Solomon Pena, a Republican candidate who lost a New Mexico seat in 2022’s midterm elections, has been arrested by the police in connection with a number of shootings targeted at the homes of Democrats

Albuquerque police arrested Pena on Monday on allegations that he paid four individuals to shoot up the homes of elected Democrats. Among their targets were the homes of two county commissioners and two legislators. Pena also allegedly tried to participate in one of the shootings.

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An arrest warrant of the Albuquerque police said that he “intended to (cause) serious injury or cause death to occupants inside their homes,” CNN reported.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said that the investigations suggest these shootings were indeed politically motivated,” further adding, “At the end of the day, this was about a right-wing radical, an election denier who was arrested today and someone who did the worst imaginable thing you can do when you have a political disagreement, which is turn that to violence”.

Who is Solomon Pena?

Solomon Pena is a 39-year-old Republican politician who contested in the 2022 midterm elections for New Mexico’s House District 14 seat. 

Pena ran unsuccessfully in November against incumbent state Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, the longtime Democrat representing House District 14 in the South Valley. Pena got just 26% of the vote, but refused to concede.

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The shootings began just days after those conversations, according to a criminal complaint.

House District 14 in the South Valley is now held by veteran Democrat Miguel P. Garcia, who was unsuccessfully challenged by Pena in the November election. Despite receiving only 26% of the vote, Pena wouldn’t give up.

Then, according to authorities, Pena unexpectedly turned up at the houses of the elected officials bearing what he said were documentation proving his victory. In New Mexico in 2020 or 2022, there was no proof of significant voter fraud or any irregularity involving enough ballots to influence the outcome.

According to a criminal complaint, the shootings started only a few days following those chats.

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Pena is a staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump. After his election loss, he had tweeted, “Trump just announced for 2024. I stand with him. I never conceded my HD 14 race. Now researching my options.”