State Sen. Mimi Stewart continues to complain that she was abused by a misogynistic senator throughout a legislative debate final month.
One query sticks with me due to Stewart’s insistence that she was a sufferer.
Was the drawn-out questioning of Stewart by Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, worse than the false and hypocritical commercial Stewart used to assault a girl who’s now her colleague?
Stewart, additionally a Democrat from Albuquerque, was the purpose individual final 12 months for the political motion committee that misrepresented a felony case involving Republican Crystal Diamond.
Democrats feared Diamond would win the election for an open Senate seat in Southern New Mexico. If combating soiled by utilizing character assassination may defeat Diamond, Stewart and the PAC known as New Mexico Senate Democrats have been completely satisfied to do it.
I single out Stewart as a result of she deserves it.
Because the Senate Democratic whip, she was instantly answerable for the nasty direct-mail advert attacking Diamond. The mailer recognized Stewart because the supply of the advert, itemizing her cellphone quantity and tackle.
Stewart and her PAC wished to make Diamond look unhealthy, whatever the fact. They selectively omitted particulars of their advert in hopes of making the phantasm that Diamond was a drunken driver who skirted different legal guidelines.
“Right here’s a sobering thought: Crystal Diamond needs to be your senator,” the mailer from Stewart’s PAC started. “Crystal Diamond was arrested and charged with the next: Driving underneath the affect; driving with suspended license; failure to hold correct insurance coverage.”
Stewart’s PAC omitted that the state by no means prosecuted Diamond. The drunken-driving cost in opposition to Diamond was dismissed in 2006.
Stewart’s advert additionally tried to make it seem that Diamond didn’t have a sound driver’s license or proof of auto insurance coverage the night time Diamond was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.
These citations have been a part of a separate site visitors case in opposition to Diamond. In addition they have been dismissed.
Stewart was unwise to assault a candidate who was suspected however by no means convicted of drunken driving.
That’s as a result of Stewart herself is a convicted drunken driver.
As a member of the state Home of Representatives, Stewart in 1999 was arrested in Santa Fe on that cost. She pleaded responsible the identical day.
Stewart remained a Home member for an additional 15 years. The Bernalillo County commissioners appointed her to a Senate seat in December 2014. Stewart has since been elected and reelected to the Senate.
Her colleagues have been — and are — overwhelmingly males. However gender was no impediment to Stewart rising within the Senate.
Fellow Democrats elected her as their majority whip in 2018.
The next 12 months, prosecutors charged then-Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Ojo Caliente, with aggravated drunken driving and reckless driving. Stewart claimed Martinez’s authorized issues led to an insurgence in opposition to her.
“A few of my colleagues wish to kick me out of whip place cuz of my DWI,” Stewart wrote to me in a textual content message.
She informed me two male senators have been ringleaders within the transfer to oust her. Ivey-Soto was not one of many males Stewart named.
I started calling Democratic senators to see if I may confirm Stewart’s story. She despatched me one other textual content message, this one indignant. Stewart informed me to cease interviewing different senators to test the veracity of her declare.
I saved at it. Just a few senators spoke to me. They knew nothing about any try to remove the whip’s job from Stewart.
Then Stewart modified her story. She claimed the hassle to unseat her really had occurred eight months earlier, when she’d run for reelection as whip.
“It was a really reckless factor for me to inform you as a result of it’s not present,” Stewart mentioned.
Her new story clashed along with her earlier declare. Stewart had mentioned Martinez’s arrest brought on different senators to query whether or not she ought to maintain a management place. And Martinez was not arrested till seven months after Stewart’s reelection as whip.
Stewart remained as majority whip. She was elected to a loftier place this 12 months — president professional tem of the Senate.
Ivey-Soto and a handful of different senators additionally ran for the job.
Democrats management the Senate 27-15. Throughout the Democratic majority, 17 senators are males and 10 are ladies.
Gender bias performed no half within the election. Democrats selected Stewart as their candidate for president professional tem. Then they closed ranks round her to forestall Republican senators from forming a coalition to elect a extra conservative Democrat.
Now, again to Stewart’s grievance that Ivey-Soto was abusive to her. He didn’t assault her personally. He challenged the equity of an modification Stewart proposed on a invoice.
At one level within the debate, Stewart took her seat. Ivey-Soto notified the lieutenant governor, presiding officer of the Senate, that chamber guidelines name for debaters to face.
Did Ivey-Soto go too far? He talked too lengthy, and his harangue was redundant. However Ivey-Soto does the identical when he’s debating a male senator.
Already I can hear Stewart saying I don’t perceive the abuse she endured as a result of I noticed Ivey-Soto’s conduct via a person’s eyes.
I additionally noticed the advert Stewart used to assault one other lady. It was uglier than any phrases spoken by Ivey-Soto.
Ringside Seat is an opinion column about individuals, politics and information. Contact Milan Simonich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-986-3080.