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NM mayoral candidate won't be able to enter city hall, contact workers if he wins
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) ' The mayoral candidate has been barred from City Hall, can't contact city workers and is charged with trying to force an opponent out of the race with a secretly recorded video of the competitor getting a topless lap dance.
That's Daniel Salinas, and he's running Tuesday against the man who received the dance and another largely invisible candidate to be the next mayor of tiny Sunland Park, near the dusty Texas-Mexico border.
Even if Salinas manages to win, the results will likely be challenged in court.
"There is going to be more litigation, regardless," assistant DA Scot Key said, "whether we start it or a losing candidate starts it."
Salinas, who is mayor pro tem, is prohibited from entering the building or contacting the workers as a condition of his release from jail last week on $50,000 cash bond in the alleged extortion of opponent Gerardo Hernandez.
Prosecutors last week took the unusual step of seeking to have the election delayed, citing a state report alleging widespread voter fraud, including at least six residents from nearby El Paso already casting ballots in the race.
Others accusations included a box of 500 ballots winding up in the wrong hands and an unusually high number of absentee ballots coming in on the first day of early voting.
A state judge has declined to halt the election.
Key said prosecutors continue to investigate voting irregularities and they have filed a motion seeking possession of "some questionable absentee ballot boxes."
In addition to election issues, the state auditor is in the town of 1,400 this week investigating the city's operations and finances.
The events are bizarre even for this town, which has seen several police raids on City Hall in recent years and which ceded some authority to the state after a 2004 audit.
Hernandez, Salinas and Jose Luis Hernandez are vying to replace outgoing Mayor Martin Resendiz, who withdrew his bid for Congress after admitting that he signed contracts while drunk with an architectural design firm that is now suing the city.