GOP candidates have at it

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By Roger Snodgrass

Onlookers wanting a good political fight were not disappointed Friday night. The two Republican contenders for U.S. Senate went toe-to-toe for two hours and both were still standing at the end.

New Mexico Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce wasted no time defining differences with each other, while also finding ways to describe their opponent’s resemblance to their Democratic rival Rep. Tom Udall.

Wilson landed the first punch in her opening statement, accusing Pearce of voting on an amendment that she said would have cut even more money from Los Alamos last year than the appropriations bill for which Udall voted.

She described herself as a “common-sense conservative” and said the contest was about who could win.

“I have a lot of experience winning where it’s tough to win,” she said, noting a little later in the debate that President Bush’s nickname for her is “Landslide,” a reference to her narrow victories in highly competitive terrain that Democrats dominated in other races in 2004.

“Every two years they have come after me and every two years we have won,” she said.

Pearce emphasized his conservative credentials, including an endorsement by the Susan B. Anthony List for his right-to-life position on abortion.