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Results: Xochitl Torres Small vs. Yvette Herrell in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District Election

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  • First-term Rep. Xochitl Torres Small has lost New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District to Republican challenger Yvette Herrell, according to Decision Desk HQ. 
  • Herrell, a staunch conservative, made it through a bitter primary fight in June to face Torres-Small, who defeated her by under two points in the 2018 midterm.
  • See the live coverage and full results from all US House elections.
  • The district encompasses the entire southern half of the state, stretching from the area immediately south of Albuquerque down to the US-Mexico border, and voted for President Trump by 10 points in 2016. 
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Former GOP State Representative Yvette Herrell has defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small to win control of New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, according to Decision Desk HQ. 

The candidates:

When former GOP Rep. Steve Pearce retired to run for governor in 2018, Torres Small narrowly beat out Herrell — a staunch conservative and supporter of President Donald Trump — by just under two percentage points despite Pearce carrying the district by six points in his gubernatorial campaign.

Before being elected to Congress, Torres Small worked as an attorney on clean water access and other environmental issues in New Mexico and later as an aide to outgoing Sen. Tom Udall. In Congress, she serves on the powerful House Homeland Security and Agriculture Committees. 

Herrell defeated energy executive and businesswoman Claire Chase and real estate broker Chris Mathys to secure the Republican nomination again in the 2020 election, a contentious and at-times bitter primary fight. 

Several well-funded Democratic organizations including EMILY’s List’s Women Vote! PAC also got involved in the primary by sending out mailers attacking Chase as insufficiently loyal to Trump in an effort to boost Herrell, who those groups believed to be a weaker candidate than Chase.

The liberal super PAC Patriot Majority also spent $250,000 on ads similarly negatively framing Chase as a Trump-critical “lobbyist” and Herrell as a “loyalist,” the Center for Responsive Politics reported.

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The district:

The vast 2nd Congressional District encompasses the entire southern half of the state, stretching down from the area immediately south of Albuquerque down to the US-Mexico border.  

The 2nd District is over a quarter Hispanic, and is also home to a substantial oil and natural gas industry presence. The district has traditionally leaned Republican, with Trump carrying it by 10 points, 50% to 40%, over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Trump’s sizeable 2016 margin of victory in the district makes Torres-Small one of the most vulnerable freshmen Democrats up for re-election in 2020. 

The money race:

Torres Small has built up a sizeable cash advantage while Herrell fought to win her hotly-contested primary.

Torres Small raised over $7.5 million, spent $6.6 million, and has $1.1 million in cash on hand compared to $2.5 million raised, $2.5 million spent, and a little over $212,000 in cash on hand for Herrell, according to the Center for Responsive Politics

What some of the experts say: 

New Mexico’s 2nd District was rated by a “toss-up” by The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, and “leans Democratic” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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