tags: Targeted Races

Pearce (Open-NM-2)

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RESULT: Harry Teague (D) 55% – Ed Tinsley (R) 45%  

The Race:

After U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM, won both his House re-election campaigns by almost 20% margins, he chose to vacate his seat and run for the Senate in 2008. Ed Tinsley, a Capitan rancher who owns the K-Bob’s restaurant chain, “won a five-way GOP primary in June to face off against Democrat Harry Teague of Hobbs in the Nov. 4 general election.” [AP, 8/28/08] Due to Teague’s oil wealth and Tinsley’s business wealth, the race has become highly competitive. [AP, 6/9/08] According to the AP, both candidates use the word “comprehensive” when talking about their immigration platforms, but Tinsley is opposed to a path to citizenship for undocumented workers and Teague supports it. [AP, 6/5/08] New Mexico’s 2nd District has the largest population of Hispanics in New Mexico, but the majority is ineligible to vote. NAFTA, immigration, and drug trafficking are all key issues in the District due to its shared border with Mexico. [National Journal Almanac, 3/21/08; AP, 4/15/08]

The Tinsley Position:

ENFORCEMENT ONLY. On his campaign website Tinsley states, “Illegal immigration is a growing problem in the United States. As a border state, New Mexico is on the front lines of the debate over illegal immigration and border security. This tide of illegal immigration has compromised our national security and placed additional pressure on our health and education systems. Illegal immigration is fundamentally unfair to those legal immigrants, who play by the rules as they work to pursue the American dream… Many see building a border fence as the solution. I agree that it is part of the solution in specific geographical areas.” He also said the United States must act by “ending the practice of giving government benefits to illegal aliens; immediately putting an end to the policy of giving drivers licenses to illegal immigrants; [and] requiring high school graduates to read and speak English proficiently before graduating from high school.” While he says he supports “comprehensive” immigration reform, Tinsley does not outline any policy positions that go beyond enforcement to reform our visa laws or address the status of undocumented workers; he only states that any comprehensive plan should not contain “amnesty.” [Ed Tinsley for Congress, accessed 8/18/08] In his acceptance speech following the Republican primary, Tinsley said that immigration is “a very complicated issue. We can’t take a Band-Aid approach to fixing things.” [AP, 6/4/08]

The Teague Position:

COMPREHENSIVE REFORMER. On his campaign website, Teague devotes a large section to explaining his position on immigration. He says that he understands “that border issues aren’t as black and white as Washington makes them out to be.” Teague lists the following immigration priorities: increasing border security, providing a path to citizenship for undocumented workers, reforming immigration laws, and working with Mexico. Teague says he would fight “to strengthen our borders by tightening our security and reducing the amount of illegal immigration to our country.” Teague also believes that “the nation’s economy is dependent on undocumented immigrants” and that while they broke the law when entering the U.S., “the U.S. must find a way to include these individuals in our community so that they may come out of the shadows and have a real opportunity to join our society.” Teague also says that he would “work with federal agencies to streamline the process by which we accept immigrant applications in order to provide for a more efficient system that allows for an increased number of legal immigrants.” And finally, Teague says that the U.S. “must work with the Mexican government in order to build a strong, well-developed middle class in Mexico” and that he would “work with the governors of neighboring Mexican states to build a comprehensive plan for economic development in our immediate areas.” [Harry Teague for Congress, 8/18/08] In an interview, Teague stated, “Fencing the southern border is no answer to immigration, legal or illegal.… I think one of the first things we have to do is we have to build some immigration centers so we let the people in who have to come in, make it harder to come in illegally. Beef up the Border Patrol. Fix it where the people who come here for economic benefit are not mixed up with others.” [Deming Headlight, 5/28/08]

New Mexico 2nd