Democrats cannot afford any more scandals.
But they have an ugly one dropped right in their laps at the worst possible time.
Now this big name Democrat got caught paying for the silence of a sex abuse accuser.
In December 2019 former campaign spokesman for New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham James Hallinan tweeted a mysterious accusation about Lujan Girsham sexually and physically abusing him.
“A governor … is not above the law for her sexual and physical abuse of employees including (me!!!) I’ll talk more when I return to the country.” Hallinan posted on social media.
When Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham filed her first quarter fundraising report the details behind the tweet began to leak out.
Lujan Grisham’s campaign made five payments totaling $62,500 to the Atlanta law firm of Buckley Beal that represents Hallinan.
The payments were the settlement for allegations made by Hallinan that Lujan Grisham physically and sexually abused him in 2019.
The Albuquerque Journal reports:
Hallinan, who now runs his own communications company, accused Lujan Grisham in late 2019 — about a year after he left the campaign — of pouring a bottle of water on his crotch and then grabbing his crotch through his clothes as she laughed, an incident he said took place in front of other campaign staffers.
Hallinan said he was talked out of reporting the incident by Lujan Grisham campaign manager Dominic Gabello, who is now a senior adviser in the Governor’s Office.
Lujan Grisham’s current campaign spokesman Jared Leopold dismissed the payments as putting an end to “numerous dubious and disputed potential claims made by Mr. Hallinan arising from his employment in 2018 with the campaign organization and his subsequent search for employment.”
The Governor “strenuously denies that there is any merit or truth to Mr. Hallinan’s claims, including his claims about difficulty finding or keeping work after the campaign,” Leopold added. “They reached a settlement in order to avoid the continuing distraction and significant expense of possible litigation and allow them to concentrate on working for the people of New Mexico during this pandemic.”
Governor Lujan Grisham is up for re-election in 2022.
New Mexico has gone blue in Presidential and Senate elections since 2008.
But in 1994 and 2010 – the first midterm election for the last two Democrat Presidents – Republicans captured the New Mexico governor’s mansion.
The Republican Governors that were elected in those wave elections – Gary Johnson and Susana Martinez – both won re-election and served eight years in office.
Joe Biden’s assault on the energy industry – which is a major driver of economic growth in New Mexico – combined with Governor Lujan Grisham’s scandal could create a political environment that makes it difficult for Democrats to hang on to power.
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