New Mexico Democrats Sit Down and Wait for Former Congresswoman | Local News
In an age when the countryside is too loud and takes too long, a glaring exception exists in New Mexico.
Peace and quiet are bad signs for Democrats, usually the dominant party in the state.
No Democrats stepped in to run for Republican MP Yvette Herrell’s seat.
Herrell, a freshman who represents District 2 that spans southern New Mexico, is now expected to have plenty of potential Democratic challengers.
His vote against the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 riot on the United States Capitol is only the most recent reason.
“The House bill limited the scope of the commission to January 6 only and no other day or event leading up to it,” Herrell wrote of his opposition to a vital inquiry.
With her clumsy hacking attempt, Herrell hinted at a previous vote in which she opposed Democrat Joe Biden’s certification of election as president. She embraced President Donald Trump’s baseless accusations that the election was stolen from him.
Herrell herself claimed without any evidence that she was similarly victimized when she lost the 2018 legislative election. In truth, Herrell made a mistake in declaring victory with thousands of votes to count. She lost to Democrat Xochitl Torres Small by 3,700 votes.
After her loss, Herrell said the Democrats cheated, but she did not run for office. That would have forced her to provide evidence, and not just whining bites about the fraud.
Herrell rebounded to topple Torres Small in November, winning nearly 20,000 votes.
The irony was that Trump lost New Mexico badly, but he won the 2nd Congressional District by a decisive 12 percentage points. Trump’s force in the southern part of the state provided Herrell with long coattails.
Torres Small has not said if she will run against Herrell for the third time. His silence is the reason why no Democrats have run for the seat of Congress.
If Torres Small enters the race, the Democratic nomination is hers for the taking. But if she finally says she is not running, the Democratic group seeking a seat in Congress will reach at least half a dozen candidates.
The primary election is a year away – long if you don’t run, short if you are. Any Democratic newcomer would need every minute to mount an effective campaign against Herrell.
Apart from Torres Small, the two Democrats with the most visibility in District 2 are not considering a campaign in Congress.
Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales of Silver City is running for re-election. State Senator Joe Cervantes de Las Cruces told me he had no intention of running for the seat of Congress.
Morales said Torres Small has a good political record, including securing federal funding to save his hometown medical center.
Torres Small, however, led a listless campaign in 2020. She feared Trump’s popularity in District 2 and did little to differentiate herself from Herrell.
At one point, Herrell and Torres Small even ran dueling ads showing them firing pistols or long guns at targets.
When Torres Small wasn’t wasting money and airtime on gunshots, his dominant claim was that political parties didn’t matter to New Mexicans. Torres Small’s statement made no sense with a polarizing Republican president in power.
Herrell seemed more comfortable than Torres Small in making sure he didn’t upset Trump. She had been practicing for months. In a contested Republican primary, Herrell and his main opponent each said they were more devoted to Trump than the other.
Torres Small, who had worked on the staff of U.S. Democratic Senator Tom Udall before becoming a lawyer, was not herself in the last congressional campaign. Packing a candidate in an attempt to conform to poll trends rarely turns voters on, and it didn’t work for Torres Small.
Still, if she pulls out of the race, Democrats might not be able to come up with a candidate name to challenge Herrell. And the longer Democrats have to sit and wait for Torres Small’s decision, the less likely it is that a lesser-known candidate could catch fire in a district dominated by Republicans for 40 years.
The clock is ticking for Democrats. Despite Herrell’s failures, especially his reluctance to support an honest investigation into the violence that rocked the Capitol and rocked the country, she is growing stronger by the day.
Ringside Seat is an opinion piece on people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at [email protected] or 505-986-3080.