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.