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Election

Roger Montoya, Shamed by GOP for Gay Porn Past, Wins N.M. Election

Montoya

The New Mexico Democrat pledged to "build bridges" following an antigay campaign against him from conservatives.

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The GOP failed in its attempt to derail the campaign of Roger Montoya by dredging up his history in gay porn.

The New Mexico Democrat triumphed in his race in House District 40, besting Republican opponent Justin Salazar-Torrez 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent. The incumbent, Democrat Joseph Sanchez, did not seek reelection.

Despite the attacks, the 59-year-old politician pledged to work across the aisle when he assumes office. "As I prepare to serve in the NM State House of Representatives, I pledge to build bridges with my colleagues regardless of the political divide -- our state deserves civility, vision and progress. Adelante!" he wrote Friday.

Montoya faced pressure to drop out of his campaign last month after allegations from a right-wing media source, Pinon Post, that he engaged in "unprotected sex in multiple gay films" using the names "Joe Savage" and "Eric Martinez."

In a responding statement, Montoya confirmed that he had appeared in two adult films as a 22-year-old struggling college student and dancer in Los Angeles "nearly forty years ago, in a very different time and climate."

"I am not proud of that choice, as I was young and naive, but those experiences helped me to understand the exploitation young people face," Montoya stated. "Those experiences do not reflect who I am, and they are insignificant in the scope of my life's work, yet they helped inspire my dedication to my community and the work I do to make sure that youth have opportunities, support and confidence."

Montoya is a community organizer and the cofounder of Moving Arts Espanola, a youth center that focuses on the arts, music, and dance. Montoya is HIV-positive -- he was diagnosed in 1989 as a professional dancer in New York -- and he now helms HIV education classes. He was name a CNN Hero in 2019 for his work.

Ultimately, the Democratic Party of New Mexico released its own statement rallying around Montoya and slamming the GOP for its attempts "to shame a gay man for a choice made in the distant past, while ignoring Donald Trump's long record of illicit conduct."

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.