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Congresswoman skips initial television debate in New Mexico

October 7, 2020 GMT
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Temporary election worker Joseph Banar disinfects voting stations as a precaution against the coronavirus, on the first day of balloting in New Mexico at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Santa Fe. Election officials also are witnessing a massive surge in absentee ballot requests. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
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Temporary election worker Joseph Banar disinfects voting stations as a precaution against the coronavirus, on the first day of balloting in New Mexico at the Santa Fe Convention Center on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Santa Fe. Election officials also are witnessing a massive surge in absentee ballot requests. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Republican congressional candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes discussed her campaign alone on local network television Tuesday after incumbent U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland declined the invitation for a live-broadcast debate.

During five minutes of free broadcast time, Garcia Holmes said she believes negotiations on a new federal recovery package should continue in order to help a state with surging unemployment, homelessness and other hardships related to COVID-19. President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared there would be no action before the election on economic-stimulus legislation.

Garcia Holmes, a former police detective and administrator for the state attorney general’s office, applauded the Trump administration’s recent decision to send federal agents to Albuquerque to help with traditional law enforcement efforts, and she characterized her opponent’s approach to crime legislation as “dangerous and radical.”

Garcia Holmes ran unsuccessfully in 2018 for lieutenant governor.

Haaland spokesman Scott Forrester says the congresswoman still plans to participate this week in candidate interviews on New Mexico PBS and a pre-recorded debate on KOAT.

Haaland’s campaign was dissatisfied with terms of the debate proposed by KOB for Tuesday. She planned instead to join an online campaign event for state House Rep. Melanie Stansbury.

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Tuesday marked the start of absentee balloting in New Mexico, including limited in-person voting by absentee ballot at county clerk’s offices.

Haaland is a Laguna Pueblo tribal member who became one of the first Native American women elected to Congress with her victory in the 2018 election in the 1st Congressional District that encompasses Albuquerque.