Former Rep. Steve Pearce (R) took the seat in 2002 and held it through three cycles until he opted to run for Senate against fellow former New Mexico Rep. Tom Udall (D). It was a bad year for Pearce to run for the Senate; he lost 61 to 38 percent. In the House race to replace Pearce, Harry Teague (D) flipped the seat for the Democrats with a margin of 11 points. Now Pearce wants the seat back.
The race between Pearce and Teague is very close and, despite almost six months of campaigning, no significant shift has occurred in public support for either candidate. A public policy poll (PPP) taken in February had Pearce up 2 points. A poll Pearce commissioned in the same month had him up by 4 points. While nothing has been disclosed, neither candidate’s internal polls have been groundbreaking enough to merit their release.
A new campaign finance report released Thursday showed that Pearce outraised Teague in the last quarter $462,000 to $317,000. Both have over $1 million in cash on hand. But the money battle is not as even as FEC disclosures would suggest. Teague’s companies are facing a $2.7 million lawsuit for failing to repay loans on equipment they rented in 2006. For his first House race, Teague put $1.5 million of his own money into his campaign. He certainly cannot duplicate that amount this year.
At first glance, it looks like this seat is trending toward the Republican, and RCP classifies this race as “leaning” toward the GOP. Democrats, however, hold high hopes for this seat. In a state where Hispanics outnumber any other ethnic group besides whites (44.9%), Democrats are hoping that the
Both races are within the margin of error and deserve close scrutiny as Election Day comes closer and closer. NM-02 may serve as a bellwether to measure the impact that
Noah Rothman is the online editor at C&E. Email him at email@example.com