A failed MAGA Republican New Mexico legislative candidate, who refused to accept his election loss, was arrested for a series of shootings at the homes of local Democratic leaders.
Albuquerque police arrested Solomon Peña on Monday for conspiring with and paying four men to carry out shootings in recent weeks at the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two state legislators. No one was injured in the attacks.
Police said they suspected Peña was angry that he lost his race for the state House of Representatives. Peña received a mere 26 percent of the votes to Democratic incumbent Miguel Garcia’s 76 percent, according to the New Mexico secretary of state’s office.
“He had complaints about his election he felt being rigged,” police spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said at a press conference Monday evening. “As the mayor said, he was an election denier—he doesn’t want to accept the results of his election.”
Despite the not at all close race, Peña refused to concede, tweeting, “I dissent. I am the MAGA king,” the night of November 9. A few days later, when Donald Trump announced he was running for president again, Peña tweeted his support for the former leader and said he had not conceded his own race.
“Now researching my options,” he added ominously.
Peña embraced Trump’s election denialism, even appearing to attend the January 6, 2021, rally that turned into the insurrection, according to a photo he shared on Twitter. He repeatedly insisted that his own election was rigged. After the results were in, he approached three of the four targeted Democratic officials at their homes, claiming he had proof the election was fraudulent and arguing it should not be certified. The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to certify the election results.
Over the course of 2022, Peña also made almost two dozen donations to the Lyndon Larouche PAC, which was founded by far-right political activist and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche.
Albuquerque’s Democratic Mayor Tim Keller praised Peña’s arrest, urging city residents to “push back against hate in all forms and stop political violence.”
Peña is just the latest example of politically motivated attacks, particularly around the midterm elections. Election workers have seen a massive increase in threats and harassment since Trump refused to accept the 2020 election results. States ramped up protections for poll workers ahead of the midterms in November, especially after there were reports of armed self-appointed poll watchers showing up at ballot boxes.
And just weeks before the midterms, a man broke into Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco and attacked her husband with a hammer.