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Richardson’s Appearance Upsets GOP

September 12, 2002

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ An appearance by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill Richardson in the city’s Sept. 11 tribute upset his opponent’s campaign, which said no gubernatorial candidates should have been invited to speak.

But Democratic Mayor Martin Chavez said Richardson was asked to speak at Wednesday’s event because he’s a former United Nations ambassador. Neither Chavez nor Richardson mentioned the campaign at the Albuquerque event.

GOP candidate John Sanchez and Green Party candidate David Bacon weren’t invited.

``It’s unfortunate Bill Richardson is politicizing September 11th for his own gain,″ Sanchez campaign spokeswoman Whitney Cheshire said.

Cheshire said it was inappropriate for any of the gubernatorial candidates to be invited. ``It was a city-funded event, a public event ... and promoted by the mayor of Albuquerque on the radio,″ she said.

``We had made a commitment that we would be sensitive of the victims,″ Sanchez said after attending a Mass.

``He is a national figure,″ campaign manager Billy Sparks said of Richardson, President Clinton’s former Energy Department secretary. ``I can’t believe on such a solemn day that our opponent would continue his attacks, which are baseless and without merit.″

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