The Lincoln County Republican War of 2014: Tea Party opens fire on Republican State Rep, announces primary challenge to incumbent R
2014 is shaping up to be an interesting year for New Mexico’s Republican Party. Plagued by factions – Tea Party vs. traditional conservatives – for years, Tea Party leaders are stepping up to challenge the traditional establishment in 2014 primaries. Tea Party-type David Clements took over as head of the Dona Ana County Republican Party and then resigned to seek the GOP nomination for US Senate against Democrat Tom Udall. He’ll face off with GOP regular Allen Weh in June.
Now, at least one Tea Party leader is stepping up to challenge a safe conservative, Zach Cook, in a District that regularly performs for Republicans by more than 60%.
State Rep. Nora Espinoza stepped in to mediate the fight. [Note to Republicans: when Nora Espinoza is the reasonable one in the room you may have a problem.]
This news from the Ruidoso News:
Republican primary battle looms for House District 56
Jim Lowrance announced he will run for the state House District 56 seat.
By Dianne Stallings
firstname.lastname@example.org @RuidosoNews on Twitter
Posted: 01/14/2014 08:32:26 PM MST
Monday night was full of surprises for members of the Lincoln County Republican Party with unexpected retirements and announcements of candidacies.
But the biggest bombshell was the decision of the Party Chairman Jim Lowrance, 54, to step down from that position and to seek the party nomination in the June primary for state representative from District 56, currently filled by attorney Zach Cook, a Republican who is seeking his third two-year term.
“Tonight you’ve heard from those who have been called to make a difference in the government being pushed upon us,” Lowrance said. “Tonight you chose to spend your night here hoping to find some of those you can support to work for you in this government. Tonight I will ask you for your support, to go beyond and above what you have done in the past, I will ask you to step out of your comfort zone as these candidates have, because we must preserve for our children the America we have been blessed with. Failure is not an option. Each one of us must do our part in taking our country back from this Socialist agenda.
“I began my chairmanship of this organization as a battle cry. I believe we must wage war on what has become of our government. I believe we must wage war against the liberals and their programs. I believe you and I can make a difference. During my tenure as your chairman, I have been encouraged by you and I have seen your hearts, witnessed your convictions and empathized with your despair.”
He decided to run because, “We the people cannot allow the changes that have occurred in the last five years to continue. Our destiny is to win back our government. Our mission is to be sure our leaders don’t fail the American people.”
His platform is simple, Lowrance said. “I am to represent you, the people, not the lobbyists, the government or special interests,” he said. “I will go to Santa Fe to represent the people of Lincoln County. I will be for smaller government, true government transparency, fewer regulations and for holding politicians accountable. As a doctor, I took a Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. I pledge to continue the vision of our forefathers, a vision of the people and for the people, a vision of what we as a free people can make America tomorrow.”
He pledged to fight to make the voices of his constituents heard and their wishes fulfilled.
Contacted Tuesday, Lowrance said he tried to reach incumbent Zach Cook before the meeting Monday so that the announcement would not be a surprise, but was unsuccessful.
Lowrance was born in Ruidoso, where his grandparents moved in 1942. He graduated from Ruidoso High School, met and married his wife Sandi in 1985 and they have two children, Chance and Reagan. He attended chiropractic college and graduated in 1992, he said. His credits include being a credentialed doctor for the Olympics in 1996 and 2000, and the winter Olympics in 2002, for the All African Games in 1995 and 1999, and for the Mediterranean Games in 2001, Lowrance said.
He and his wife owned three chiropractic clinic in Las Vegas, Nev., before moving back to Ruidoso in 2001. They own Ruidoso Mountain Building construction firm and developed and sell lots in Cedar Creek Ranchettes.
He’s been active in the Republican Party for four years and became chairman one year ago.
“I feel I can make a difference, I truly believe I can represent the people in Lincoln and in Otero counties,” he said. “The title says it, my job would be to represent.”
Lowrance is a member of the National Rifle Association, served as a committee member on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a board member of the Lincoln County Home Builders Association and on the New Mexico Home Builders Association.
Call for unity
Earlier in the meeting, state Rep. Nora Espinoza, who represents District 59, which includes a portion of Lincoln County, called for Party unity. She’s running for another two-year term.
“There’s something crucial that needs to be said,” Espinoza told the audience. Just as there are many types of women, there are many types of Republicans, she said.
“Whether you are a patriot or Tea Party, we are all Republicans. We are at a point in history where we must unite,” Espinoza said. “The Democrats have done a great job in keeping us divided. As husband and wife, we don’t agree on everything, but we must focus on things we agree on to become stronger in a marriage.”
The message needs to be sounded that Republicans are not “little kids in high school,” who remove their support for a candidate because he or she hangs out with a particular group or didn’t secure a project or vote on an issue they way they wanted, she said.
“Get off your personal wagon and start thinking about the nation and about our state. We must stand on that message, if we’re going to win and change the direction of America and New Mexico. We must focus on those things we all agree on as Republicans, God, family and country.”
She stands on values, Espinoza said. “If you don’t like me, don’t vote for me, but if you want someone to continue to carry the message, support me. Start uniting and quit eating each other up. Grow up. Don’t vote against someone just because they didn’t vote for a pet project or issue.”