2nd District GOP congressman making a bid for New Mexico Governor
by Carol Bridge
RATON — US Representative Steve Pearce (R- 2nd Congressional District) brought his campaign for New Mexico Governor to Raton December 28, 2017 speaking and listening to citizens and local government officials.
Presenting himself as a moderate Republican to the general audience (that he described as probably mostly Democratic) he talked for over an hour. The discussion ranged from economic development to educational issues with participation from the well attended meeting.
He identified himself as a politician who is able to work across party lines, as a Republican who is willing to oppose the current president on some matters, as a person who is concerned about local issues, especially mental health and education and as a New Mexican who empathizes with poverty as a rural issue. The audience was captivated by his relaxed speaking style and hopeful that a moderate Republican might step forward to begin to heal the political divisions of the state.
Congressman Pearce appears as a polished and professional politician, highly skilled in offering a sympathetic ear to citizens. He has traditionally placed blame on big government, and offers decentralization of power and deregulation as the solutions to all of our problems.
In 2002, Pearce was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served until 2009. With the retirement of Senator Pete Domenici, many New Mexicans were concerned about the loss of a strong conservative voice representing New Mexico in the Senate. Pearce again answered the call to serve by leaving the House and running for U.S. Senate. His bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but in 2009, amidst an economic crisis, the passage of the President’s healthcare bill, and expansion of government regulation, he decided to again run for Congress. As he explained to friends and family, he made the tough decision because he was afraid for his country, and wanted to keep fighting for New Mexico. He was a decorated U.S. pilot during the Vietnam War. Pearce has private sector business experience, selling equipment and tools to the oil field industry, and has a Horatio Alger story to tell that endears him to his audiences. He presents himself as a common man with simple answers for the area’s current woes.
His largest campaign contributors are the oil and gas lobby, and millions of their dollars have gone into getting him elected in past campaigns. As for being a moderate in his party, his past congressional voting record shows he voted a straight party agenda 92% of the time and that he has supported the current president 92% of the time. He has strong ties to the Tea Party faction of the GOP, and by all indications, is in the far right wing of the party.