N.M. Governor's Race Turns Nasty

A debate in the race for New Mexico governor turned raucous as Republican John Sanchez and Democrat Bill Richardson sparred over negative campaign ads and questions about one candidate's resume.

Richardson's campaign started running a commercial last week that said Sanchez "faked his resume'' by saying he started his own roofing business at age 18. The Democrats say Sanchez worked as a flight attendant when the Republican said he was a roofer.

At the end of the debate Sunday, Sanchez turned to Richardson and waved W2 tax forms. Crowd noise escalated. Sanchez had to shout to be heard.

"He promised that he wouldn't run negative commercials, and he has,'' Sanchez said. "Mister Richardson, here is proof that those ads that you are running are false — about the early days of my company.''

The documents showed he worked both as a roofer and flight attendant concurrently in the years after he left high school in 1980.

He offered no documents about his work at age 18, but spokeswoman Whitney Cheshire said Sanchez worked several jobs after high school — one of which was handyman, a job she said was the start of his business, Right Way Roofing Co.

After Sanchez's criticism of Richardson, the former congressman, U.N. ambassador and energy secretary was given a one-minute rebuttal.

"My opponent makes things up about me and makes things up about himself,'' Richardson said.

"I was voting for a tax cut while you were taking care of these pieces of paper,'' he said. "I want to have a New Mexico where the political process is joined and we're all New Mexicans.''

Richardson said he didn't want to use negative ads. Sanchez interrupted, asking why he didn't pull the ads. Crowd noise then drowned out all the candidates.

The mostly even-toned discussion that preceded the disruption covered such issues as energy, health care and mental health, water, prisons, drugs and education.