Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Saga of Jeff Armijo

Today as I write this State Auditor Candidate Jeff Armijo is meeting with the Governor to discuss his political future. As a politician things like this bring chills to all who have run for office. What do you do when an allegation is made with no charges being yet brought? Or may never be brought for that matter. Jeff is adamant about his innocence. I have know Jeff and have met the alleged most recent victim and the unfortunate thing about this kind of case is that they are hard to prove without physical evidence. Not to say that there may not be some as I am not privy nor would I want to be to the Albuquerque Police Departments case. Witnesses in these kinds of cases are usually non existent and unless physical evidence is present it becomes ones word against another's.

A mutual friend of Jeff and mine asked me "what if the D.A. announces she will not press charges or that Jeff is innocent? Shouldn't he wait to drop out in case that happens ?" The truth is because of the politics involved expect no decision on charges to come before Novembers election. Even after November normally these cases if they are not prosecuted just fade away without any announcement. Because I expect the press to continue to ask for an answer, sometime after November the D.A. will either prosecute or announce that there was insufficient evidence to do so.

So what do you do as a politician when this kind of charge is leveled against you and you are innocent? You can not prove your innocence in most cases and your guilt goes unproven as well. You might be the nicest and most honorable guy or gal but how do you escape the cloud that this kind of allegation may bring? In smaller local races you may decide to march ahead and let the voters decide. However, in State wide races your election or loss and the surrounding turmoil can affect the party you belong to as well as other candidates aligned with your party. Do you give up your aspirations for the benefit of the greater good of your party? What must be going through Jeff's mind is what if I drop out and I would have won anyway? And if I run and lose isn't it my race to win or lose? Should I be responsible for other candidates races or just my own? A whole lot of questions that a candidate in this situation must ask his or herself. If you are innocent how does one set that fact aside and resign the race anyway?

I know some campaign workers and true believers in Jeff Armijo. This is becoming very hard for them. They know him or have come to know him personally and they are very distraught over the fate of their candidate. I watch their angst and can't help but admire their loyalty. They truly and with all their heart believe in their candidate. I have seen tears well up in their eyes as they discuss the situation and it put a lump in my throat as I spoke to them. There are those who really put their heart and soul into their candidate and as they work the campaign they truly become personally involved in the fight to get their candidate elected. It becomes a passion and the ups and downs of a campaign affect them as much as the ups and downs of loving relationships affect all of us. It reminds me of the movie primary colors which was not really about the candidate " Jack Stanton" and his run for office but about those around him and how the ups and downs of the campaign effect them. They will do almost anything for their candidate and if their candidate lets them down its not unlike a son or daughter who lets their parents down.

The proverbial "between a rock and a hard place" doesn't give justice to the predicament that Jeff Armijo and the Democratic Party is in right now. I shudder to think if some kind of accusation was leveled against me. In my case not so much for my political career which is secondary to my family. I would hate for my wife and kids to face such a private matter in the public eye. That is really the hardest thing about being in politics. The fact that if and allegation such as this is leveled against the average citizen only the victim and suspect and very few others would ever know about it. For those who chose public service you give up the right to have a private life and that is just something that goes with the territory. Parts of my private life and my families lives have made the front pages or the ten o-clock news and it is just something my family has had to deal with. I do always tell my wife and myself that I had a job and a life before public life and I will have one afterwards. I knock on wood as I thank God I am not in the position Jeff Armijo is in right now. I say a prayer for both Jeff and his alleged victim and hope that however this works out that they will find some kind of peace when this is all done.

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