Freshman Rep Phillip Archuleta Debuts Political Career With Middle Finger
Meet Doña Ana's latest addition to the Roundhouse.
November 20, 2012, 5:50 pm
By Justin Horwath
SFR can sympathize with state representative-elect Phillip Archuleta, D, Doña Ana. --
We've all had those days when we wanted to threaten to stick an amateur videographer's camera up their ass.
Why not? It's not like Archuleta was, seconds previously, driving through the streets of Doña Ana, exhorting its denizens to vote for him in a competitive three-way race just before the polls closed. And it's not like, through a megaphone, he followed the phrase, "[In] Santa Fe, it's time for Archuleta!" with, "And get that camera out of my face--if not I'll stick it up your butt!"
Well--okay. Perhaps that was the case. But those amateur videographers from opposing campaigns can be so aggressive, always lurching from a reasonable distance in open, public space, palms sweating in anticipation of a "gotcha" moment. No--you're not going to give them a handout. This is election night.
Perhaps not. But when said videographer asks if the candidate wants to flip him off again, well, that crosses the line. That wimpy Democrat reputation can be hard to shake.
"Yeah!" says Archuleta.
"Go ahead!" replies the videographer, whose footage of the incident would be uploaded to Youtube by "nmbizcoalition." (Does that sound familiar to anyone? Just one of those silly screen names, right?)
"Come closer!" replies Archuleta, before tepidly flipping off the approaching camera, as if to direct a servant out of the room without having to look up.
It was a disappointing, aimless bird. He didn't let it linger and thus effectively transmit the message. SFR speculates it's at this exact moment--camera feet away--that discernment obstructs Archuleta's free-flowing anger, causing him to ponder the best course of action. He would later say of the incident: "I regret it."
But why turn back now?
"So you're just flipping everyone off, or just...?" asks the unnamed cameraman.
"Just you," interrupts Archuleta.
The cameraman wants to know why.
"Because you have your damn thing in my face," Archuleta reasons. "Just get out of my face!"
"You told me to come closer," says the cameraman.
"You want me to...stick it up your ass?"
There's talk about stepping out of the car. Mercifully, a campaign staffer for Archuleta places herself between the two hostile parties. The PR move potentially altered Archuleta's career--and New Mexico political history: Archuleta reportedly eked past Republican challenger Mike Tellez by roughly 500 votes to take the seat of the Andy Nunez, the enigmatic Roundhouse Cowboy, dethroned from the seat he held for more than a decade after deciding to run as an Independent.
A number of questions linger. Could the race have been more competitive if Tellez or Nunez simply taken to the streets of Doña Ana on election night, shouting profanities through a megaphone? What, exactly, incited Archuleta? We're not sure. But it seems like this ethics blogger fellow Jack Marshall would have an opinion.
Update: This video was indeed posted to Youtube by the New Mexico Business Coalition, a Nunez supporter, as commenter Federico Pena notes. NMBC is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, a dark money group that doesn't have to disclose its donors. NMBC supports pro-business candidates, but it is classified as a "social welfare" organization under the tax code, meaning not all of its activity can be political. Any more information about the incident? Comment or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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