ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Republican Yvette Herrell on Tuesday won a contested race for a U.S. House seat in New Mexico, beating incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in what was New Mexico’s most watched congressional contest.
The race between Herrell and Torres Small was a rematch of 2018. This time, Herrell made an effort to broaden her campaign beyond the region’s more conservative strongholds. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump and other big-name Republicans campaigned virtually for Herrell.
While Torres Small maintained a fundraising edge throughout the race, Herrell received a surge in donations during the third quarter. She raised more than $1 million — one of the biggest fundraising quarters for a Republican congressional candidate in state history.
Herrell embraced Trump’s border wall strategy and promoted her pro-petroleum philosophy in her bid to unseat Torres Small. She also tried to draw parallels between her opponent and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with ads focused on Torres Small’s voting record and ties to gun control activists flooding the airwaves during the campaign’s final days.
Torres Small attempted to portray herself as a moderate who opposed her party’s line on certain issues, like limiting oil and gas development.
Torres Small recently tried to distance herself from comments made by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden — who has waffled on oil and gas, saying early on that he opposed fracking only to be corrected by his campaign and then later suggested he would ban new drilling permits on federal land.
The issue of energy development is important in New Mexico, which is home to part of one of the world’s richest oil and natural gas basins. Revenue from the industry underpins the state budget and supports tens of thousands of jobs.
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