Give Steve Pearce credit for consistency. Take away all that credit for his bitterness.

Pearce, chairman of the state Republican Party, tells anyone who will listen that Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is doing a bad job.

Lujan Grisham thrashed Pearce in the 2018 election for governor. Pearce might never get over it. He lost the race for an open seat by a staggering 14 percentage points.

Throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic, Pearce has looked through his jaundiced lens and made two broad claims about Lujan Grisham. He says her policies are bad for business and an attack on good sense.

Implicit in Pearce’s criticism is he would have had the state economy humming in this public health crisis, if only voters had been smart enough to elect him.

From the sideline, Pearce stews and second-guesses Lujan Grisham.

“Her mass gathering policies have now ruined our tourism industry and the fate of other industries, like wine, hangs in the balance,” Pearce said Friday.

His timing was terrible, his claim laughable. Soon after Pearce piped up, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars and river-rafting companies in his state to shut down.

Abbott also will limit restaurants to 50 percent occupancy. His revised rule is similar to what Lujan Grisham is doing to check the pandemic.

If Abbott weren’t a Republican, Pearce would accuse him of backpedaling and strangling the economy with every step.

Abbott has good reason to follow Lujan Grisham’s strategy. COVID-19 infections in Texas soared after Abbott eased restrictions.

Politicians will debate whether Texas is undergoing a second wave of the disease, or if Abbott worsened the first wave with a premature reopening.

Either way, more than 10 percent of Texans who were tested during a recent week had COVID-19. Intensive care units in Houston are full. Abbott is urging residents of his biggest city to stay home to protect themselves and his state’s overburdened hospitals.

Most New Mexico residents know they are more vulnerable because of the rising caseload in a huge border state and across much of the Southwest.

Pearce discounts what’s happening in the region. Lujan Grisham is his target.

“Each day more small businesses shut down. The governor has shown little understanding of how her policies have devastated our state and have clearly sounded a death knell for our economy,” Pearce said.

In his world, a spreading disease isn’t the root problem or the menace that could kill thousands. Lujan Grisham is his villain.

But if Lujan Grisham had loosened the rules, New Mexico might be a miniature version of Texas. The Navajo Nation, with one of the highest per capita infection rates anywhere, would be in even worse condition.

And Pearce would be prattling about how Lujan Grisham wasn’t aggressive enough to blunt the pandemic. Then again, he will always say she didn’t do her job, no matter what move she makes.

Pearce’s vitriol is mostly about his wounded pride and the sorry state of politics. In this era, a public health crisis is no cause for cooperation among adults. It’s an opportunity for Pearce to swipe at someone who ended his career in elective office.

But Pearce’s claim that Lujan Grisham wrecked the tourist trade is a stretch, even for him.

People aren’t traveling this summer for two reasons. They fear the coronavirus, and countless events have been canceled.

Under normal summertime conditions, Santa Fe’s opera and art markets would draw moneyed visitors, many of them from Texas. Nothing is normal now.

Because Abbott mismanaged the pandemic in his state, sane people aren’t excited by the prospect of Texans streaming into New Mexico this summer. Some of the visitors probably would carry the disease. New Mexico would see a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths. Then the state’s economy would be in worse shape than ever.

In Texas, Abbott just shuttered businesses that cater to tourists or those with discretionary income. He knows survival takes precedence over tourism.

Some are sniping at Abbott, just as Pearce attacks Lujan Grisham.

This isn’t a popularity contest. Lujan Grisham has already bested Pearce in that department.

Her job is to get the novel coronavirus under control and keep people safe. Abbott knows how hard a job it is.

Pearce can only imagine. That’s his problem.

Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at or 505-986-3080.

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(30) comments

Dwaine Kimmick

Milan is a Has Been. Poor old fool thinks he has relevancy

Jim Klukkert

Dwaine Kimmick- If you dwon't have any respect for Milan, why are you here on this page? Just a cruising troll?

Go pollute elsewhere, Kimmick.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Knock, knock.

Who's there?


Dwaine who?

Dwaine the bath tub, I'm dwowning.

Jim Klukkert


Prince Michael Jauregui

Thank-you, thank-you...I'll be opening up next week at The Motel 8 Chateaus and Suites in beautiful Lincoln County!


MLG got everything in life due to her name, ancestry, and gender, nothing else

Dr. Michael Johnson

Indeed, she should understand elite, family based privilege.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Personally, I strongly oppose Grisham's DNC party-line approach to, well, Everything. Still, she must be give some proper credit for being over-zealous with COVID-19.

More honestly? Even though she was tardy in her actions.

"This isn't a popularity contest. Lujan Grisham has already bested Pearce in this department."

Nothing but net, Mr. Simonich.

Dr. Michael Johnson

Milan, has not checked the stats lately on comparing Texas with NM on COVID. The current data shows that NM has almost 3X the deaths per capita that Texas does, and 30% more cases per capita, even with the recent surges in Texas. Texas has also had 60% lower hospitalizations per capita from COVID so far, so I don't think you can actually say old Mich has done a much better job than Abbott, but some people live in a dream world when politics is involved, it removes all rational logic and reasoning capabilities.....

Jim Klukkert

Mike- About a week ago, you were lauding Texas for the great job they were doing on the Coivid crisis.

Now Texas is in a crisis for lack of ICU capacity for spike in Coronavirus cases. Florida, Mississippi and Arizona are in Covid free fall.

So should we be at all interested in your posts on Public Heath? You don't seem to have called the Texas situation correctly.

