December 17, 2015

Merrie Lee Soules is running for Congress

Merrie Lee Soules

Merrie Lee Soules confirmed to NM Political Report that she is running for Congress in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.

Merrie Lee Soules

Merrie Lee Soules, Courtesy Photo

The district is represented by Steve Pearce, and is the most conservative of New Mexico’s three congressional districts. Soules is a Democrat who previously ran for a seat on the Public Regulation Commission.

“I am a candidate for congressional district two here in Southern New Mexico,” Soules said in a short phone interview. She said she is running “because it’s important.”

She said that when she looks around southern New Mexico, that she doesn’t see the recovery that many other parts of the country are seeing following the recessions.

Part of that reason, she says, is the district does not have “the right representation in Congress” with “the right priorities in what our government is doing.”

When asked about the priorities, she cited income inequality, calling it a “key foundational issue.”

“If people feel like there are  dynamics going on like the wealthy can buy the government and their vote no longer counts, our very democracy is being eroded,” she said

She said that the big money that came in from a Super PAC funded by wealth donors showed an attempt to “try to buy the election.”

“For me, voter turnout going down every election cycle is a clear sign that people are not feeling like their democracy is working for them, that they’re not being represented,” she said.

She knows it will be hard work, noting the congressional district’s massive size.

“It’s huge.”

The district is the sixth-largest in the country; the only ones larger are states that only have one congressional district.

She says she wants “to be in every part of the district. I’m going to go early. I’m going to go often and I’m going to connect with people.”

She cited running for PRC in District 5, which covers much of western New Mexico, as experience in running in a large district. Soules narrowly lost in the Democratic primary where there were allegations of voter fraud in Sunland Park.

Pearce has held the seat for all but two years since first winning election in 2002; he lost a 2008 Senate race to Tom Udall but then won the seat back in 2010 against Harry Teague.

Teague is the only Democrat to hold the district in its history.

Despite the headwinds for any Democrat in the district, she said she has received “unqualified enthusiastic support” since she began telling people she intended to run.

Soules is the sister of State Sen. Bill Soules, D-Las Cruces.