Former GOP nominee for New Mexico state House arrested over alleged shootings at Democrats' homes

Peña, who received 26% of the vote in 2022, claimed earlier this month that the election was "rigged."
Solomon Pena, Jan. 17, 2022, New Mexico

Solomon Pena, a former Republican nominee for New Mexico state House, was jailed early Tuesday morning in connection to shootings targeting Democratic lawmakers, officials said.

Pena had 15 warrants out for his arrest, including four for conspiracy to commit a felony, shooting at an occupied building and shooting "at or from a motor vehicle," according to Bernalillo County records.

"Pena, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators," Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina tweeted Monday.

Police arrested Pena after a standoff with a SWAT team due to concerns he could be armed.

New Mexico Secretary of State data shows that Peña received 26% of the vote in his failed 2022 bid to unseat Democratic state House Rep. Miguel Garcia, who has been a representative since 1997. Pena claimed earlier this month that the election was "rigged."

New Mexico House Republican Leader Ryan Lane said the state GOP is grateful no one was hurt in the shootings, the Albuquerque Journal reported. He also referenced Pena's criminal history. The nominee had served nearly seven years in prison after being convicted in 2008 of theft.

"This is yet another example of a convicted felon unlawfully gaining access to firearms, which they are barred from owning or possessing, and using the weapon in a manner that causes public harm," Lane said.

His arrest comes after Albuquerque police took another suspect into custody on Jan. 9 in connection to shootings targeting the homes and offices of six Democratic officials, Reuters reported.