On Thursday, it was reported by local and national news that a suspect, Cameron “Chase” McCall had been arrested for vandalizing the Republican Party of New Mexico (RPNM) headquarters by spray painting the words “still traitors” in yellow on the facade of the building. The vandalism will cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 in damages, a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico.
McCall was an intern for then-U.S. Rep., now Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in her Washington, D.C. office while she served in the U.S. House. According to his LinkedIn profile, McCall worked for Lujan Grisham for six months. Despite the Governor’s spokesman commenting that McCall interned for Lujan Grisham “ for a brief period,” and saying “that fact amplifies her already extreme disappointment in what took place,” McCall’s internship went on for more than double the length of time a traditional Washington, D.C. internship lasts: 3 months. Furthermore, McCall was spotted at official events for Lujan Grisham’s gubernatorial run in 2018, showing McCall’s connection to the governor occurring after his internship.
Last March, the RPNM headquarters was attacked in an eerily similar way to the most recent tagging, with the word “traitors” emblazoned in gold spray paint on the same spot of the building. The latest attack appears to be a sequel to last year’s tagging, unclear if Cameron “Chase” McCall is responsible for both.
However, shortly after last year’s vandalism to the RPNM headquarters, a nameless, faceless blog tied to ex-state legislator Rod Adair called the “New Mexico Political Journal,” (NMPJ) wrote a post blaming two former RPNM staffers, Dinah Vargas and Stella Padilla—#WalkAways from the Democrat Party—for the vandalism of their own workplace.
NMPJ claimed the two women either physically vandalized the building themselves or were “in cahoots” with the perpetrators. It was also claimed that the Honorable former U.S. Rep. and current Chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party Steve Pearce used the two women—who happen to be Hispanic—as “identity politics tools” [sic] and “props.” The assertion that the two women were simply hired because of their sex and race reveals the perspective the New Mexico Political Journal has toward certain demographics of the population.
On Wednesday, radio broadcaster Eddy Aragon from Albuquerque’s Fox News affiliate, “The Rock of Talk,” noted that Sam Bregman, the former Chairman of the New Mexico Democrat Party’s son, Alex, is the Houston Astros’ third baseman involved in the recent sign-stealing scandal. Aragon noted Bregman’s 2016 comments appearing to support sign-stealing.
Aragon’s reporting of the news appears to have struck a nerve, as he received derogatory graphics via text message late that same day from an anonymous phone number. The phone number has now been independently identified as a provocateur named Roger Rael. The graphics feature photographs of Aragon photoshopped as a clown, claiming he’s a “fraud,” among other attacks. Another photoshopped graphic featured me (John Block) with claims that I am “saving Eddy’s reputation,” among other things.
Another graphic featuring a screen capture of alleged RPNM vandal Cameron “Chase” McCall, appears to claim that the man pictured is actually Aragon and that he vandalized the Republican Party headquarters “to gain radio listeners for ratings boosts,” [sic] invoking the name of Dinah Vargas. The graphic repeats New Mexico Political Journal’s false claim that Vargas previously staged an attack on RPNM to make “her look like a victim.”
As reported previously, the New Mexico Political Journal has gone to great lengths to attempt to besmirch the names of multiple individuals, including Chairman Steve Pearce, who just this week was misrepresented as anti-Trump despite Pearce publicly stumping for Trump in 2016, and again last year at President Trump’s Rio Rancho rally. The party-dividing attack came as Pearce and conservatives across the state assembled for a unity rally at the Capitol building in Santa Fe.
Other malicious attacks by NMPJ include calling supporters of the New Mexico Republican Party “cult” members, “toadies,” and other such names. The blog also defended a former Bernalillo County GOP official who called members of the President’s “Trump Victory” team “Nazis.”
After I asked questions based on facts about U.S. Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti, such as his hiring of Jay McCleskey (former handler to NeverTrump ex-Gov. Susana Martinez) to run his campaign, NMPJ ran story after story trying to blast me and others including Eddy Aragon as “trolls” hired by the Republican Party to take down Ronchetti. NMPJ wrote a glowing review of Ronchetti before I or anyone else began vetting him.
NMPJ’s prattle was later mimicked by Ronchetti himself, claiming anyone who asked questions were “little Facebook trolls who are in their parents’ basement with their Cheeto-stained fingers.” The mere asking of questions and drawing connections based on available evidence appears to have triggered violent responses by NMPJ, their viewers, and the candidates they support.
The ad hominem attacks by the New Mexico Political Journal in their writings, and their radicalized apparent readers, such as Roger Rael—who caused a verbal and physical fight just days ago at the Colfax County GOP pre-primary convention—shows an apparent concerted effort by small clusters of fringe “GOP” provocateurs to try and cause harm to peoples’ reputations, credibility, and their intelligence merely for supporting Republican Party leadership.
At the end of the day, there should be no place for the bile spewed forth from those only looking to take jabs at fellow Republicans over personal vendettas or to win a primary election. People such as myself, Eddy Aragon, Dinah Vargas, Stella Padilla, and Chairman Steve Pearce are not currently running for office in 2020 nor are we vandalizing private Republican Party of New Mexico property for publicity. Merely asking questions, vetting candidates, or supporting Republican causes should not trigger such calumnious responses.
Some people in our state still stand for truth, want unity in our party, and want strong, rock-solid conservatives leading our movement, despite where they come from. The unconscionable personal attacks on some for the sake of bitter hatred for themselves and jealousy of others should be intolerable in our unified Party. Everyone should condemn the slanderous and illegal attacks on the Republican Party headquarters, and on fellow Republicans who simply are fighting to make New Mexico a better place through electing Republican leaders.
In 2020, President Trump is on the ballot, and our greatest priority should be to support him and support candidates who put New Mexico first. That’s what I’m committed to doing, and I will never stop fighting for our Republican values.