Steve Pearce (politician)

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Steve Pearce
Pearce in July 2011
Chair of the New Mexico Republican Party
Assumed office
December 8, 2018
Preceded byRyan Cangiolosi
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
Preceded byHarry Teague
Succeeded byXochitl Torres Small
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
Preceded byJoe Skeen
Succeeded byHarry Teague
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
from the 62nd district
In office
January 20, 1997 – January 13, 2001
Preceded byWilliam Cruse
Succeeded byDonald Bratton
Personal details
Stevan Edward Pearce

(1947-08-24) August 24, 1947 (age 76)
Lamesa, Texas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Cynthia Pearce
(m. 1982)
EducationNew Mexico State University (BBA)
Eastern New Mexico University (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/service United States Air Force
Years of service1970–1976
Unit463rd Tactical Airlift Wing[1]
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross
Air Medal

Stevan Edward Pearce (born August 24, 1947) is an American businessman and politician who served as the U.S. representative for New Mexico's 2nd congressional district from 2003 to 2009 and from 2011 to 2019. He is a member of the Republican Party and was his party's unsuccessful nominee in the 2018 New Mexico gubernatorial election. On December 8, 2018, Pearce was elected Chair of the New Mexico Republican Party, replacing Ryan Cangiolosi. He was re-elected in December 2020.[2][3]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Pearce was born in Lamesa, Texas, and raised in Hobbs, New Mexico. He attended college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, having earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics. Afterward, he received a Master of Business Administration from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. While at New Mexico State University, Pearce was elected president of the student body.

He served in the Vietnam War as a C-130 pilot in the United States Air Force.[1] Pearce flew over 518 hours of combat flight and 77 hours of combat support. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Air Medals, as well as seven other military medals and four exceptional service awards. Upon returning to the United States, Pearce was assigned to the Strategic Air Command at Blytheville Air Force Base, Arkansas. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of captain.[4]

Pearce and his wife owned and operated Lea Fishing Tools, an oilfield services company in Hobbs, New Mexico, until they sold the business in 2003 to Key Energy Services for $12 million.[5]

New Mexico House of Representatives[edit]


Pearce was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 1996 and re-elected in 1998, both times unopposed.[6]

Committee assignments[edit]

He was elected as Republican Caucus Chairman and served on the Appropriations Committee.[4]

2000 U.S. Senate election[edit]

Pearce ran for the United States Senate in the seat held by longtime incumbent Democrat Jeff Bingaman. He lost in the Republican primary to former third district U.S. Congressman Bill Redmond 60% to 22%.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Pearce talks with Vice President Dick Cheney in 2002
Pearce, Jon Kyl, Bob Corker, and Gabby Giffords with David Petraeus in 2007
Pearce speaking at CPAC in 2013



Eleven term incumbent Republican U.S. Representative Joe Skeen decided to retire. In the Republican primary, Pearce ran and won the five candidate field with a plurality of 35%. His closest challenger was rancher and businessman Edward R. Tinsley, owner of the K-Bob's Steakhouse, who got 27%.[8] Coincidentally, both Pearce and Tinsley were reared in the small West Texas city of Lamesa in Dawson County. In the general election, Pearce defeated Democratic state senator John Arthur Smith 56% to 44%.[9]


Pearce won re-election to a second term against Democratic state representative Gary King 60% to 40%.[10]


Pearce won re-election to a third term against Democratic pastor Al Kissling 59% to 40%.[11]


Pearce ran for the open Senate seat of retiring six term Republican US Senator Pete Domenici. He did not run for reelection to the 2nd District, making New Mexico's 2nd District an open seat race. Democratic business owner Harry Teague defeated Republican restaurateur Edward R. Tinsley 56% to 44%.[12]


On August 1, 2009, Pearce announced his intention to take back his former congressional seat. On June 1, 2010, he won the Republican primary without any serious challengers. He was endorsed in the race by former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.[13] He drew criticism from local media after an event in Los Lunas where he refused to say whether he believes Barack Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen.[14][15]

Pearce defeated incumbent Democrat Harry Teague 55% to 45%.[16][17]


Pearce won reelection for a 5th term to Congress and 2nd consecutive term in 2012. He defeated Democratic former educator Evelyn Madrid Erhard 59% to 41%.[18] During the campaign, Pearce's largest donors were Mack Energy Corporation and Yates Petroleum. Pearce received $209,600 from the oil and gas sector during the campaign cycle.[19]


Pearce won re-election against Democrat Roxanne "Rocky" Lara with 64% of the vote.[20]


Pearce won re-election against Democrat Merrie Lee Soules with 62% of the vote.[21]

Pearce did not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in 2018, instead running unsuccessfully for Governor of New Mexico.



