State Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce appears Wednesday on Fox News’ Fox & Friends saying that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s public health restrictions are ‘totally unfair. It’s discriminatory.’

The chairman of the state Republican Party accused Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of “driving a stake” through the heart of New Mexico with coronavirus-related restrictions that allow big-box stores to remain open while many mom and pop shops had to close their doors.

“I can’t explain the logic,” Steve Pearce said Wednesday during a 41/2-minute interview on Fox & Friends.

“It’s totally unfair. It’s discriminatory,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pearce planned to send a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr asking him to review whether the governor’s public health order violates civil rights. His request and stinging criticism of the governor comes a week after the state began to lift restrictions imposed in March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“We want to express our fears and frustrations regarding New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham’s public health order, a policy many in our state believe to be a blatant violation of peoples’ civil rights, liberties and their right to conduct free commerce,” Pearce wrote in the three-page letter. “The situation in New Mexico is one that is unjust and inequitable.”

Pearce delivered a similar message on Fox & Friends.

“New Mexico is big and rural, and we have a couple of population centers, but everything else is sparsely populated,” Pearce told host Steve Doocy.

“Mom and pops drive the state and so the initial order weeks ago, the governor said the big-box stores can open — no restrictions on them — the small mom and pops have to shut down,” he said. “Many of them are just going to be forced into bankruptcy, will not be open.”

A spokeswoman for the governor declined to comment about Pearce’s interview or his letter to Barr.

On TV, Pearce argued the governor’s restrictions put rural residents in danger.

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“Counties which do not have even one case, the residents of those places, no big-box stores are there, they’re having to drive into Albuquerque or Santa Fe or Las Cruces in order to hit a big-box store,” he said. “That puts them closer to people who might have the virus, and so it has just never made any sense. But mostly it’s just the patented unfairness that drives our money into the big-box stores.”

Pearce said Republicans have been calling for a “level playing field.”

“There has to be competition from both sides. There have to be choices,” he said. “Local businesses should get the same rights as the … out-of-state corporations.”

Doocy asked Pearce about a $60,000 fine against the owners of a Grants pawn and gun shop that remained open in defiance of the state’s public health order, comparing the incident to a salon owner in Texas who was sentenced to a week in jail and fined $7,000 for reopening her shop despite an order that all nonessential businesses remain closed.

“They’re just going to be forced into bankruptcy,” Pearce said, referring to the Papas Pawn & Gun store in Grants.

“The veteran is disabled. His wife runs the business, and the governor is coming in, making an example of them,” he said. “Five or six uniformed state police officers circled around the building, slapped a notice on the building. The fine is just devastating to that small community because it’s made up of totally of small businesses.”

Pearce also told Doocy that law enforcement officers who used to shop at the store “are having to drive into Albuquerque to get ammunition that [owner Diane Rowe] sold there.”

“She was an essential business that got fined $60,000,” he said.

At the end of the interview, Doocy said he was “sure” Lujan Grisham would see Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends segment sometime Wednesday and asked Pearce what message he would like to deliver to the governor.

“Well, my message is that the small-business owners throughout New Mexico, they’re the fabric,” he said. “They’re the heart and soul of our state, and I would just say to the governor, ‘You’re driving a stake into the heart and the spirit and the soul of our state.’ ”

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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(43) comments

Faye Sandoval

Steve Pearce is just like Fuhrer Trump. Pearce is upset he lost to MLG. I understand that smaller stores want to be open, but unless they are a necessity, we are all in this together. Best solution is to quit acting like spoiled children, work together as one people. We are New Mexican's and it is not the first time we have faced adversity in the eye. Together we conquer, divided we fail.

Charles Andreoli

After your very child like first sentence you then admonish us not to act like spoiled children. Maybe you should look to your own actions before preaching to the rest of us.

Jim Klukkert

Faye Sandoval~ Thanks for your comment.

Negative comments by Charles Andreoli aka Charlie42, should be worn as a badge of honor by Progressives. Mr. Andreoli most often responds with juvenile personal attacks and name calling rather than substantive arguments. One suspects that with a morally & intellectually bankrupt Republican Party, Andreoli and other Frumpsters have no alternative in their commentary, except for the online bullying so often employed by their leader, the dishonorable Serial-Predator-In-Cheif.

Andreoli is best ignored, as he has no sense of the Community Guidelines which are meant to foster a ‘lively discussion.’ Andreoli instead seems to want to discourage discussion be polluting the public square with his abusive vitriol.

BTW~ You may notice that Andreoli often reposts previous comments. Many readers report his comments as abuse, and so those comments are deleted. Apparent Andreoli has mastered technology that almost reposts those comments. Again, Andreoli is best ignored.

Charles Andreoli

Aww Jimmy, a little early to be hitting the sauce isn't it ? I really do have your panties in a wad don't I. The only reader that has reported my comments as abuse is you Little Jimmy Klucker. It would appear that between myself and our great President Trump we have your mental stability is hanging by a thread.

Jim Klukkert

You prove me point Chaz. Thanks! More schoolyard drivel.

BTW- how do you so often automatically repost your comments. And please, your false modesty doesn't impress. We both know you lie when you say that it is not others who report your abuse.

Charles Andreoli

Well Jimmy I don't have to repost anything, the SFNM does it for me after they see that your whining complaints have no merit.

