November 8, 2022

2nd Congressional District race remains too close to call, Vasquez has slight lead

After the calendar changed from Tuesday to Wednesday, two other congressional races had projected winners and election workers counted 187,000 votes in the 2nd Congressional District race with an indeterminate number of votes remaining, the race between Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell and Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez remained too close to call.

Update: Wednesday afternoon, Vasquez declared victory and Herrell conceded. Story here.

Vasquez led in the unofficial Secretary of State numbers by just over 1,000 votes in the race that looms even larger with an expected Republican wave failing to materialize.

With control of the U.S. House to be determined, the southern New Mexico race remained one of dozens that have yet to be called. The New York Times projects that Herrell would win by one point, but has yet to make a formal projection that she won the seat. The Times projects that Republican will win a majority in the House, but many other races remain too close to call.

It is similar to 2018, when it appeared on election night that Herrell had won, defeating Democrat Xochitl Torres Small. But there were still thousands of uncounted absentee ballots in Doña Ana and Cibola counties. When those votes were counted, with lawyers and political observers from around the state watching, Torres Small won by 3,722 votes.

This time, however, Doña Ana County has a handful of votes remaining, instead of thousands. And Herrell trails.

All counties in the 2nd Congressional District reported 100 percent of precincts reporting, leaving only a small number of votes that need to be hand tallied (provisional ballots and other special cases).

Another difference is in the district. During redistricting last year, legislators made sweeping changes to all three of the state’s congressional districts, including moving parts of Albuquerque’s South Valley in Bernalillo County into the 2nd Congressional District and taking portions of eastern and southeastern New Mexico from the 2nd Congressional District to the other two.

Democrats easily won the other two congressional races on Tuesday.

While close, it would need to narrow even further to trigger an automatic recount; state law says an automatic recount only occurs in the case of a federal election if the margin between the top two candidates is within 0.25 percentage points.

Update (11/9, 12:45 a.m.): Changed the post to reflect the new vote count and that Doña Ana County only has a handful of votes left.

Update (11/9, 1:03 a.m.): Changed the post to reflect that Vasquez now leads in the numbers from the Secretary of State’s website.