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Did Harry Teague just forfeit the election to Steve Pearce Thursday night?

By   /   October 29, 2010  /   No Comments

Political watchers were left scratching their heads on Thursday night when Harry Teague opted out of the KOB-TV debate with US House of Representatives opponent Steve Pearce.

Channel 4 had scheduled a debate between the Second Congressional District  candidates but Teague told KOB-TV that he couldn’t take part “because of his busy schedule,” KOB-TV anchor Nicole Brady said Thursday night. Channel 4 informed Teague that if he passed, the station would still go on the air, interviewing Pearce alone for 30 minutes. The Teague campaign still refused.

So, with five days to go until the election, Pearce was handed a half hour of free, prime-time air time (8-8:30 pm!) on a TV station that is seen virtually throughout the entire state. Pearce gave an opening and closing statement and fielded questions from Brady during the program.

It’s widely acknowledged that Teague is uncomfortable in a debate format but to simply forfeit 30 minutes of airtime to your opponent in a closely-contested race seems to be border-line politically suicidal.

Maybe that’s why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee decided earlier this month to shift some ad buys from Teague to Martin Heinrich in the First Congressional District race.

You can watch the half-hour interview from Channel 4 here.

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Since 2010, Rob Nikolewski has covered New Mexico politics and investigated fraud, waste and abuse in government. He also writes an opinion column in the Sunday editions of the Santa Fe New Mexican. Rob joined New Mexico Watchdog after 20 years in television as a sports anchor and reporter. He anchored at MSNBC, New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Reno and Boise, winning three regional Emmy awards along the way. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in public administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor's degree in journalism from Trinity University in San Antonio.