2531Pearce to run for Domenici's seat
- Oct 16, 2007http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_7194831
Pearce to run for Domenici's seat
Times wire report
Article Launched: 10/16/2007 03:51:15 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE - Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., will run for
the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Pete
Domenici, The Associated Press has learned.
Pearce, who represents the state's 2nd Congressional
District in southern New Mexico, plans to send letters
to friends and supporters Wednesday notifying them of
his intent, a source close to Pearce told the AP on
Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not
to detract from Pearce's formal announcement.
Pearce will publicly announce his candidacy in "the
coming weeks," the source said.
Pearce is the third well-known candidate to seek the
Senate seat that Domenici has held since 1973.
Domenici is retiring at the end of his term next year
because he has an incurable brain disease.
Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson and Democratic
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez have declared their
candidacies. Several lesser-known candidates also are
running: Democrats Don Wiviott, a Santa Fe developer;
Jim Hannan, finance director of the Santa Fe Community
Housing Trust; and Leland Lehrman, who publishes an
alternative newspaper in Santa Fe; and Republican
Spiro Vassilopoulos, an oil industry investor. The
announcement by Pearce and Wilson, coupled with
Domenici's retirement announcement, leaves three New
Mexico congressional races in the 2008 election
Pearce, 59, won election to the state Legislature in
1996, and earned a spot on the influential House
Appropriations and Finance Committee, which handles
the budget. In his second term, Pearce moved into the
leadership as chairman of the House GOP caucus.
He sought higher office in 2000, but lost a race for
the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Pearce entered the 2nd District race after 11-term GOP
incumbent Joe Skeen announced his retirement in 2002.
Pearce won the nomination in a five-way primary
contest and defeated Democratic state Sen. John Arthur
Smith in the general election.
His southern New Mexico district historically has
tilted in favor of Republican candidates in statewide
races although Democrats account for about half of the
In Congress, Pearce serves on the House Committee on
Natural Resources, which oversees the Interior
Department as well as handling federal water issues
and management of public lands.
Pearce had about $582,000 in his congressional
campaign account at the end of last month. The money
can be used to finance his Senate bid.