Independent from Texas part of tight congressional race

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Congressional District 2 candidate Steve Jones

A former Texas tourist has set up shop in Ruidoso and launched a campaign for Congress.

Steve Jones, 74, is an independent running to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers southern New Mexico.

After years of vacationing in New Mexico from their home in Texas, Jones and his wife moved to Ruidoso after he retired in December.

“If you get to pick where you want to live, you don’t pick Midland and don’t pick Odessa (in Texas). You pick Ruidoso,” he said in an interview.

A trained accountant, Jones said for much of his career he was an executive for different energy companies, often based in west Texas. The work also included years traveling to the different corners of the globe. The hobbies he picked up along the journey include being an instrument-rated pilot, skier, scuba diver and sailor.

Though retired, Jones said he still is very active in the stock market.

He posted his 2019 tax return to his campaign website, which shows he reported more than $130,000 in capital gains. In the last six months, he said he’s acquired tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock in Zoom Communications.

Jones is a write-in candidate. He says on his website that despite using 63 paid workers to gather signatures he wasn’t able to get the more than 4,000 names that he needed for his name to appear on the ballot.

Like many Democrats, Jones said he supports a $15 minimum wage and a path for undocumented people to stay in the country. He suggested creating a “union of immigrant labor.”

He said he lines up with many Republicans on certain tax policies. He said he thinks that Congress should work to try to entice corporations not to move their business to other countries for lower taxes.

On abortion, Jones said he is neither “pro-life” nor “pro-choice,” according to his response to a Journal questionnaire. He said he supports the law. If the law changes, he won’t become “radicalized” by either side, he said.

“Can you prove when the soul enters the unborn? I might change my position,” he said.

On guns, Jones said he doesn’t like them. But he believes in a right to bear arms.

Jones said his goal for the campaign is to bring out independents.

It’s a tight race between Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican challenger Yvette Herrell. Torres Small won the 2018 contest by fewer than 4,000 votes and a recent Journal poll shows the race is close again this year.

“There are many, many things I’m trying to achieve, the least of which is to actually win the race,” Jones said of his campaign. “Coming into this race, it was not with the idea that David was going to knock off either Goliath. … We can no longer accept the fact that Republicans are going to do what they are going do and Democrats are going to do what they are going to do and the public is going to vote for the lesser of two evils.”

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