A Republican Party of New Mexico official has been stripped of his leadership post for making derogatory remarks about people in Española on a conservative radio show last week.
The party’s executive committee unanimously voted Tuesday night to remove Taylor Locker as vice chairman of the 1st Congressional District “due to his inability to conform to the policies and guidelines of the party,” the GOP wrote Wednesday in a news release.
“Locker came under fire after he made comments about the Hispanic community while on an Albuquerque radio broadcast last week,” the news release states. “The action by RPNM’s Executive Committee made it clear that such remarks do not reflect the values of RPNM.”
During Friday’s radio broadcast on The Rock of Talk, host Eddy Aragon introduced Locker as the “newly minted” vice chairman and asked him if he was from Ohio.
“Guilty as charged, although maybe this reference will help you,” Locker responded. “We kind of think of Cleveland when we’re down in the Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton area like you think of Española. You gotta keep that fenced off, make sure those people don’t populate with the rest of the state.”
“Wow,” Aragon, CEO of The Rock of Talk radio station, said before changing the topic.
When Aragon introduced Locker, Locker thanked him for the invitation and said, “Glad to be able to use my big mouth for something constructive.”
Unlike other shows, Friday’s broadcast hasn’t been posted online. Aragon declined to explain why the show couldn’t be accessed online except to say he didn’t have “that recording.”
“You’re looking for dirt on the Republican Party, is that correct?” asked Aragon, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District seat earlier this year and is now running for mayor of Albuquerque.
The New Mexican obtained a clip of the broadcast from an anonymous source.
Robert J. Aragon, 1st vice chairman of the state party, said Locker’s remarks “had serious racial overtones,” which the executive committee found to be “wholly inappropriate.”
“Essentially, he indicated that there should be a fence built around Española and the people of Española should not be allowed to breed outside that fence,” Robert Aragon said.
Efforts to reach Locker for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.
As the party’s vice chairman of the 1st Congressional District, Locker’s role was to assist the county chairperson and state chairperson “in any assignments the state chair deemed appropriate,” Robert Aragon said.
“He’s still registered Republican; we couldn’t fix that,” Robert Aragon said. “We did fix what we could fix.”
Robert Aragon said the “wonderful, beautiful Hispanic population” is one the Republican Party of New Mexico embraces. It’s also one the party is trying to court as it seeks to increase the number of Republicans in office.
“I can’t imagine that an intelligent man like that would make such a remark, particularly here in New Mexico,” he said, referring to Locker. “It’s beyond rationalizing, and I think that’s one of the reasons we found it even more offensive.”
Robert Aragon said Locker no longer will have any “official role” with the state party.
“The Republican Party in New Mexico will not tolerate such conduct, such remarks,” he said. “There is no place in New Mexico — there’s no place in the world as far as the party is concerned — for such racially insensitive remarks and attitudes. No place in our party.”
In a statement, state party Chairman Steve Pearce said Locker’s comments were in “poor taste” and that board members acted quickly in removing him from his leadership post.
“RPNM will always be a party of diversity and inclusion, and the Board dealt with the matter decisively and appropriately,” Pearce said.