This story is a staff report from The Paper.


Democrats control one of the most narrow majorities in the history of the US House of Representatives, outnumbering Republicans by just 7 votes with six vacancies. One of those vacancies is right here in New Mexico where former Congresswoman Deb Haaland resigned her seat to become madam secretary overseeing the US Department of Interior.

That razor-thin margin makes every single seat important so it is no surprise that with less than 60-days before the final votes are cast in the special election to pick Haaland’s replacement, the long knives are out and negative ads are flying.

Fact Check: Moores’ attacks Stansbury on Social Security Tax

After launching an odd introductory campaign ad that looked more like a pitch to be the next UNM football coach, Moores followed up this weekend with a new attack ad claiming Democrat State Representative Melanie Stansbury did nothing during the pandemic to help seniors. He also claims she opposed legislation to exempt seniors from state income tax on their Social Security benefits.

(In a move usually reserved for candidates distancing themselves from their own ads, Moores does not share this ad on his YouTube, Facebook or website so we can’t show it to you. But take our word for it — and you’ve probably seen it on TV anyway).

Fact Check: The legislative record

Claim: Stansbury did nothing to help seniors avoid state taxation for Social Securty income.

Fact Check: False.

Fact Check: Stansbury sponsored not one but three different pieces of legislation to exempt Social Security income from state income taxes in the 2020 legislative session. While the session technically ended just as the pandemic began, it is a stretch to claim that she did not work to exempt this income from state taxes.

You can read the legislation and check the list of sponsors on the state legislature’s website here, here, and here.

By the way, Stansbury was the only Democrat in the House to support all three versions of the exemption bill, including one sponsored by Republicans. Expect her campaign to respond that she was willing to work with anyone to get this done.

The language of Moores’ attack is carefully crafted to say that “during the pandemic” Stansbury did not sponsor similar legislation. But given that she was a co-sponsor on three different bi-partisan pieces of legislation to help seniors and other Social Security beneficiaries before the pandemic added new economic stresses, the attack is misleading at best and, more likely, deliberately false.

Oh By The Way: Moores doesn’t appear to have sponsored any legislation to exempt Social Security income from state taxation.

Moores was, however, one of just 3 senators to sponsor legislation lowering taxes on “fine cigars” to from 25-percent, a hefty sum on a cigar costing several hours of minimum wage work, to just 5-cents.

For the record, Mark Moores has not reached out to The Paper. to introduce his communications staff, for an interview or to ask for our endorsement. We’re still waiting.

Nonetheless, we reached out to his campaign via an email address we found online but received no response.