Job Description: Every state has two senators. They serve longer terms than U.S. representatives, and that means they don't have to spend all their time stumping, ducking and restocking the armory. Senators have more direct influence in Washington, which is probably why all of our state's reps (Heather Wilson, Steve Pearce, Tom Udall) are running for a soon-to-be vacated but still warm seat.
Term: Six years
Office Held By: Sen. Pete Domenici, who's been at the table since 1973 and is the second-most senior sitting Republican.
Pearce, who now represents the Second Congressional District, bills himself as the ultra-conservative, and his campaign snaps at Rep. Heather Wilson for being too liberal. We'll say this for the guy: He showed up.
Pearce was elected to the New Mexico Legislature in 1996 and 1998. He became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003.
Listed as the 21st richest representative in 2006, according to OpenSecrets.org, Pearce owned an oil field services firm called Lea Fishing Tools. More drilling is his answer to rising gas prices. "We may wish we had a renewable car economy" he says, but he adds that he thinks the country is 20 to 40 years away from solar or nuclear energy. The United States needs a coherent energy policy that makes sense for today while investing in renewable energy, he says.
Pearce touts tax cuts as a way to stimulate the economy, along with a cut in spending. The government should be spending less money, though not necessarily less in Iraq. A Vietnam Air Force veteran, Pearce says America shouldn't set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. "We're either going to fight the war here or there," he says. After all, the U.S. is still in Korea and Germany many years after wars in those areas ended. Gen. David Petraeus has changed policy in Iraq significantly, and for the better, Pearce says. Dividends are cropping up, he adds, like decreased ethnic violence. Bush has done pretty well, he says, and the echo chamber that provokes outright hatred for the president is not warranted.
Pearce hammers an anti-abortion message and stands staunchly against embryonic stem cell research. He supports No Child Left Behind because it adds accountability for teachers and incentives to put core subjects back into schools. “Fixing the family” is another means for making better schools, he says, and a way to bolster discipline in the classroom. Keeping families together over the course of generations by ensuring graduates don't move out of state to seek jobs will strengthen the state, he says.
He's against a national health care plan, but he says the country should be investing more in the National Institutes of Health. Small businesses should be able to join with other small businesses to get better rates on insurance for their employees.
Pearce is articulate and specific, and though we may not agree with much of what he had to say, at least he walked in and said it. Still, we can’t bring ourselves to endorse someone we so heartily disagree with on nearly every issue. And since we can’t endorse Wilson, we’re endorsing no one.
It's with intentional irony that we gave Wilson a spot on the info card—she's the candidate we have the least info about. That also means she’s a card that’s entirely without use in this game. She didn't participate in an endorsement interview, and you're not going to get much more from her campaign website. Under "Issues" she talks about national security, border security, fiscal responsibility and her ability to win rigorous races. Her pitch is that she's a moderate, "common sense" Republican and that this gives her a shot against Udall in today's political climate.