Recap: Lujan Grisham, Pearce engage in testy debate on KOB 4 | KOB 4

Recap: Lujan Grisham, Pearce engage in testy debate on KOB 4

Chris Ramirez
October 16, 2018 10:17 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The two candidates running to be New Mexico's next governor participated in a testy debate on KOB 4 Tuesday night.


Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham and Republican Steve Pearce made their differences known from the start.

“Tonight, you will hear two starkly different visions on how to move New Mexico forward.  One straight out of Donald Trump's failed playbook which leaves families behind and the other-- my vision,” Lujan Grisham said in her opening statement.

Pearce was quick to point out that Lujan Grisham once worked for former governor Bill Richardson.

“I see a choice about going back to the Richardson era of corruption and cronyism,” Pearce said. “I think we have all suffered enough embarrassment through that. I'm offering a way forward that says with vision and leadership we can change our culture here.”

After giving their opening statements, the candidates fielded questions from voters who attended three town halls that were organized by the nonpartisan public policy ground New Mexico First and KOB 4.

“How will your new secretary of education include teachers in decision making,” asked a voter who attended a town hall in Roswell.

Lujan Grisham said, “Congressman Pearce has voted repeatedly against supporting public schools and education including apprenticeships and job training programs.”

Pearce rebutted Lujan Grisham’s assertions.

“When my opponent said I voted against education, that's a political trick saying, ‘If you voted against education that you are against everything in the appropriation.’ She would be guilty of that too,” Pearce said.

The candidates also sparred over crime in New Mexico.

“I wonder out loud, what has my opponent done in her time in office, not only that but she was a Bernalillo County commissioner and when the sheriff came in and asked will you give me 20 more deputies, she was the deciding vote saying no,” Pearce alleged.

Lujan Grisham took issue with that comment.

“I don't understand what my opponent is talking about.  Both as the Department of Health secretary and Bernalillo County commissioner, not only did we increase in the way we effectively tested for DWI by supporting courts to make sure to make sure repeat offenders were held accountable, we also increased the number of DWI and drug courts,” Lujan Grisham said.

The candidates also laid out different visions for attracting more jobs to New Mexico.

“Our tax policies are just onerous,” Pearce said. “The tax department can't give certainty on anything.  As a congressman, I've stepped in to protect this tax department in New Mexico when they are treating our constituents unfairly.”

Lujan Grisham has a different approach.

“Let's start by having eight different economic sectors and we are investing in everything from aerospace to cybersecurity to agriculture to film production and making sure your investments align with film production,” she said.

The debate ended with both candidates giving their final pitches to voters and shaking hands.

Early voting begins Oct. 20. The general election is Nov. 6.

Watch the debate in its entirety


Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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