Anna Diaz

My exact feelings. When I heard of his comments on the Governor regarding the Stay at Home order, I thought also that he's upset he lost the election for Governor. Steve Pearce, we didn't need another Susanna Martinez for Governor. Get over yourself and stop all this negativity you are spewing. There are a lot of people suffering economically, but the GOP is holding up any further funding assistance to the small business owners. Take a back seat and let the Governor we elected do her job!!

Coco McCoy

How lucky we are have our governor and not one of the crazy Republican governors so intent on opening tattoo parlors shops and gyms.

Steve Tebbetts

Coco, your comment implies that you read the headline, but not the article. I get your bias, but come on. What's your response to the actual issue discussed?

Sandy Reynolds

Do you think Trump noticed you?

Khal Spencer

Even a broken clock gives the right time twice a day. This is destroying small business while the Big Boxes and Jeff Bezos are laughing all the way to the bank.

Dr. Michael Johnson

#ResistMalevolentMichelle to Hector: I want to report someone not living in fear, arrest him!

Joseph Tafoya

Fear has always been the tool of tyrants and fear will continue to drive what we allow the government to do to us. We are on the cusp of whether this state will join the ranks of the Venezuelans of the world or drag ourselves out from the economic impact of COVI-19. If we allow fear to dominate us. The government will dominate your daily life Ask yourself. When the Governor lifts all her bans, do you believe the virus will not continue to do its evil deeds? Until we have herd immunity the virus will continue to plague us. So as we falsely hide behind a mask, distance ourselves from everyone, our immune system can not do what nature designed it to do as our government and economy collapse.

Jim Klukkert


Ed Li

Sore losing NM GOP who rightfully have no voice whatsoever. Their Texas style of political rhetoric falls on deaf ears for most New Mexicans.

Charles Andreoli

And single party rule is a wonderful thing. Right. If you want to know where that's going to take you just tale a look at Calif. That's where you're headed.

Jim Klukkert


Jim Klukkert


Jim Klukkert

Charles Andreoli: Please, please, please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not.

Jim Klukkert


Andrea Cohen

Where in the public health order does it state that only big box stores are allowed to operate? I've been buying most of my groceries from a local, independent grocery store, not a big box or national chain store.

Andrea Cohen

And I wish that reporters would dig into such claims to see if they are valid rather than just amplify them without any investigation.

Bill Cass

You can go to Lowes's or WalMart to buy plants, but you can't go to local nursery, which would be much safer.

Patricia Greathouse

That is incorrect @ Bill Cassara. You can buy plants from Agua Fria Nursery and Paynes. Order and they will bring them to your car. There may be others open as well.

Cleve Spence

It's nice to have a competent person occupying the Round House. If Pierce and Fox Fake News are unhappy there's no doubt MLG is doing a great job.

Jim Klukkert


Lupe Molina

Who cares? Sore loser doesn't hold public office. And Fox and Friends isn't news.

Walter Borton

How is it that saving the lives of New Mexicans has become a partisan issue - shrouded in some frontier gibberish about individual rights and our State's economic health? Were the Governor and her exceptional administration not doing such extraordinary work, countless more would be sick or dead. And by the way, where were these "defenders of small business" when big box stores were moving into our towns and destroying hundreds of independent merchants in their path? This is no time to be on the wrong side of history - there's a body-count attached to that mistake.

Bill Cass

How is it that people wanting to work for a living instead of living off the government is a partisan issue? MLG's restrictions have ceased to make sense. I supported her actions at first, but there is no reason I should be able to go into a crowded Big Box store to buy plants, but not a locally owned nursery. And you can substitute any other product.

Jim Klukkert


Patricia Greathouse

Again, @Bill Cassara. In my ABQ neighborhood, I have two independent food stores open where I shop. I wonder if you have looked around in your neighborhood? In Santa Fe La Montanita Coop, El Paisano, Albertson's, and Kaune's, among others, are open. True Value and Ace Hardware are open as well. It's a disservice to the small businesses that are open to spread the rumor that box stores are the only option.

Jim Klukkert


John Wilson

Bill Barr, Fox and Friends, and Steve Pearce! What an unholy conspiracy.

Paul Groh

Yawn. Steve “Mr. Irrelevant “ Pearce goes on Trump State TV to bash our wonderful governor. Only Trumpists were watching, ol’ man.

Jim Klukkert


Orlie Romero

Yet, your talking about it. Got the word obviously!

kyle renfro

no one here respects so she has to go to constant news feeds to throw it down the throats of americans, if she spent this much time running NM then maybe something positive would be done. But she is like a spoiled child, she got to be the GOV and now the toy is old so she doent like it anymore and , HO HUM, time to do something else because everything has always been given to her

James Morris

I had forgotten how funny this fellow was. Oh wait, he’s being serious?

Jim Klukkert


Raquel Casillas

In a time when we all should be working together, it is becoming the norm to expect chaos and craziness from those who are so predictably obsessed with dysfunction and disinformation.

Abe Rivera

Okay Pearce, explain the spike in cases in McKinley and San Juan Counties and how opening New Mexico up at large would have made that situation better.

Orlie Romero

Answered your question, these communities have been locked in homes for months, yet it still spreads, easy to understand it doesn’t matter you will get it eventually. Go outside and breathe in deep and enjoy life until it ends...

Robert Bartlett

The Governor's brief moment of authoritarian power has passed. She now has no control of the people, the economy and the rule of law. Individual New Mexicans are on their own in managing risk, earning a living and taking care of their families. The best thing she can do is show real leadership in getting the hospitals running again.

Welcome to the discussion.

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