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New mayor of Sunland Park, New Mexico, can't legally enter City Hall

Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/ Albuquerque Journal file / Zuma

It is not clear what will happen to mayor-elect Daniel Salinas, as an investigation is underway of voter fraud, in addition to other pending charges. If Salinas is convicted of a felony, he cannot hold public office.

SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - A man facing extortion charges involving a stripper, and who is forbidden from entering City Hall, has been elected mayor of Sunland Park, New Mexico.

Daniel Salinas was accused of trying to blackmail a mayoral opponent, Gerardo Hernandez, to drop out of the race with a tape showing Hernandez receiving a lap dance from a topless stripper, New Mexico State Police spokesman Robert McDonald said.


He was arrested in late February for extortion, McDonald said. Salinas was later released on $50,000 cash bond on condition he not enter City Hall or contact city workers.

But his name remained on the ballot. On Tuesday, he won the election with an unofficial tally of 637 votes for Salinas and 553 for Hernandez.

"My attorney is looking into changing some of those restrictions so I can go back to work," Salinas told the Las Cruces Sun-News."I am very grateful and very happy for this support."

Setup or sleaze? Would-be mayor of Sunland Park, NM, caught with lap dancer

It is not clear what will happen to mayor-elect Salinas, as an investigation is under way of voter fraud, in addition to the pending charges. If Salinas is convicted of a felony, he cannot hold public office.

"They're still arresting people for voter fraud so it's all ongoing, rolling into one big investigation," McDonald said.

City Manager Jaime Aguilera was arrested along with Salinas and both men are charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with evidence and alleged blackmail of Hernandez.

The election on Tuesday was to replace former mayor Martin Resendiz, who resigned last year after admitting to signing contracts while drunk.

Speaking to the Sun-News, Hernandez said that Salinas should resign.

"Ethically, there is not an option to run City Hall from the outside," he said. "If I were in his place, I would step down."

Salinas told the newspaper that he had no plans to quit.

Reuters and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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