Frank Ruvolo had a hard time picking a debate victor after all the attacks on stage.

“The winners are… well hard to describe who the winners might be out of all this…. the losers are the American public as far as I’m concerned.” said Ruvolo.

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, who was not on the debate stage in St. Louis, released a statement of his own, reading in part:

Americans deserve better. They deserve candidates who are not embarrassments, who aren’t interested in pitting Americans against one another, and who have actually proven that they can lead with principle, nonpartisanship, and a singular purpose of giving Americans the opportunity to improve their lives, be safe, and be free.

That’s why Bill Weld and I are running, and why Americans deserve a chance to see the very different approach we take to governing. — Gary Johnson

All of this comes as the latest polls in New Mexico show a fairly tight race. A recent journal survey showed Clinton with 35 percent support to Trump’s 31 percent, and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s 24 percent.

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