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Trump unable to persuade Pearce on health care reform

Rep. Steve Pearce

Rep. Steve Pearce

SANTA FE – U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce says Donald Trump is a good negotiator.

But he twice told him “no” when the president wanted Pearce to support the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, at least not the version proposed last month.

Pearce told business leaders this week that he was called to the “principal’s office” – along with other members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus – to see Trump at one point in the negotiations.

In the end, Pearce said, he simply couldn’t support the proposed health care law backed by Trump and Republican leaders in the House. It was too similar to what’s already in place under Obamacare, Pearce said Monday during a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

But Pearce, a Republican from southern New Mexico, said he believes the effort to replace Obamacare isn’t over.

“Sure enough, negotiations have continued,” he said.

TIMEOUT: Also at the chamber luncheon, U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham had a good line about her time in middle school.

Rep. Michelle Jujan Grisham

Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

A teacher, she said, once moved her desk into the hallway because she was talking too much.

Talking too much? That’s not hard to believe.

But the lonely hallway desk didn’t stop her.

“I found a way to get notes in,” Lujan Grisham told the audience, as people laughed. “I’ve always been a problem-solver.”

She told the story while making a broader point about her desire to treat teachers better and pay them more.

Lujan Grisham represents an Albuquerque-based district in Congress.

CAMPAIGN CASH: U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich is preparing to report what his supporters say is a record-breaking amount of campaign donations at this point in the election cycle.

Sen. Martin Heinrich

Sen. Martin Heinrich

He is on track to raise about $1.3 million this quarter, and he has about $2.5 million in cash on hand, a Democratic official said.

The money raised is more than any senator or candidate for the first quarter in a nonelection year in the state, the official said.

Heinrich faces his first re-election test in 2018.

UNPOPULAR GOVERNOR: A survey by the media firm Morning Consult says 43 percent of registered voters in New Mexico approve of Gov. Susana Martinez’s job performance and 48 percent disapprove. The firm ranked her among the 10 least popular governors in the country.

The company said the results came from an online survey of 556 registered voters in New Mexico from January to March this year.

Dan McKay: