On November 9, the day after the general election, Democrat Gabe Vasquez declared victory over Incumbent Republican Representative Yvette Herrell in the Southern 2nd Congressional District. The race had been declared too close to call on election day, but after all votes had been counted in all 650 precincts, Vasquez won with 50.2% to 49.7% of the vote. The vote is above the level calling for an automatic recount.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office Vasquez won the race by 1,224 votes out of 192,232 total votes cast. Republican Yvette Herrell secured 95,470 votes, Democrat Gabe Vasquez secured 96,747 and write in candidate Eliseo Luna secured 15 votes.
Democrat US Representative Gabe Vasquez elect had this to say in a statement:
“Make no mistake about it, there’s nothing that happens in Washington that New Mexico can’t do better. … To everyone out there struggling, no matter whether you voted for me or not, please know this: I see you, I hear you, and I’ll fight my heart out for you. Because public service is a sacred responsibility that I will never take for granted.”
Republican Congresswoman Herrell for her part did not deny the results of the election, as she did with the election of President Biden, and called Vasquez to congratulate him. However she did blame her loss on the “gerrymandering” of the district and hinted she will run again in two years. Harrell had this to say in a statement:
“While we are all disappointed in the final results, I am incredibly proud of our team and the work we did serving our district, and I am grateful for the steadfast support of so many people who help us along the way. I’d also like to congratualate Gabe Vasquez on his victory.”
“Two years ago, the Democrats in Santa Fe announced they would gerrymander our district to ensure they would totally control our state’s federal delegation. Unfortunately, they did just that, ignoring the will of the people in the process. While this was enough to give them a victory by less than 1% in this election, I am confident in our party’s ability to retake this seat next cycle as Joe Biden’s agenda continues to damage our great nation. Stay tuned!”
The links to quoted news sources are here:
State lawmakers changed all 3 of New Mexico’s congressional maps earlier this year as part of redistricting, which is done every 10 years based on the United States census. Before redistricting, geographically the second congressional district was essentially the entire Southern half of New Mexico and included the most conservative parts of the state. Many southern counties were previously part of the 2nd Congressional District but are now in the 1st and 3rd congressional districts as a result of redistricting.
On election night, Yvette Herrell was in the lead by several hundred votes. However, Vasquez took a lead overnight after more votes were counted.
The 2022 redistricting had an immediate impact. Vasquez secured 59% of the vote in Bernalillo County, which resulted in upwards of 9,000 more votes than Herrell in Bernalillo county. Vasquez also carried Doña Ana County which includes his hometown of Las Cruces and which is heavily Democratic. Vasquez won Dona Ana county 56% to 43%, which resulted in upwards of 7,000 mote votes more than Herrell. Elec
Herrell for her part dominated Vasquez in rural parts of the district. In Eddy, Catron and Lea counties, she earned 74%, 75% and 78% of the vote, respectively. But those three counties netted her only about 8,200 more votes than Vasquez.
HOTLY CONTESTED RACE WITH NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS
The race for the Southern 2nd Congressional District was one of the most contentious, most expensive races in the country. It has national implications, especially now that the Republicans are on the verge of re-taking the US House by a few votes.
The Republican National Committee opened Hispanic community centers in the Bernalillo County portion of the district and in Las Cruces in an effort to make inroads with Hispanic voters. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee picked the race for its “Red to Blue program” which sought to raise money for Democratic candidates trying to flip congressional seats.
Yvette Herrell was running for a second term after she first lost the seat to Xochitle Torrez Small who served only one term. Harrell had succeeded Steve Pierce and lost a re election bid to Torrez Small. Herrell’s 2022 campaign mirrored the National Republican Party Agenda and focused on inflation, border security and crime.
Vasquez is a first-generation American and former Las Cruces city councilor and he is fluent in Spanish. He zeroed in on Yvette Herrell’s extreme positions which included criminalizing all abortions, being and election denier and voting against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, even after she witnessed the January 6 capitol riot by Trump election deniers and also denied the 9/11 terrorist attack. She was the only member of New Mexico’s congressional delegation to vote against the emergency aide to Northern New Mexico to deal with the wild fires.
ALBQUERQUE JOURNAL POLL PREDICTED UPSET
On October 31, the Albuquerque Journal published its first and only poll results in the states 3 congressional races. The poll in the 2nd Congressional District between Republican Incumbent Yvette Herrell and Democrat Gabe Vasquez came as a very big shock to the political establishment in both the Democrat and Republican party establishments.
The Journal poll found that Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez has a 2% lead over incumbent Republican Yvette Herrell. The polling gave Vasquez 47% of likely voters supporting him while 45% favor Herrell with 8% of voters are undecided. The 2nd Congressional District for decades had been dominated by very conservative southern New Mexico and had elected Republicans and was represented Republican Party State Chair Steve Pierce who while in congress was a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus.
The link to the full, unedited Albuquerque Journal article which include graphs is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Talk about a political rout. In the 2022 general election, New Mexico Democrats not only defeated virtually all Republicans by very comfortable margins in all statewide executive offices and judicial offices, they also added a seat to the already overwhelming state House Majority.
To add a huge dose of salt to the bleeding New Mexico Republican wounds, Democrat Gabe Vasquez scored a major upset defeating Republican Yvette Herrell in Second Congressional District making all 3 of New Mexico’s Congressional Districts held by Democrats.