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New Mexico: Race for Pearce’s Seat Is Getting More Crowded

Two top-tier candidates have their sights set on replacing Rep. Steve Pearce (R) in the 2nd district, with wealthy rancher and restaurateur Ed Tinsley (R) and state Rep. Joe Cervantes (D) prepared to enter the race within days, if not sooner.

Democrats and Republicans in New Mexico are excited at the prospect of landing Tinsley and Cervantes as candidates in the GOP-leaning southeastern New Mexico seat. Pearce is running for Senate to replace retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R) and his decision to vacate his House seat has touched off competitive primaries on both sides of the aisle.

“Tinsley’s got the financial resources,” said one GOP source based in New Mexico. “And, being a rancher from Lincoln County, he’s got fairly good ties to the ranching industry, which is big down there. He seems to be a fairly good fit for district.”

Tinsley was the runner-up to Pearce in the Republican primary when Pearce first was elected in 2002. He would be the first Republican to enter the primary this cycle.

Cervantes has been calling powerful Democrats throughout New Mexico over the past few weeks informing them that he intends to run for the 2nd district seat.

According to one Democratic source based in the Land of Enchantment, Cervantes spoke over the weekend before the New Mexico Democratic Party’s State Central Committee. Cervantes spoke in the time slot reserved for Democrats who want to run in the 2nd district.

Cervantes did not say during his remarks when he would launch his candidacy but has been telling people he intends to do so “very soon.” He would join Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley, former Lea County Commissioner Harry Teague and retired minister Al Kissling in the Democratic race.

— David M. Drucker