A campaign manager for mayoral candidate and City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler said Santa Feans shouldn’t expect any more fireworks from her at Thursday’s forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County.
Vigil Coppler surprised a crowd at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night when she alleged Webber had told her in a meeting between the two, perhaps more than two years ago, “not to get her panties in a twist.”
She lobbed the allegation during closing statements in the second session of a two-day candidate forum.
Sisto Abeyta, Vigil Coppler’s campaign manager, said she felt it was important to get the allegation out following a discussion during the previous evening’s forum on managerial styles.
“This was not an easy decision for the councilwoman to do,” he said. “It was very difficult for the councilwoman to come to this decision.”
Abeyta said viewers shouldn’t expect another “October surprise” when Vigil Coppler takes a seat Thursday evening at The Santa Fe New Mexican’s Marcy Street building, where she will join Mayor Alan Webber and former congressional candidate Alexis Martinez Johnson in a discussion about issues facing the city.
The League of Women Voters will start the forum at 6:30 p.m. and it will be streamed live on The New Mexican‘s website, sfnewmexican.com.
Abeyta said Vigil Coppler’s campaign looks forward to talking about the issues Thursday.
Vigil Coppler has not provided a date when she alleges Webber made the offensive comment.
After Tuesday’s forum, Webber denied her claim in a statement in which he opined the revelation was due to the election season.
He did, however, acknowledge in a handwritten letter in February 2020 that Vigil Coppler had informed him he had said something she found “appalling.”
In a text message, Sandra Wexler, Webber’s campaign manager, slammed what she felt was an attempt by Vigil Coppler to take Tuesday night’s substantive debate at the Lensic on the city’s housing crisis and turn it into an attack ad.
Wexler wrote in the text the allegation is “why people hate politics and don’t trust politicians.”
“That’s what makes good people feel bad about the people they elect,” she wrote. “It’s not the policies. It’s the politics. We’ll keep sticking to the issues, regardless of what [Vigil Coppler] does.”
Tuesday’s allegation was the second major claim of the mayoral campaign cycle so far. Last month, Vigil Coppler alleged Webber ordered police to stand down as protesters pulled the Plaza obelisk from its base nearly a year ago, on Indigenous Peoples Day. Vigil Coppler said anofficer had given her the information, but she has not provided any evidence to support her claim. Webber has denied he made the call, stating mayors do not interfere with police work, but said he was supportive of the decision. City officials and police have said a commanding officer made the call for officers to leave the Plaza, before the monument was toppled, as rallygoers began to get into skirmishes with officers.