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NM is ready to work, but Pearce foments division

Steve Pearce is at it again: inventing controversy and fomenting division for his own personal gain. This month, I spoke to journalists about a wide range of election topics including the redistricting process that will take place next year. I stated that electoral districts in New Mexico will change and that political parties will have to take that into account moving forward. That is simply true. Every 10 years, states reconfigure their electoral districts in order to account for real and relevant shifts in demographics. The process will be transparent and fair.

Since I made those statements, a number of political commentators have weighed in, stretching my words so far out of context as to be unrecognizable. No one has done this more boisterously than N.M. GOP Chairman Steve Pearce. Pearce’s role as chairman of his party is being challenged, and I’m sure he believes that attacking Democrats and making false statements is helpful to him as he desperately clings to his office.

Right now, our democracy is under threat as President Trump refuses to concede an election he lost. Pearce has adopted those worst instincts and is trying to sow doubt in our democratic process in New Mexico. Pearce has recently penned op-ed articles that plainly lie about New Mexico’s redistricting process. They are intended to create fear and mistrust.

Pearce claims I am going to “change the rules” of the redistricting process. That is a lie, plain and simple. I have no desire to change the rules and absolutely no power to do so. He is stoking fear that congressional districts in New Mexico will be gerrymandered; again, a lie from Pearce.

The fact is, just like Trump, Pearce had a tough year, and he’s willing to do anything he can to distract from his failures. Pearce utterly failed to deliver the dozens of wins he promised his party and his donors this election cycle. Far worse, Pearce has actively undermined our state’s efforts to control the virus and save lives. Today, COVID-19 has overtaken our state and has killed more than 250,000 Americans – including over 1,300 New Mexicans.

Rather than account for his failures, Pearce would like to change the conversation. For months, in the pages of this paper and to anyone who would listen, Pearce vowed to flip the New Mexico Legislature to Republican control and deliver the state for Trump. Pearce just suffered a resounding defeat. From Shiprock to Deming to Chaparral, voters re-elected Democratic state representatives to seats that Pearce vowed would “go red.” He poured his donors’ money into a state House effort that turned up empty-handed. Pearce’s grip on the leadership of his party is more tenuous than ever, and he knows that. That’s why he’d rather talk about me.

Pearce may be living in a world of bitter partisanship, but the rest of our state is not. Democrats and Republicans are working together to make progress, including in southern New Mexico’s second congressional district. As Speaker of the House, I regularly travel and meet with leaders from both parties, business owners, workers and families in CD-2 to learn about the challenges and opportunities that they see every day. We bring those priorities back to the Roundhouse, and we have a strong record of delivering on them.

Playing the victim and crying wolf may just be political games to Pearce, but those games are dangerous. We need honesty about the election and the redistricting process ahead of us. He can try to score political points again in two years. But we just had an election, and now it’s time to get back to work.

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