November 4, 2020

Republican Herrell projected to win hard-fought 2nd Congressional District race


Yvette Herrell

Just like two years ago, Republican Yvette Herrell declared victory late Tuesday night.

She wrote on Twitter, “It’s the honor of my life to be elected to serve [the 2nd Congressional District]. My commitment to each citizen of our district is that I will serve each of them with integrity as we work together to rebuild our economy and protect the values that make America great!”

This time, however, the Associated Press projected Herrell as the victor in the race, at 12:13 a.m.

Torres Small’s campaign said early Wednesday morning she did not have a comment but would reach out later in the morning.

In 2018, Democrat Xochitl Torres Small ended up winning the race narrowly, after all absentee ballots were counted. Herrell had a much smaller lead after the tally ended on election night in 2018.

As of 11:45 p.m., Herrell led Torres Small by 8 points, or a little more than 21,000 votes. The state reported results from all but a little under 5,000 votes as of Wednesday at midnight.

Election workers are required to stop counting ballots at 11 p.m. on election night as part of a law passed by the Legislature during this year’s legislative session.

The 2nd Congressional District is the most conservative in the state and was considered one of the best pickup opportunities in the entire country for Republicans. Torres Small was just the second Democrat to hold the seat since the state gained a third congressional district; Harry Teague won the seat in the 2008 wave election, but lost it in 2010 to Steve Pearce. (Pearce ran for U.S. Senate in 2008 and lost before seeking the congressional seat again.)

This year, Teague endorsed the Republican.

The rematch of the 2018 election was one of the most expensive in the nation and featured wall-to-wall election ads on TV, radio and the internet from both the candidates and outside groups, including high-spending super PACs.

The other two congressional races were easy victories for Democrats, with Deb Haaland winning reelection to the 1st Congressional District and Teresa Leger Fernandez winning the open 3rd Congressional District seat.

The Associated Press also projected that Ben Ray Luján won the open U.S. Senate race over Mark Ronchetti.