The last time SFR checked in on the upcoming Republican primary for the US Senate seat, the campaign manager for front-runner Allen Weh had filed a defamation suit against his underdog opponent David Clements. 

Clements has since filed a counterclaim reaffirming his allegations and dismissing the lawsuit as a misuse of the legal process to “harass a grassroots political opponent with a costly and timely lawsuit during a crucial time period leading up to the primary election.”

Clements, a 34-year-old attorney who until recently worked in the Las Cruces District Attorney’s Office, is representing himself in the process. Weh is a former state Republican Party chairman and CEO of defense contractor CSI Aviation.

The defamation suit dates back to statements Clements made in February alleging that Diego Espinoza, Weh’s campaign manager, hacked his campaign email account and mass forwarded a message in an attempt to alienate Clements’ GOP delegate support. Espinoza flatly denies the allegation and accuses Clements of speaking with malice.

“He just slandered [Espinoza] and adversely affected him to benefit himself,” says Espinoza’s attorney Colin Hunter. 

But Clements maintains he made the hacking allegations “in good faith” and adds that he has proof Espinoza masked his email address and forwarded “one particular email more than 600 times.” 

The men will face off in the June 3 primary.