Record Staff Writer
The chairman of the Chaves County Democratic Party sent a strongly worded email to members Friday, throwing his support behind “party friend” Mayor Del Jurney.
In the email, chairman Fred Moran asks county Democrats to get the word out by emailing and calling friends and family and urging them to vote for Jurney. He also told them that mayoral candidate Dennis Kintigh was “wrong for Roswell.”
Moran confirmed he sent the email Friday from his personal account, but asked the Record not to publish the contents.
“That email that you have, it’s not for publication. That was a private email to private Democrats,” Moran told the Record. “I wouldn’t publish it if I were you.”
Jurney said endorsements are always positive.
“People are always endorsing various candidates,” Jurney said. “Endorsements are always positive and the support that it shows for the candidate. I would look at this one in the very same way.”
Although the position is non-partisan, both candidates are Republicans. For Moran, he said the decision came down to choosing the “lesser of two evils.”
Moran doesn’t think Jurney has gone far enough, but he’s headed in the right direction.
“It’s like two bald guys fighting over a comb, in the eyes of Democrats,” Moran said.
Jurney has been a friend to the Democratic Party since in office, according to Moran. With Jurney, Democrats have access to the office, he’s open to listening and he’s a good man.
“Democrats don’t have a big part to play here in Chaves County, but we’ve always been able to reach out to the mayor for things,” Moran said.
When the party needed to host the Fall State Central Committee in Roswell, Jurney intervened and secured the Civic Center for the event. He helped the party host a barbecue on the Chaves County Courthouse lawn and personally welcomed the state central committee to Roswell.
Jurney also gave the Civic Center facilities to the group to host an event to help raise funds for former Sen. Tim Jennings, which raised $36,000 for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southeast New Mexico.
Jurney said he often helps groups get access to city venues, but he is more of a facilitator.
“We’ve done that for multiple organizations and for multiple reasons,” Jurney said.
Moran contends that Kintigh, a former state representative, is “spending big dollars” on mailers, advertisements and telephone push polls.
He said he feels Kintigh is a partisan politician and his campaign is railroading Jurney by raising funds from outside the region.
Kintigh dismissed allegations in Moran’s email as false and misleading, including a quote Moran apparently took out of context that characterized Kintigh as calling community members names.
“I think Mr. Moran is way off base,” Kintigh said.
Kintigh said as a state representative, and as a law enforcement professional, he had spent years reaching out to different segments of the community to work collaboratively on issues.
Kintigh met with Moran last fall and offered to appear before the county Democratic Party, he said. He offered to answer any questions the group had.
“What I was told subsequently was the Democratic Party of Chaves County did not want to hear me,” Kintigh said.
However, several state Democrats have openly supported Kintigh’s campaign, he said.
“ As mayor, I will reach out and initiate conversations with all parts of this community,” Kintigh said. “I’ve reached out to, and met with, former Mayor Bill Brainers, former Mayor Tom Jennings, visited with (former) Sen. Tim Jennings, a number of times. I don’t have a problem visiting with any individual, or groups of individuals, in this community. And, I think my record clearly demonstrates that.”