Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico. (Photo © Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico has an impressive track record for a GOP conservative, non-Hispanic legislator from a predominantly Latino district.
He has won the state’s Second Congressional District, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by six points, five times since 2002.
“You just have to show up, all the time, everywhere,” the 65-year-old congressman told The Wall Street Journal
. “Most Republicans don’t bother. I do.”
Pearce attributes his success to his frequent barnstorming tours of the district in the southern part of the state and his hands-on approach, adding that Republicans have to spend more time in Latino neighborhoods and pay closer attention to constituent services.
Pearce’s advice comes at a time when the GOP has suffered major setbacks in Latino communities recently. Case in point, notes the Journal: Last year Mitt Romney received the lowest share of the Hispanic vote of any Republican presidential candidate since 1996.
It’s not just a matter of policy on issues such as immigration, though, said Pearce, who opposes giving the 11 million immigrants now in the United States a path to citizenship. It’s a matter of hard work.
“We have to sell ourselves,” he said, pointing out that he logged more than 90,000 miles on the road last year, trips that included visiting farmers, lunching with ranchers, and even helping families move into new homes.
“I see myself as a big windshield wiper,” he said, “just working my way back and forth, back and forth.”
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