Bitter U.S. Senate contest dwells on crime, coronavirus

Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads as the first televised debate of the campaign takes place

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Candidates for an open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico are parrying a barrage of political attack ads with the first televised debate of the campaign scheduled for Monday evening.

Scientist and Libertarian Party candidate Bob Walsh also was expected to join the debate in his no-frills bid for Senate without a federally registered finance committee.

Luján and Ronchetti accuse each other of lying and distortions in dueling political ads.

Ronchetti is defending his standing as a scientifically minded Republican and trained meteorologist, as Luján draws attention to Republican President Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.

At the same time, Luján is defending his approach to public safety and crime in New Mexico, as Ronchetti warns of efforts by liberal politicians to defund police agencies.