SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) — The first Republican is entering the race for governor, giving up his seat in Washington to do it.
Congressman Steve Pearce announced his run Monday.
Pearce, a native of Hobbs, has served seven terms in Congress, but said it’s time to come home.
Most politicians strive to make it to Washington as a career goal, so why would Pearce give that up?
“I am one of 435 in Washington. Here you are CEO of the state, and that says that we can do much more from here, so attacking problems again there you are working, working on national policy, some of which will affect things here, but you here you are working on things that affect New Mexico right now,” Pearce explained.
Pearce said if New Mexico wasn’t suffering so much, it would have been a tougher decision. He said a recent headline calling New Mexico one of the four “unrecoverable states” hit him hard.
Pearce will finish out his Congressional term, which ends in December 2018.
Among his opponents is Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.
It is rare for two members of New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation to leave their posts to run for a state office. That alone could make this election an interesting one.
Pearce’s team has already conducted a poll asking people who they would vote for in a face off between Lujan Grisham and Pearce. The results were 47 percent in favor of Michelle Lujan Grisham and 43 percent for Pearce.
Political Science Professor Gabe Sanchez said there are other issues at play here as well.
“Let’s remember Pearce has been winning a district where there is a majority Democratic race. He can argue, ‘I’ve been there, done that. I know how to win a Democratic leaning place…I can pull this off,'” Sanchez explained.
The big challenged for any Republican is the current political situation, with a current Republican governor. Many predict a swing to the other side because many are not happy where the state is headed now.
Sanchez said a big downfall of all this is New Mexico losing its seniority in Washington.