Group: Block claim false

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By David Giuliani

By David Giuliani

Las Vegas Optic

The campaign of Jerome Block, the Democratic candidate for the state Public Regulation Commission, states that the nation’s biggest Hispanic organization has endorsed him.

However, a top official in the state chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens said that’s not true.

“Please be advised that the league does not make any political endorsements of any candidates running in partisan elections,” LULAC’s state executive director, Pablo Martinez, said in an e-mail to the Optic on Tuesday. “This is contrary to our constitution and would jeopardize our tax-exempt status.”

“I am aware that several members on their own accord are perhaps supporting Mr. Block. That is their right as individuals or private citizens to support whomever they desire,” he stated in the e-mail.

Block and his campaign manager, Jonathan Valdez, didn’t return messages left for comment on Tuesday.

But Block sent by e-mail a letter by Martinez and Phillip Archuleta, state civil rights chairman for LULAC, backing his candidacy.

“We are proud to endorse a qualified and honest candidate who will always, aside of his family, make the citizens a priority and work for their best interest in northern New Mexico,” the two men stated in the letter.

Martinez couldn’t be reached after the letter’s release.

The letter never stated that LULAC itself endorsed Block, but it was on the organization’s letterhead and included the titles of the two LULAC officials

Martinez said earlier in the day that he would ask Block to remove LULAC from the candidate’s list of endorsements on his campaign web site.

“It’s not in our nature to do endorsements. We do get-out-the-vote projects. We have both major political parties represented in our organization. We wouldn’t want to jeopardize LULAC,” Martinez said in an interview.