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Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R), who gave up his seat last year to run for Senate, announced Monday that he wants his old job back.
Pearces decision sets up what should be a competitive and bloody battle with his successor, Rep. Harry Teague (D).
The two are old friends, both products of the oil and gas industry in Lea County. Years ago, when Teague was a Lea County commissioner, he appointed Pearce to serve on the board of the county fair.
But Pearce said in an interview Monday that he has become increasingly dismayed with Teagues record particularly with his recent vote in favor of a climate change bill.
The cap-and-trade thing was kind of the final straw, Pearce said. Its completely at odds with this state and this district. ... Its not too risky to say that its going to be a very damaging vote for the state.
Pearces announcement comes on the heels of a radio ad campaign by the National Republican Congressional Committee in recent days, whacking Teague for voting for the climate change bill.
Since losing the 2008 Senate race to now-Sen. Tom Udall (D), Pearce, who spent three terms in Congress, has pondered his political future.
Pearce wont hold a district-wide announcement tour until the week of July 20. He decided to accelerate his declaration of candidacy because we felt it necessary to respond to the burning, burning emotions that are out here on the climate change bill.
The 2nd district, which covers the southern half of New Mexico, is conservative territory, though it has more registered Democrats than Republicans. The district gave 50 percent of its vote to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 White House election and until Teagues victory last year had not sent a Democrat to Congress since 1978.
But Teague is a conservative. And his experience in the oil patch may blunt some of the criticism Republicans hurl his way on the climate change vote. The fact that Teague shares a political base with Pearce in the heavily conservative eastern part of the district should also help him.
In a statement released after Pearces announcement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee previewed the lines of attack Democrats will use against him, seeking to tie him to former President George W. Bush and blame him for the countrys financial crisis. The DCCC also listed several votes that it said were harmful to the district and state.
With his reckless fiscal leadership having helped create the problem, Steve Pearces rhetoric about fighting for New Mexico families just doesnt match up with reality, said Andy Stone, a DCCC spokesman. Pearces record is dripping with the kind of hypocrisy that New Mexicans rejected in the last election.
Daniels Moves Toward Entering 1st District Race
Kevin Daniels (R), the owner of a funeral home chain, is moving several steps closer to challenging freshman Rep. Martin Heinrich (D).
Daniels is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee and other party leaders, strategists and interest groups about a possible Congressional bid.