Pearce cruises to reelection as state Republican Party chairman

Dec. 4—Steve Pearce was easily reelected as chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party for another two years Saturday.

State central committee members met in Las Cruces to vote and announced Pearce, a former congressman and state representative who has served as state chairman since losing the 2018 gubernatorial race,

had received 55 percent of the vote, or 213 votes according to a tally on Facebook by Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park. Coming in second was Sarah Jane Allen, a Bernalillo County party official and founder of the first Moms for Liberty chapter in New Mexico, a group that pushes for conservative policies in schools. She received 80 votes, or 21 percent. Robert Aragon, a former state House member and party official, got 51 votes, or 13 percent, and Eddy Aragon, a conservative radio host, got 41 votes, or 10 percent. Rodney Tahe, a legislative adviser for the Navajo Nation, got two votes.

Saturday's meeting came a month after a disappointing midterm election for New Mexico Republicans, in which all of their statewide candidates lost and the party both failed to make substantial gains in the state House of Representatives and lost the state's only Republican congressional seat. Pearce's opponents laid the blame for the New Mexico GOP's poor performance at his feet and said new blood was needed.

Pearce, who will be state chairman through the 2024 election, has said turning a blue state red is "a marathon not a sprint," as he put it in a statement Saturday, and said he has been making slow and steady progress.

"This was a spirited campaign, and I thank the grassroots Republican leaders from across New Mexico for trusting me to lead for another term as RPNM chairman," he said. "An overwhelming number of these leaders agree that our data-driven approach to identifying and turning out conservative leaning voters is working, proven by the fact that Republican candidates are getting closer and closer to defeating the Democrats in competitive races."

The state party also elected other offices Saturday, and none of these races were particularly close either. Incoming Otero County Commissioner Amy Barela got 291 votes for first vice chairman, beating Torrance County Republican Chairman Richard Lopez, who got 100 votes. Leticia Munoz Kaminski got 305 votes for second vice chairman, beating Santa Fe Republican County Chairman Bob Graham, who got 87 votes.

Marciella Trujillo-Spinelli was elected secretary with 288 votes to 78 for Isabella Solis, and Kim James Kvamme was elected treasurer with 257 votes to 106 for Leonard-David Chavez. Donelle Inventor, outgoing state Rep. Rebecca Dow and Drew Degnor were easily elected as vice chairs for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd congressional districts, respectively.