The Latest: New Mexico GOP candidate say he has defied Trump

September 20, 2018
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Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, right, and moderator Marilyn Pettes Hill attend a gubernatorial candidate forum organized by the NAACP and an associated sorority in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Lujan Grisham and Congressman Steve Pearce are competing to become the state's next governor, amid campaigning about solutions to poverty and improving public schools. GOP Gov. Susan Martinez cannot run for a third consecutive term. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the first televised debate between New Mexico’s candidates for governor (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce says he has taken on Donald Trump in two instances while serving in Congress.

Pearce and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham were asked for their impressions about Trump on Wednesday at a televised debate in Albuquerque.

Pearce supported Trump’s presidential campaign but says that he has “contended with him pretty earnestly” at times.

That includes opposition to the president’s plans to build a bigger wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and a refusal to support one initial proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Pearce eventually voted with the House majority to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. That effort failed to win Senate approval.

Trump lost the New Mexico vote by about 9 percentage points to Hillary Clinton in 2016.


7:30 p.m.

Both candidates for governor of New Mexico say they have never smoked pot.

The similarities regarding marijuana mostly ended there at a televised Wednesday-night debate between Republican Congressman Steve Pearce and Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Pearce says he does not support state approval of recreational marijuana because it can put an obstacle before people who are struggling to get out of poverty. He says people in Raton near the Colorado state line have witnessed problems caused by the authorization of recreational use in that state.

Michelle Lujan Grisham says she would support legislation for recreational use in New Mexico only if it addresses workplace intoxication, prevents underage use and ensure adequate supplies for medical cannabis patients.

Pearce and Lujan Grisham both voiced support for the state’s medical marijuana program.


1 p.m.

An attack ad against New Mexico’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate has set off sparring between campaigns as the contenders prepare for their first open debate.

Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign describes as false and misleading the ad that combines images of a shovel pitching dirt with a voice describing Lujan Grisham as “shamelessly corrupt.”

The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Pearce said Wednesday it replaced an inaccurate ad caption that cited the wrong publication. Pearce campaign spokesman Kevin Sheridan says the blog’s name and posting date have been fixed.

The first direct attack ad of the campaign focuses on Lujan Grisham’s past role in a business that oversees a statewide health insurance pool for the severely ill. A cancer patient defends Lujan Grisham in an ad sponsored by her campaign.

Update hourly