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Politics Notebook: Congressional contenders spar over attack ads

The candidates for the 2nd Congressional District seat had an opportunity to fact-check their opponents’ TV ads in a televised debate aired Wednesday on KOB-TV.

Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who is seeking a sixth term in southern New Mexico’s congressional seat, objected to ads by his Democratic opponent, Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, that accused Pearce of supporting cuts that “would end Medicare as we know it.”

Pearce called the claim a lie. The controversial vote was cast in 2012 for a budget backed by Republicans, but never became law because it was not voted upon by the Senate.

“You have to ask yourself, why is Ms. Lara concentrating on a vote that didn’t become law?” Pearce said. “… This is coming straight from a liberal playbook that says, ‘Change the discussion.’ ”

Lara challenged a Pearce TV attack that accused her of reckless spending on the Eddy County Commission for hiring a Washington, D.C., lobbyist to help advocate for the county in Congress.

Lara defended the use of a full-time lobbyist to represent the county’s interests, which she accused Pearce of failing to do. She said that after she left, the County Commission extended the lobbyist’s contract. “Had Congressman Pearce been a better representative for Eddy County, we would not have had to hire someone full time in Washington to advocate for our issues,” Lara said.

HELPING WEH: Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, was in Albuquerque this week to help Republican Senate candidate Allen Weh raise campaign cash for the final stretch of his bid to challenge Democratic Sen. Tom Udall.

Chambliss touted Weh’s national security credentials, as a retired Marine Reserve colonel with experience in four foreign conflicts, as a benefits to the U.S. Senate.

“He just brings an awful lot to the table from a national security perspective, he’d be a great addition to the United States Senate,” said Chambliss, who is retiring from the chamber this year.

Chambliss is known for his role in the Senate’s so-called Gang of Six, a group of Republican and Democratic senators who developed a bipartisan deficit reduction plan in 2011. That proposal was heavily criticized by other Republicans in the chamber for increasing federal revenues while limiting business tax cuts. It failed to pass.

Weh said he was not familiar enough with the details of the Gang of Six deficit reduction plan to say whether he would have supported it.”I’m not familiar with the workings of that plan,” Weh said.

James Monteleone: jmonteleone@abqjournal.com

 

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