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Judge says petition signatures invalid for candidate

February 27, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Democratic primary for New Mexico’s southern congressional district remains a two-way race after a judge upheld the disqualification of a signature petition for Angel Pena of Las Cruces.

Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Joey Keefe said Monday that the agency’s decision to strike 10 pages of signatures was upheld by a state district court judge, leaving Pena without enough signatures to run.

Keefe says signature page headers that contain the candidate’s name apparently were altered in violation of state statute to correct a printing mistake.

Pena could not be contacted immediately. The decision can be appealed to state Supreme Court.

Attorney Xochitl Torres Small and Madeline Hildebrandt are seeking the Democratic nomination. Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is not seeking re-election to Congress as he runs for governor.

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