In 2005, Pearce was accused of having plagiarized articles from think tanks like The Heritage Foundation.[22] The articles were published under Pearce's name in small papers throughout New Mexico. His press secretary, Jim Burns, admitted to having plagiarized the articles himself without Pearce's knowledge, and quickly resigned.[23]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

2008 U.S. Senate election[edit]

On October 16, 2007, Pearce announced he would run for the Republican nomination to replace Pete Domenici in the U.S. Senate.

Fellow Republican representative Heather Wilson had previously declared her candidacy in that race.[27] In late October 2007, Pearce made 130,000 automated phone calls to justify his opposition to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill that would have provided health benefit to children, which the Wilson campaign claimed "Pearce violated House ethics by urging those he called to contact him through his official, non-campaign phone number or check out his official, non-campaign Web site."[28][29]

In March 2008, Pearce garnered 55% of the vote at the Republican pre-primary nominating convention.[30] He narrowly won the June 3, 2008 Republican primary.

Pearce faced fellow U.S. Representative Tom Udall, a Democrat who represented New Mexico's 3rd congressional district, and lost in the general election, 61% to 39%.

2018 gubernatorial election[edit]

In July 2017, Pearce announced his run for Governor of New Mexico.[31] to replace the term-limited Republican governor Susana Martinez. He ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Pearce lost to Democratic nominee Michelle Lujan Grisham, a fellow New Mexico U.S. Representative from the 1st district in the general election on November 6, 2018.[32]

Political positions[edit]

Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories[edit]

In 2010, Pearce expressed skepticism that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.[33][34]


Pearce has questioned the scientific consensus on climate change.[35][36][37] He said that "in fact the last 17 years there has not been global warming" and that "there are 31,000 scientists who say that human action is not causing the global warming at all".[35]

Pearce had been a long-time advocate of oil and gas drilling in Otero Mesa.[38][39]

2020 election[edit]

After Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, Pearce and the New Mexico GOP cast doubt on the validity of the election results.[40] Soon after the election was called for Biden, Pearce called for donations so Trump can challenge the results.[41] In late 2020, Pearce supported the Trump campaign's efforts to invalidate Biden's victory in New Mexico, falsely claiming that massive voter fraud occurred.[42][43] In his podcast, Pearce aired numerous conspiracy theories about the election, claiming he wanted to investigate possible "anomalies".[40][44] In December 2020, Pearce issued a statement supporting the Texas v. Pennsylvania lawsuit aiming to overturn the certification of Biden's victory in multiple states, citing false claims of fraud.[40]

On January 7, 2021, Pearce drew criticism when he claimed that alleged irregularities in the election "tarnished" democracy, soon after Biden's electoral victory was certified by Congress.[45] On January 9, Pearce tweeted that Trump "will be our President FOREVER and no one can take that away from us." The tweet was soon deleted but Pearce defended his post, saying that Trump's false claims of fraud were legitimate and insisted that there was massive voting irregularities in the election.[46]

Personal life[edit]

Pearce has been married to his wife Cynthia for over 20 years. In 2013, Pearce published a memoir called Just Fly the Plane, Stupid!. It received attention because Pearce controversially wrote in the memoir that a wife should "voluntarily submit" to her husband, just as the husband should "lovingly lead and sacrifice".[47]

Pearce attends Taylor Memorial Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Hobbs.[48]


