Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Right-Wing Fanatic Stevan Pearce Will Give Up His House Seat To Run For New Mexico Governor


New Mexico has 3 congressional districts, a very Democratic one in the north (PVI is D+8), a very Democratic one in the center around Albuquerque (D+7) and a pretty Republican one in the south (R+5). Weak moderate Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham represents the Albuquerque district and she's running for governor. Ethically-challenged DCCC head Ben Ray Lujan represents the northern one and he's not going anywhere. But yesterday oil industry multimillionaire Steve Pearce, who represents the southern district, announced he's also running for governor, putting NM-02 into play for 2018. It's not an unwindable district. McCain beat Obama 50-48%, Romney beat Obama 52-45% and Trump beat Clinton 50.1% to 39.9%.

Pearce is an ambitious fellow with outsized expectations and a sense of entitlement commensurate with his bank account. He ran for U.S. Senate twice and was badly defeated both times-- as he is likely to be next year when he runs for governor, even against as worthless a candidate as Lujan Grisham. Last year, even Hillary was able to beat Trumpanzee statewide-- 385,234 (48.2%) to 319,667 (40.0%). Last time Pearce, who was accustomed to winning reelection with around 60% of the vote, gave up his House seat to run statewide, in 2008, the DCCC ran a worthless Blue Dog garbage candidate, Harry Teague. It was an anti-Republican wave election and Teague won 56-44%. But he then proceeded to vote with the Republicans again and again and again and guess what happened in 2010? Pearce ran for his old seat again and Democrats just refused to go to the polls to support the Blue Dog pile of crap, giving Pearce the seat back, 55.4% to 44.6%. In the 3 elections since then, Pearce has been reelected with 59%, 64% and, last year, 63%.
Pearce’s announcement makes him the first Republican to jump into the 2018 New Mexico governor’s race. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez have also been mentioned as possible GOP candidates for governor, but neither has thrown his hat in the ring.

...Pearce said his experience as a member of Congress, a New Mexico state representative and an executive in the state’s oil industry has prepared him for the governor’s job. But he also said he didn’t make the decision to run easily.

“It’s one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made in elected office,” Pearce said in a Journal interview. “We could have pretty well cruised in the 2nd District, but at the end of the day, if New Mexico fails while we are getting some successes in D.C. then that’s a problem.”

...Brian Sanderoff, a longtime New Mexico political analyst who conducts scientific surveys for the Journal, said if Pearce wins the GOP primary election in June 2018 he’ll face a big challenge.

“New Mexico is a blue-leaning state, so Democrats, with all things equal, tend to have an advantage; however many Republicans have enjoyed statewide electoral success over the years,” Sanderoff said.

The pollster also noted that Republicans who have won statewide office in New Mexico have shown moderate political leanings. Sanderoff cited current Gov. Martinez, former GOP Govs. Garrey Carruthers and Gary Johnson, and former Sen. Pete Domenici as Republicans who won elections as moderates.

“Moderate Republicans running with a moderate message have had more success than conservatives in statewide races in New Mexico,” Sanderoff said.

Pearce-- a member of the staunchly conservative Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House-- is frequently mentioned among the most conservative members of Congress.

Pearce downplayed the notion that his reputation as a hard-right conservative would harm his chances to win the New Mexico governorship. He noted that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the 2nd District, yet he’s won the congressional seat seven times.

...Sanderoff said the political outlook might also be challenging for Pearce in 2018.

“He’ll be running in a mid-term of a Donald Trump presidency-- a man who lost New Mexico by eight percentage points,” Sanderoff said. “The party that is not in the White House at mid-term elections tends to have a great political and electoral advantage.”

“The question is what will the mood be in 2018?” Sanderoff added.

...While Pearce is the first Republican to announce a campaign for governor, four candidates have already entered the Democrat primary race. In addition to Lujan Grisham, they are former media executive Jeff Apodaca from Albuquerque, Sen. Joseph Cervantes from Las Cruces and Peter DeBenedittis, an anti-alcohol activist from Santa Fe.
The DCCC has said they were targetting NM-02 but they weren't reallyy. Now they will. There are 5 local activists running for the nomination-- David Baake, an evironmentalist and attorney; Las Cruces activist Ronald Fitzherbert; Madeleine "Mad" Hildebrandt, a Coast Guard veteran, NRA-nut and college teacher from Socorro; and Tony Martinez, a veteran and leader of the Las Cruces Indivisible group-- but now that it's an open seat the DCCC will take the district seriously. They are likely to parachute some rich conservative into the race and try to clear the field, pulling another another Teague situation where a generic "Democrat" wins in a tsunami but, after voting to try to win over Republicans, loses in the first midterm. Same old/same old. The DCCC will never change its stripes while Pelosi and Hoyer are calling the shots.

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