NM-Gov, NM-02: Pearce Will Run in the 2nd, Not for Gov

Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce was last seen playing Wile E. Coyote to Tom Udall’s Roadrunner on some New Mexico backroad last year. Today, he announced that he’ll be back in 2010, to try and reclaim NM-02 from Democratic Rep. Harry Teague, who picked up the open seat in 2008. This comes as a bit of a surprise, as Pearce was considered a top contender for the GOP nomination for New Mexico’s open gubernatorial race in 2010. Pearce framed his decision in terms of Teague’s recent vote in favor of cap-and-trade in this oil-and-gas dependent district:

Former New Mexico congressman Steve Pearce told POLITICO today that he is running for his old House seat – primarily because of Teague’s vote on the energy bill. Pearce had been preparing to run for governor, but said Teague’s vote forced him to rethink his priorities.

“The cap-and-trade vote [from Teague] is the thing that put my decision over the hump,” Pearce said in an interview with POLITICO. “I was absolutely stunned over his vote. When he made the cap-and-trade vote, the hostility in the district was reflected in the way we feel out here. There are 23,000 statewide jobs in the oil and gas industry – and if this bill is passed, this will kill many of those jobs.”

NM-02 may also be a more fruitful target for Pearce than running statewide, as it’s an R+6 district that barely went for John McCain, 50-49, compared with Obama’s 57-42 win statewide… and also considering the one poll of NM-Gov (for the DGA) showed him getting squashed. Plus, this way he doesn’t have to introduce himself to the other two-thirds of the state (since clearly whatever he was doing in 2008 didn’t take). Unfortunately for the Republicans, however, this leaves a field of nobodies in the hunt for the GOP nod for NM-Gov, led by National Guard Brig. Gen. Greg Zanetti. Ex-Rep. Heather Wilson is the only heavy hitter who hasn’t said “no” yet.

29 thoughts on “NM-Gov, NM-02: Pearce Will Run in the 2nd, Not for Gov”

  1. we figured out on here a couple of months ago that Pearce actually narrowly lost his old house district during the senate race.

    So good luck with that, Steve.

  2. I think Teague could probably ride to victory on the coattails of Diane Denish’s landslide governor win in 2010. In addition, Teague outperformed Obama by a lot. Steve Pearce will loose again this time in his own base. New Mexico has had it with republicans especially ones as conservative as Pearce.

  3. Running for Gov after getting crushed would have been stupid.  He has a solid chance in the 2nd to be the only notable Repbublican officeholder in the state.

    If ya had to bet, he’d be the favorite, but by a only the slightest of margins.  The top tier race so far.

  4. Who’s the last Congressman to regain his or her seat after failing to win a higher office?

  5.   I’ll believe when I see it.  It’s hard to overstate how poorly Pearce performed against Udall.

  6. I predict Pearce will be crushed, thats the only possible outcome based on the current New Mexico dynamic.

  7. running for their old seats.  i’m guessing it’s under 50% – maybe well under 50% – partly because demographics change – but also because they seem like old news.

  8. Teague did extremely well in extremely Republican parts of the district in southeastern New Mexico because he’s from Hobbes (in Lea County). Pearce pretty much eliminates that advantage, and there was also probably a really strong Latino turnout in ’08 just because of the presidential election (and the lack of Obama’s strong GOTV organization).

    Pearce is nuts, but NM-02 is also still quite Republican and he’ll be getting a whole hell of a lot more help from the NRCC than the NRSC gave him during ’08. Pearce is going to make us work for this seat.

  9. Congressman Andrews? But that probably doesn’t count because he never actually gave up his seat.  

  10. there’s a great argument to be made for “Hey, he dumped his office for something else, why should he get another chance.”

    Ernie Fletcher won an open seat narrowly in 1998 when the popular Congressman ran for Senate and then he tried to come back to his old seat and lost in a landslide.

  11. Hill lost his seat and then won it back. I know Bob Inglis won his old seat in 2004.  

  12. Senate:

    Bob Inglis – 1998

    Jim Cooper – 1994

    Ron Paul (!) – 1988


    Dan Lundgren and Jane Harman – 1998

    Jay Inslee – 1996

  13. He ran for Governor (and I think Senate), losing both times.  When Newt Gingrich resigned, Linder ran for the seat in the special election and won.  Then, when Zig Zag Zell Miller retired, Linder ran for his open seat.

  14. He started out representing WA-04 in 1992, got beaten by Doc Hastings in 1994, ran for Governor in 1996 and lost in the primary, moved to WA-01 for 1998 and won there.

  15. didn’t win his old seat back (the 4th district currently held by Lincoln Davis, who actually won the seat when it was open in 2002, the same year Cooper was returned to Congress). He instead went back in 2002 by winning in the much more Democratic 5th district.  

  16. Im sure hoping Kos and MYDD raise a big stink about her.  Any viable primary opponents?

  17. NM-02 is traditionally a Republican district and Pearce may have represented that district, but he’s only a 3-term congressman who got his ass handed to him in a statewide election.

    Teague should be considered the slight favorite in this race.

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