White indicated it is Berry’s position on crime and "the false attacks" by Marty Chavez that persuaded him to get involved. Both men have claimed Albuquerque has become a sanctuary city.
“I did not endorse anyone against Chavez in 2005, but Richard Berry is a good man and I know he’ll be tough on crime,” said Sheriff White. “I’m disgusted by the false, personal attacks made against Richard Berry and his family. Claiming Berry is not a businessman is like saying I’m not a cop.”
Just last week, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said he was upset at comments that Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez made at a recent debate about the crime rate in unincorporated parts of Bernalillo County. Albuquerque lies in the borders of Bernalillo County.
Richard Berry has made crime a centerpiece of his campaign, promising to crackdown on gangs, target property crime and end the mayor’s sanctuary city policy for criminals.
Mayor Chavez' campaign quickly responded to our inquiry about White's endorsement. Spokeswoman Joan Griffin, an email to us, wrote:
The Albuquerque Mayor's race is a non-partisan race. The Mayor is proud to have the endorsement of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, the Fraternal Order of Police the Albuquerque Firefighters Association and the National Rifle Association.
But, the Berry campaign isn't wasting anytime promoting the endorsement by long-time Republican White. They've purchased radio time on 770KKOB and are airing these commercials.
In this spot, an announcer states "12-year incumbent Mayor Chavez wants to play games." The ad goes on to describe "facts" about one of Berry's top campaign issues the city's so-called sanctuary city policy.
The spot refers to a 2007 policy which prohibited Albuquerque Police Officers from checking the immigration status of criminals in their custody. Berry has said the policy attract criminals. Berry's ad states that some criminals that are suppose to be turnover to immigration officials were never deported.
Chavez' has regularly said anyone arrested for a crime who is later determined to be in the country illegally is reported to the I.C.E. for deportation, but that the custom's agency hasn't always followed up with deportation. Suspects not picked up within 48 hours can then be released back on to Albuquerque streets.
In the ad, White tells voters the "personal attacks against Richard Berry and his family are desperate and false." He urges voters not to be fooled by them."