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2531Pearce to run for Domenici's seat

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  • Greg Cannon
    Oct 16, 2007
      http://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
      without incumbents.

      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
      registered voters.

      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.