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Tue September 16, 2003
Congressman Steve Pearce Gets 1st Potential Opponent
By Michael Olson
Las Cruces, NM – Drawing from his grandparents' immigration to the U.S. 75 years ago from Russia, Jeff Steinborn opened his official announcement speech with what seemed like an attempt to relate to the politically powerful Hispanic communities that dominate the 2nd congressional district.
He also took a couple jabs at the man who he wants to unseat.
In the 2002 election it was hard to draw very many issue distinctions between Pearce and his Blue Dog Democrat rival State Senator John Arthur Smith.
While Steinborn hesitates to contrast himself with Smith, Many of the roughly 100 attendees in the room are energized by Steinborn's traditional Democratic positions. He is pro-choice, opposes drilling in Otera Mesa and stresses the need for more international cooperation.
Depending on who else joins the Democratic primary, Steinborn's youth and issue priorities could be a big asset in the more liberal leaning Dona Ana County, where Smith only garnered 51% of the vote. Steinborn may find those aspects not so helpful in conservative Pearce country such as Lea County.
His determination may serve as an asset in covering the nearly 70,000 miles that make up the 2nd congressional district. As a student he worked with Ralph Nader's Public Citizen, he also has political experience from working with then-Congressman Bill Richardson and most recently he served as Senator Jeff Bingaman's field representative for Southern New Mexico. These experiences have exposed Steinborn to the unique issues facing this region, but it remains to be seen how his experience will stack up against Pearce's business, Vietnam and campaign credentials.
A daunting reality for anyone wishing to unseat Pearce is obtaining fiscal resources. Pearce spent $2 dollars for every $1 of Smith's. Steinborn says money isn't everything.
His name recognition will be helped in part by his father David's 3 term reign of the city of Las Cruces as Mayor. But as David Steinborn explains recognition also comes with baggage
As an effort to expand his base outside of Las Cruces Steinborn is currently touring the 18 counties that comprise the massive 2nd congressional district.