US House Races/New Mexico

Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder

New Mexico District 02:

Candidates are Xochitl Torres Small (D) and Yvette Herrell (R). This is another open seat, Rep. Steve Pearce retiring at the end of this term.

Small is a practicing water attorney in El Paso, Texas.   She has a bachelor’s degree, Cum Laude, from Georgetown University and a law degree from the University of New Mexico.   She has been a field representative for Senator Udall and clerked for a New Mexico federal judge. Her web page is thin on her positions.   And she has not responded to Vote Smart’s issue questionnaire, but she has said that she opposes the repeal of Obamacare and wants to concentrate on bringing more healthcare services to rural New Mexico and negotiating for lower drug prices with the companies.   She also will seek more funding for public education and says that environmental protection is important to her. She won her primary with 73% of the vote and had $156,000 in cash on hand as of May.

Herrell is a realtor in Alamagordo.   She went to IIT Business School in Idaho where she studied to be a legal secretary.   She has been a member of the NM State House of Representatives since 2010. She would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, wants term limits for Members of Congress, supports Trump on immigration, including building the Wall, is a “proud NRA member,” opposes a ban on assault weapons, believes that concealed-carry on school grounds is good policy, wants to give control over public lands to states and localities, opposes single-payer, believes that DACA was never intended to lead to U.S. citizenship, wants to limit the federal role in education and seeks lower corporate income taxes and less regulation in order to promote economic growth.   In short, she is another hard-core right-winger in a pretty red district. She won her primary with 49% of the vote and had $38,000 in cash on hand in May.

Description of the District: This is roughly the southern 60% of the state, making it the largest congressional district in the U.S. that is not a single state.   It is 71% urban, has an HMI of $29,000 (making it the poorest district so far analyzed in these reports) and is said to be 63% White, 3% Black, 1% Asian, 27% Hispanic and 6% Native American.   Trump beat Hillary by 10%. Cook gives it a PVI of R+6 and rates this race as “lean R.”

Summary: Small appears to be a very attractive candidate, but she is fighting substantial Republican headwinds.   She is the future of this district but may have trouble this time. Yet her victory is important, since Herrell is very conservative and may occupy this seat for a while if she wins this time.   Small has more financial resources right now, but R donors will likely pour money into Herrell. Small needs our support and looks like she deserves it.