A three-way race in the Republican primary for the state’s 2nd Congressional District ended with former state representative Yvette Herrell winning the Republican nod.
The Associated Press called the race for Herrell at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. Herrell had garnered 45.58 percent of the vote at the time.
The primary campaign was dominated by attacks between Herrell and oil and gas lobbyist Claire Chase. Chase came under fire in the early days of the campaign for social media posts made in 2015 and 2016 that were critical of President Donald Trump. Chase has since praised Trump for his “fearless leadership.”
Chase took more vots in Chaves and Eddy counties, but fell behind Herrell in Doña Ana County and Lea County. Chase garnered 31.62 percent of the vote as of 2 a.m. Wednesday to Herrell’s 44.77 percent.
The third candidate in the race, Las Cruces businessman Chris Mathys, garnered 23.6 percent of the vote.
“We ran a real hard and tough race, but at the end of the day we were outraised. That had a big influence on the results,” Mathys told NM Political Report. Herrell’s campaign raised about three times what Mathys’ campaign had raised, he said.
Chase’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment, but the Associated Press reported Chase called Herrell to concede the race as of 9:30 pm.
Herrell’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Herrell will now face Democrat incumbent and first-term Rep. Xochitl Torres Small and Independent candidate Steve Jones in the general election in November.
The Republican party is eager to regain the seat it lost in the 2018 midterm elections. Torres Small and Herrell faced off in that election, which saw Torres Small become only the second Democrat to represent the district since the state earned a third congressional district in 1983.
Herrell lost the election by just a few thousand votes collected through absentee ballots, which spurred her campaign to cry election foul, though the campaign did not contest the election.
The Congressional Leadership Fund president Dan Conston said in a statement Herrell is “the fighter we need to take this seat back from Nancy Pelosi and her liberal lapdog, Xochitl Torres Small.”
“Congresswoman Torres Small went to Washington and forgot she’s supposed to represent New Mexicans, not play second fiddle to Washington Democrats in their extreme attempts to outlaw New Mexico’s oil and gas industries or their failed attempts to remove President Trump from office. Xochitl Torres Small’s record is out-of-line with New Mexico voters, and I have no doubt Yvette Herrell will send her packing in November.”
The CLF said it has spent $1.1 million so far across the district in campaigns targeting Rep. Torres Small for defeat in November.
Torres Small, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary for the seat, stressed bipartisanship in a statement Tuesday evening.
“Now more than ever, we need leaders committed to working together to get things accomplished,” she said. “I’ve worked every day with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats to find community-driven solutions to our shared challenges — defeating COVID-19 by improving access to healthcare, reopening and rebuilding our economy, and bridging the racial and societal divides that are tearing at the fabric of our country. This is the type of leadership New Mexicans deserve and the type of representation I will continue to provide.”
Update: Updated results to as of 2 a.m.