NM’s tire-slashing candidate gets year in prison


A YEAR IN PRISON: Republican Gary Smith, seen here in a 2012 campaign photo, was sentenced to a year in prison for slashing the tires of one of his opponents and a former campaign manager.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

New Mexico’s candidate for the Sore Loser Hall of Fame is headed to prison.

Tuesday, a district court judge in Albuquerque gave Gary Smith, a former Republican congressional candidate, a 12-month sentence for felony stalking. Smith has been in the Metropolitan Detention Center the past 1 1/2 years.

Smith was caught on videotape in late 2012 puncturing the tires of his former opponent, Janice Arnold-Jones, and was accused of slashing 54 tires belonging to his former campaign manager.

He denied the charges at first, but the video showed a man fitting Smith’s description — he was 65 at the time — damaging the tires of vehicles owned by Arnold-Jones and her husband, who live in Northeast Albuquerque:

Smith signed up to run against Arnold-Jones in the 2012 GOP primary for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

A longshot who had never run for political office, Arnold-Jones challenged Smith’s signature petitions qualifying him for the June primary ballot. Too few of the signatures were valid, a district judge said, kicking Smith off the ballot.

Smith was angry after the decision, telling KOB-TV at the time, “When you go to your own kind, your own brother, your own sister, and they stab you in the back repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly … .”

Smith’s troubles aren’t over.

The judge Tuesday ordered Smith, upon completion of his sentence, to be extradited to El Paso, Texas, to face charges of tire-slashing the vehicles of his former next-door neighbors, as well as threatening to burn down their house.

“The fact that we got targeted is very scary, and it’s clear that something is very wrong with him,” Arnold-Jones told New Mexico Watchdog last month.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski