Mayoral candidate says rival sent topless dancer

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — A mayoral candidate in a New Mexico border town says video of a topless woman dancing in his office is a setup orchestrated by political rivals who wanted to force him out of the race.

Gerardo Hernandez’s claim of dirty politics is the latest scandal to rock Sunland Park, a city seen as so tainted that a House representative has called for a state takeover.

Hernandez told KVIA-TV this week that he was in his office with his campaign manager and a job applicant when an unidentified woman began to dance for the three of them, topless.

And all the while, Hernandez says, he was being taped without his knowledge.

“She started dancing, and she was suggestive,” said Hernandez, who claimed the woman was a guest of the man he was considering hiring.

Hernandez maintains he is the target of a setup by his opponent Daniel Salinas. Hernandez said he was at his campaign booth near City Hall about a week ago when he and some supporters were approached by an unknown man in his late 20s.

Hernandez says the man told him that “some merchants in the area want you out of the race.”

The man then threatened to leak a sex video involving Hernandez if he refused to bow out, the candidate said.

“He said, ‘If you don’t withdraw, we’re going to have to release the video,’” said Hernandez, who denies the existence of a sex video. “I said, ‘I guess you’re going to have to release the video.’”

Salinas denies any involvement and said he’s not under investigation for extortion.

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