Pearce Says Democrats Playing Politics with His Campaign Cash

New Mexico congressman says they are preventing him from using funds for his run for governor

New Mexico’s secretary of state earlier ruled that Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., could use only $11,000 from his congressional campaign funds to use for his campaign for governor. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Mexico Rep. Steve Pearce is accusing state Democrats of playing politics with campaign cash the Republican wants to use for his gubernatorial campaign.


Pearce, who represents New Mexico's 2nd District, is accusing state officials of using stall tactics to delay ruling on whether he can use funds from his congressional war chest for his run for governor, The Associated Press reported.


Last month, Pearce sued New Mexico’s Democratic Secretary of State to let him use $1 million from those funds.


Pearce’s attorney Bill Canfield said Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Democratic Attorney General Hector Balderas’ request for 60 days to respond to the suit is politically motivated to hurt Pearce’s chances.


“They’re trying to hold this thing off as long as they possibly can so that the utility of the campaign transfer is gradually reduced over time,” Canfield said.


The Secretary of State’s office had earlier told Pearce that he could only use only $11,000 from his federal campaign to his statewide one.


New Mexico law prohibits limits campaign contributions to $5,500 in a primary election and the same for the general election. 


“Congressman Pearce’s lawsuit raises multiple complex legal and constitutional questions that could have long-term effects on how campaigns are financed in New Mexico,” said Joey Keefe, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office. “So it should come as no surprise that our attorneys asked for some additional time to respond.”


Balderas’ spokesman said he should not have been named in the lawsuit.


But Canfield said the fact Balderas has endorsed Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham in the governor’s race suggests he is serving political interests.


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