  1. ^ a b "Steve Military Service | Pearce for Congress". Archived from the original on 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  2. ^ "Congressman Steve Pearce elected as New Mexico GOP chair".
  3. ^ "Steve Pearce elected NM Republican Party chair - Albuquerque Journal".
  4. ^ a b "Full Biography | Congressman Steve Pearce". Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  5. ^ Singer, Paul (April 29, 2008). "Pearce Made Millions on Sale". Roll Call. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  6. ^ "NM State House 62 Race – Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  7. ^ "NM US Senate- R Primary Race – Jun 06, 2000". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  8. ^ "NM District 02 – R Primary Race – Jun 04, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  9. ^ "NM District 2 Race – Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  10. ^ "NM District 2 Race – Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  11. ^ "NM – District 02 Race – Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  12. ^ "New Mexico – Election Results 2008 – The New York Times". 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  13. ^ "Palin backs Pearce in New Mexico". Time. 2010-10-06. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010.
  14. ^ "Pearce camp refuses to say Obama is a natural-born US citizen". New Mexico Independent. 2010-10-07.
  15. ^ "Earth to Pearce: Obama is a natural-born US citizen". New Mexico Politics. 2010-10-07.
  16. ^ "NM – District 02 Race – Nov 02, 2010". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  17. ^ Reichbach, Matthew (2010-07-15). "Pearce outraises Teague in second quarter". New Mexico Independent. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
  18. ^ "New Mexico General Election : November 6, 2012". Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  19. ^ "; Steve Pearce". OpenSecrets. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  20. ^ "Official Results General Election - November 4, 2014". New Mexico Secretary of State. November 4, 2014. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
  21. ^ "Election Night Results - November 8, 2016". New Mexico Secretary of State. November 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
  22. ^ "Controversy Erupts Over Congressman's Plagiarized "Article"". Socorro News. 2005-04-27. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  23. ^ "New Mexico's Pearce on quest to build reputation as 'consistent' : National-World : Albuquerque Tribune". 2007-11-02. Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  24. ^ Bialik, Carl; Bycoffe, Aaron (25 September 2015). "The Hard-Line Republicans Who Pushed John Boehner Out". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2015-09-28.
  25. ^ "Members". Congressional Constitution Caucus. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Pearce Will Run for Senate". Albuquerque Journal. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  28. ^ "Pearce calls voters, Wilson cries foul". KOB. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  29. ^ "Senate hopefuls don't inspire". Alamogordo Daily News. October 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
  30. ^ [1] Archived April 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Coleman, Michael. "Pearce to run for governor of New Mexico". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  32. ^ Despite technical difficulties, Lujan Grisham lays out vision for NM after winning race for Governor Archived 2020-05-14 at the Wayback Machine, KOB, Joshua Panas, November 6, 2018. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  33. ^ "'Birther queen' a problematic ally". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  34. ^ Terkel, Amanda (2010-10-06). "Congressional Candidate Steve Pearce To Birther: 'Those Questions Need To Be Asked' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  35. ^ a b "The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  36. ^ "Pearce, Martinez share global warming doubts". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  37. ^ "GOP candidates knock global warming". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  38. ^ Romo, Rene (August 6, 2004). "Candidates Debate Otero Mesa Drilling". Albuquerque Journal. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  39. ^ Hansen, Heather (August 17, 2011). "The monumental fight over Otero Mesa". High Country News. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  40. ^ a b c D'Ammassa, Algernon (11 December 2020). "After bumpy leadership election, New Mexico GOP focused on questioning Biden's election". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  41. ^ "New Mexico GOP raising funds for Trump lawsuits". KOB 4. 2020-11-07. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  42. ^ Reichbach, Matthew (2020-11-20). "Republicans try to cast doubt on NM presidential results after Biden won by 11 points". The NM Political Report. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  43. ^ "New Mexico electors support Biden, as GOP sues to invalidate". AP NEWS. 2021-04-29. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  44. ^ Boetel, Ryan (14 November 2020). "State GOP leader pushes conspiracy theory on radio". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  45. ^ Lee, Morgan (2021-04-20). "State GOP says election tarnished democracy, faces criticism". AP NEWS. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  46. ^ Wyland, Scott (12 January 2021). "New Mexico GOP leader still stands by Trump". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  47. ^ Blake, Aaron (22 January 2014). "GOP congressman's book: 'The wife is to voluntarily submit' to her husband". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  48. ^ Staff (5 January 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on 26 December 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2014.

External links[edit]

New Mexico House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Cruse
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
from the 62nd district

Succeeded by
Donald Bratton
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Mexico's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from New Mexico
(Class 2)

Succeeded by
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of New Mexico
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of the New Mexico Republican Party
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative