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Former Sunland Park mayoral candidate still pushing for appeal

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 08:00:49 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Viña reports.

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. -

The controversy surrounding the Sunland Park mayoral election continues almost a year later.

Former mayoral candidate Gerardo Hernandez is still fighting for an appeal of the results eight months later.

Hernandez lost the race for mayor to Daniel Salinas, who was unable to take office after he was arrested.

Hernandez himself has a controversial past after a video surfaced of him getting a lap dance from a topless woman.

Several people have been arrested this year in connection to voter fraud. The Dona Ana County Clerk's Office has found evidence of a handful of fraudulent ballots.

Hernandez thinks there was enough to cost him the election.

"I think it's time to give an answer to the people of Sunland Park. I think it took too long already," he told ABC-7.

Hernandez said the evidence he's uncovered proves without a doubt the results of the election were wrong.

"We're trying to identify the irregularities that happens in the absentee voting stage. We found 158 envelopes that should have been rejected," he said. "I think it was so, so tainted. It was unbelievable. Nobody in New Mexico believes that you can put 316 votes in the absentee station. Nobody believes that."

Dona Ana County Chief Deputy Clerk Mario Jimenez said the evidence Hernandez has is incorrect.

"Those are documents that are not any type of new documents. We received those back in September. Upon a court hearing those will be refuted in court," he told ABC-7.

Hernandez is waiting on a hearing in district court to plead his case and hear the judge's decision.

"The first thing we're going to ask is to throw the whole box of absentee ballots away because it's so tainted with the fraudulent things that happened. Practically the whole City Hall was working for Daniel Salinas in the election," he said.

He said he's confident the judge will rule in his favor so he can be sworn in as mayor of Sunland Park.

"We have to do something for the community of Sunland Park. It's not fair that it's being treated like citizens of second class or something like that," Hernandez said.

A date for the hearing has not been set.

Hernandez said even if he loses the case, he will run for mayor again in the next election.

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