Whatever your data says, try to get an ICU bed in Houston. 'Daily numbers have soared this week – to 5,996 on 25 June – prompting doctors in Houston to sound the alarm.' -Guardian

We await your outraged condemnations of the Governors of Texas, Florida & Arizona. Perhaps you want to throw Trump into that mix for his lack of policy or action.


Sloan Cunningham

“People aren’t traveling this summer for two reasons. They fear the coronavirus, and countless events have been canceled.” is sadly not true. Santa Fe feels slammed and face-coverings not being used. #MLG is doing a great job, digging deep trying to save us. I do so sincerely hope Biden does not invite her to the ticket: we need our Governor to stay with us at home.

Dr. Michael Johnson

You got your wish, Biden has skipped over her, she didn't make the "short" list, interesting'd think she is "short" enough........

Di Martin

Are we talking about Governor "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" Milan? Credibility out the window! 🤔

Robert Bartlett

To comprehend the hypocrisy and stupidity of this screed, just look at today's opinion section of the paper. One large pile of hate, lies, slanders and defamation aimed at President Trump and anyone who supports him.

David Ford

Or you can simply read the thoughts of the clown and con man in the white house for that comprehension. To quote/paraphrase three very well liked, very well respected true blue real republicans..."Trump is an imbecile and an idiot. He is not worthy nor capable of leading this country let alone the pandemic..."

Robert Bartlett

How do you lead a pandemic oh wizard of smart?

Jim Klukkert

Robert Bartlett- Good point Bobby! Never a good idea to 'quote/paraphrase ...three real republicans,'no matter how very well liked, very well respected or true blue.

All Republicans are rotten with the stink of their dear leader.

Thanks for the tip, Bobby!

Jim Klukkert

Robert Bartlett- You are so good at posting without Factual Content or Logical Argument.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels cries out from his grave: 'Where were you when I needed you?'

Archer Hill

Go away Pierce...just go away. New Mexico is better off without you.

Chris Mechels

Milan seems content to be the lapdog of the Democrats, refusing to see that many criticisms of MLG are spot on. Pearce is no dummy, on his record, in the Air Force and in business, he's quite capable. MLG's record does not show a capable person, but a government player, dismissed by Richardson in 2007 for failure as Secr of Health. It seems she's back playing at being Secr of Health again.

Her continuing record vs Covid is one of being REACTIVE, not PROACTIVE, and even Kunkel says as much. MLG's cabinet is very week, with Kunkel (an attorney, not an MD) running DOH, and Dr. Scrase (MLG's family physician) running HHS. Michelle seems to see herself as "wartime commander" a role her background does not suit her for. As Governor, a better move would have been to anoint a Covid leader, with appropriate credentials.

The result is confusion; which a visit to the grocery store quickly reveals; but Milan apparently won't open his eyes, or his mind, to see this. Distancing and hand washing seems passe, with reliance on the Mandatory face masks, which MLG will not enforce. And the faces masks aren't even face masks, any scrap of cloth will meet the MLG standards. Does she REALLY believe in face masks, or is this just a show??

Remember, she told us for 2 months NOT to wear face masks. Milan forgets...

Steve Pearce is no fool, but Milan appears to be, as he can't see MLG's many failings. She refuses to look to Covid practices that are proven to work; in China, Korea, the EU, etc. This calls for "local" containment, not shutting down the whole state, reliance on extensive testing, and rigorous contact tracing. Pretty much what Pearce is suggesting, but MLG isn't doing. Michelle seems bent on Magical Thinking, and reliance on an ineffective DOH. She needs new leadership, as she has no credibility at this point. Except for Milan, of course, who refuses to see reality.


Milan is a transplant also

Jim Klukkert

BOB SCHWARTZ- Let's never trust those TRANSPLANTS! Trust no one but Pueblans, Dine and Apache.

Oh wait, did their ancestors migrate across the Ice Age land bridge from Asia?


Thanks so much Bobby, for alerting us!


Of course leave it to the New Mexican to post their weekly anti GOP article to keep the flames fanned. Of course most people commenting here who adore MLG are retirees for out of state who moved here with money and don't have to work everyday to support their kids, and deal with the new public school changes. GOOD luck

Jim Klukkert

BOB SCHWARTZ- You are perhaps looking for the Straw Man Device as a Logical Fallacy that I so offered Bobby Bartlett. Please let me know!

But before I do that favor for you, please document your claim that critics 'are retirees for out of state who moved here with money and don't have to work everyday to support their kids.'

Perhaps critics are just well informed, dispassionate observers of the political scene.

See you in November Bob!

Khal Spencer

Once again, the state GOP wins the Hand Me A Bigger Shovel Award. Keep digging, Steve. Keep digging.

Patrick Brockwell

GOP; Greed Over People.

Connie Lopez

Sensible. Most GOP jealous NM dems conquered House, Senate and Gov job, a perfect trifecta.

David Ford

Spot on Milan. Couldn't have been stated better. Regardless of the situation the former "GOP" always takes the contrarian view , either out of spite or their message is old and does not evolve with the times....

Ralph Miller

Mr. Simonich is right on the money with regards to Governor Lujan-Grisham's necessary pandemic public health orders. The Governor is doing her job to mitigate the spread of the virus in our great state. Mr. Pearce is unable to accept the reality that he was trounced in his bid to become Governor and his ridiculous blind loyalties to the failing policies of President Trump.

Jim Klukkert

Ralph Miller- I had not noticed that Trump had any policy for Public Health during the Global Pandemic.

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