March 13, 2023

Deputies respond to domestic dispute involving state Republican senator

State Sen. Cliff Pirtle

By Daniel J. Chacón, The Santa Fe New Mexican

Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies investigated a domestic disturbance Sunday morning involving Sen. Cliff Pirtle, a leading Republican from Roswell, whose wife alleged she found him in a rented Santa Fe home with another woman, according to law enforcement documents.

Pirtle, who was largely missing from Monday’s Senate floor session, said in a brief interview it was a “personal matter.”

“I would appreciate privacy for my family as we work through this,” said Pirtle, who appeared emotionally distraught.

Just after 10 a.m. Sunday, a Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a home in the 1900 block of Goodrich Plaza Drive in Agua Fría village after receiving a report of a couple yelling outside.

The caller reported two women had driven off in a white Suburban after the incident. The deputy dispatched to the scene saw a vehicle matching the description pull into a gas station at the intersection of Siler Road and Agua Fría Street.

“I made contact with the driver later identified as Aysia Marie Pirtle,” the report states. “I asked Mrs. Pirtle what occurred [and] she indicated to me she caught her husband [Sen.] Cliff Pirtle with another female.”

Aysia Pirtle told the deputy “she suspected her husband of cheating and drove from Las Vegas, NM where they are renting a home,” the report states.

When she arrived at the residence Cliff Pirtle is renting in Santa Fe, “Mrs. Pirtle told me she … looked inside the bedroom widow and discovered her husband to be lying in bed with another female,” the report states.

Pirtle’s wife started banging on the front door, which the senator opened, leading to a verbal altercation that turned physical, the report states.

Aysia Pirtle told the deputy she “shoved Cliff on the shoulder,” the report states. “Mrs. Pirtle said the verbal altercation de-escalated [and] she left the residence with her kids and mother.”

When the deputy approached Aysia Pirtle and her mother at the gas station, he told them the sheriff’s office had received a report of people yelling.

“Well, it must’ve been us, sir,” Aysia Pirtle’s mother told the deputy, according to lapel camera video obtained by The New Mexican.

“It was us,” Aysia Pirtle said, choking back tears.

“So what’s going on today?” the deputy asked.

“When you find your husband with another woman, what do you think? A state senator. Her husband is a state senator,” Aysia Pirtle’s mother told the deputy, adding they were “getting it all out, screaming our guts out, that’s it.”

At that point in the video, Aysia Pirtle started complaining of chest pain.  

The deputy reported Pirtle’s wife was “very emotional and told me she was having a hard time breathing,” the report states. “Based on her statements I had medics arrive on scene to conduct a medical evaluation.”

Another deputy went to the home where the alleged disturbance occurred and spoke with the senator.

“Mr. Pirtle [told the deputy] a verbal altercation occurred between his wife and himself,” the report states. “Mr. Pirtle did not elaborate to the reason on why but confirmed the altercation to be only verbal.”

According to lapel camera video, the deputy informed the senator an ambulance was being called for his wife because she was experiencing chest pains.

“She’s probably having a panic attack,” Cliff Pirtle told the deputy.

Asked if he was doing OK, the senator said, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

“What happened, if you don’t mind me asking?” the deputy asked the senator.

“Just an argument,” he responded.

“Not physical or nothing like that?” the deputy asked.

“Nah,” the senator replied.

“What were you guys arguing about?” the deputy asked.

“Personal problems,” Cliff Pirtle responded.

While on scene, the deputy “did not observe any signs of a physical altercation taking place,” the report states.

“Based on statements made, I was unable to determine if a battery had occurred,” the report states. “I explained to Mrs. Pirtle on how to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO). Mrs. Pirtle agreed, she told me she would be returning to Las Vegas, NM rental home to collect her belongings and head home to Roswell, NM.”

The report concludes by stating “no further action was taken” and a supplemental report would be submitted “if any additional information should arise.”

Cliff Pirtle, a dairy farmer, represents Chaves, Eddy and Otero counties. He has been in the Legislature since 2013. He is known for his outspoken stance on a number of issues, including gun rights, cannabis legalization and representing rural New Mexicans’ agricultural interests.

His Twitter profile describes him as a “hard working, loving father and husband.”