The Blog

Did the New Mexico GOP Unfairly Bully an Innocent Teacher?

No, the Democrats unfairly portrayed the teacher.

4:00 PM, Oct 6, 2010 • By DANIEL HALPER
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

A recent high-profile ad war in the New Mexico gubernatorial election, which has taken place on television screens across the state, involves GOP nominee and Doña Ana County district attorney Susana Martinez, Democratic nominee and Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish, and a teacher named Freda Trujillo.
It’s a fight that started with a National Education Association (NEA) advertisement attacking Martinez on Denish’s behalf.    

Did the New Mexico GOP Unfairly Bully an Innocent Teacher?

New Mexico gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez

The widely aired television ad from the NEA that blasted Martinez’s education plans and promoted Denish’s policies featured a seemingly random teacher named Freda Trujillo to be the face of its message.  

In response, the Martinez campaign produced a television ad of their own, which pointed out that a few years prior, Martinez and her office convicted Freda Trujillo’s husband of kidnapping, and that he is now in prison serving a 23-year sentence.  Apparently, the choice of that teacher was not as random as some previously thought and the Martinez ad shot a gaping hole in the credibility of the teacher and Denish.  

Bloggers eagerly shared the ad across the country and the video, titled “Convicted,” has over 50,000 views on YouTube.  Yet, the story doesn’t stop there.

Reeling from the oversight in their ally’s ad, New Mexico Democrats accused Martinez of bullying an innocent teacher, adding that this was her ex-husband. Trujillo, in response to the ad, told the Albuquerque Journal that she had divorced Jesus Carmona, whom she married in 2004, and said she agreed with Martinez’s actions that landed Carmona in prison.  

Despite Denish’s claims that Trujillo supported Martinez’s prosecution and the prison sentence, THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that records show Trujillo sent a letter to the judge pleading with him to let her husband get away with only probation.  In it, she describes their domestic life together as husband and wife over the previous two and a half years, and urges that, “Jesus be given the chance to continue his new life” with her instead of going to prison.

Here's a copy of the letter:

The kicker? Prison records, I’m told, show that Trujillo still frequently visits Carmona as his “wife,” enjoying conjugal visits as recently as September 6, 2010.  That’s right – within days of the Democrats and NEA saying that Trujillo had nothing to do with the convicted kidnapper, she was engaging in private visitation rights at the place of incarceration.  

With this revelation, Denish and her allies will have to explain their surrogate’s actions yet again. 

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers