LAS CRUCES — Rep Steve Pearce (R-NM) on Thursday sued the Secretary of State’s Office to get access to his $1 million he wants to use to run for governor in 2018. State law limits campaign contributions to $5,500 in a primary and again in the general election.
This week the Pearce campaign was informed that only $11,000 could be transferred from his federal account to a state account.
According to the Associated Press, Pearce said the decision by Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat elected in November, is politically motivated. There is recent precedent for the challenge, which is based on a 1996 federal court decision which let Bill Richardson to use his federal funds run for governor after leaving Congress.
Deputy Secretary of State John Blair said that his office also provided the same information to Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in a crowded field of primary candidates.
“For Congressman Pearce’s team to now make any claims of partisanship is self-serving, disingenuous and flat out wrong,” Blair said.
Pearce and the current secretary of state disagree about the meaning of written exchanges last year between Canfield and former Secretary of State Brad Winter (R-NM), which also involved advice from a prominent Republican contract attorney.
Pearce hopes to succeed second-term Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who by law cannot seek re-election in 2018.