The Associated Press has called former Las Cruces City Councilor Gabriel “Gabe” Vasquez the winner of the Democratic primary election for the 2nd Congressional District nomination, defeating Dr. Darshan Patel, of Lea County.
On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell did not face a primary opponent. Vasquez will now run against Herrell in November. Herrell defeated Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in 2020 in one of the most contested, and most expensive, House of Representative seat races in the country.
Democrats consider the 2nd Congressional District a race that is in play. The second congressional district changed due to redistricting late last year and now includes parts of Bernalillo County. This, in addition to including Las Cruces, makes it a more urban district.
It is also a district that borders Texas, which effectively banned abortion last year with a law that allows lawsuits against providers or others who help a pregnant patient obtain an abortion in that state after six weeks, when most pregnant people don’t know yet that they are pregnant. With the U.S. Supreme Court appearing to be on the cusp of overturning Roe v. Wade this summer, abortion clinics in New Mexico are widely expected to be overwhelmed by pregnant people coming from other states, such as Texas, seeking legal abortions.
Herrell has often spoken of her anti-abortion position.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney congratulated Vasquez on his win.
“Gabe Vasquez is a product of Southern New Mexico, and he will be a fierce fighter for the families who call New Mexico’s Second District home. From his time working in Sen. Martin Heinrich’s office, to serving as a Las Cruces council member, Vasquez remains steadfastly committed to delivering for New Mexico.
Vasquez celebrated his win with approximately 100 supporters in downtown Las Cruces on Tuesday night. He told NM Political Report that his primary concern going into the general race is the economy, inflation and the rising prices of goods, gas and services.
He said he supports investment in renewable energy in New Mexico but he still supports fossil fuels in the southeast corner of the district.
“I don’t think we do that [support renewable energy] at the expense of ending oil and gas, protecting workers in the oil and gas industry and the health of front line communities and our environment,” he said.
Vasquez said that he does not want to see the U.S. return to an era when male politicians control women’s bodies, referring to the upcoming Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
“On a national scale, that’s a devastating loss of rights all across the country,” he said.
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer criticized Vasquez’s policy positions and congratulated Herrell on winning an uncontested race.
Michelle Garcia Holmes wins Republican primary for 1st Congressional District
Former Albuquerque Police Department officer Michelle Garcia Holmes has won the Republican primary race for the 1st Congressional District.
Garcia Holmes defeated gun range owner Louie Sanchez. She will now face incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury in November. Stansbury did not have an opponent in the primary race.
Since redistricting late last year, the 1st Congressional District now contains most of Bernalillo County, all of Torrance County and parts of Santa Fe, Valencia and Sandoval counties.
Garcia Holmes ran as a nonpartisan candidate for mayor of Albuquerque in 2017 in an 8-way race which current Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller won. She ran unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor alongside gubernatorial Republican nominee Steve Pearce.
Stansbury replaced Secretary of the Interior Deb Holland when President Joe Biden picked Holland to run the agency in 2021.