Pearce wins GOP Senate slot

By Heather Clark

ALBUQUERQUE — Rep. Steve Pearce has won the Republican Party’s nomination in a tight primary race for the U.S. Senate over rival Heather Wilson.

The southern New Mexico represenatative won the primary race early Wednesday with roughly 51 percent of the vote, compared to Wilson’s 49 percent with 99 percent of precincts reporting statewide, according to unofficial results.

Pearce will face Democrat Tom Udall, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 4 general election.

The general election faceoff is likely to be one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, with New Mexico’s winner possibly tipping the balance of power of the Senate.

Pete Domenici will retire in January after 36 years in office.

Early Tuesday night, Wilson was in an upbeat mood as she arrived with her husband and daughter at an election night party thrown by the state Republican Party at an Albuquerque hotel. She was greeted by supporters cheering, “Viva, Heather!”

Wilson said, “Steve and I are personal friends. We have differences on issues and now it’s up to voters to decide.”

Pearce shook hands and greeted about 200 cheering supporters at his election night party across town with his wife and grown daughter by his side. He said he feels “excited. … The polls are strong coming in.”

For the primary, Wilson