Sunday, June 4, 2023

CD2 Puts NM On the National Stage

New Congressional Lines Mean New Faces for Some ABQ Voters as Parts of the South Valley Are Now in the 2nd District


New Mexico’s three U.S House Districts look more like a lopsided donut after the lines were redrawn to reflect the 2020 Census population shift. This means many New Mexicans will be voting in a different district. 

It’s Red Now, Could Go Blue

Congressional District 2, or CD2, has been the southern district taking in roughly the bottom half of the state. It’s been a red seat held mainly by Republicans for the most part of its history. But it has had its blue moments. The seat is currently held by Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell. She took the seat away from Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in the 2020 election. Torres Small had taken the seat away from Herrell in the 2018 election in a squeaker of a win. 

US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM2), campaign photo

With the new boundaries, part of the southern district scoops up and takes in part of Bernalillo County’s far South Valley which puts those voters in the same district as Hobbs, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Silver City, Belen and many other communities in this sprawling southwest dominated district.

Former Las Cruces City Councilman Gabe Vasquez is challenging incumbent Herrell. And the battle has been played out with ads calling each other too extreme or too liberal for New Mexico. This is a key race not only for New Mexico but also for the political party balance in the U.S. House of Representatives where Democrats hold a slim margin of 221 – 212.

Meet Gabe

Gabe Vasquez is a former Las Cruces city councilor who served from 2017 to 2021. He has a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University in English and Journalism. He has worked on startup companies and has worked in a couple of non-profits.

When it comes to crime, he has been accused of not being in support of law enforcement. As a member of the Las Cruces city council, he consistently voted to increase the police budget. He has said that police reform, NOT defunding, is the right way to go.

The Paper.: What do you plan to do in Congress about protecting women’s medical and reproductive rights?

Gabe: Politicians have no place between a woman and her doctor. In Congress I will vote to codify Roe v. Wade into law and protect access to contraception, two things my opponent has voted against.

Why should you be elected and not your opponent?

I will always put New Mexicans first, not party politics or political agendas. In Congress I’ll work to build an economy that helps our workers and small businesses, lower health care costs, protect reproductive health care, pass comprehensive immigration reform, and build a clean energy economy in New Mexico that will provide good paying jobs and address climate change.

If you win, what is a single issue you will prioritize?

Building an economy that puts our workers and small businesses first. Politicians in Congress have continuously put huge corporations and wealthy CEOs first. We need to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour and provide support and assistance to small business owners who are the economic backbone in communities across this district.

What can you do as a candidate, and then as a Congressperson, to ensure election integrity?

Tell the truth about our elections, that they are safe and secure. In Congress, I’ll support legislation like the Electoral Count Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act to ensure that our elections remain secure and that every American is able to cast their vote in an election and have that vote counted.

What gun violence prevention measures do you support?

As a hunter and responsible firearm owner, [I know] there are common sense measures we can take to decrease gun violence. I support expanding background checks, instituting red flag laws, closing the gun show loophole and cracking down on ghost guns.

Anything else you would like the voters of this large and diverse district to know about you?

This is an incredibly important election. As a first-generation American I’ve been able to pursue my American Dream, but for too many New Mexicans that dream is being ripped away from them by extremists in Congress who care more about party politics than doing what is best for New Mexico. In Congress, I’ll fight to make sure everyone has an opportunity to live their American Dream.

Meet Yvette

Congresswoman Yvette Herrell is no stranger to Washington politics. As the incumbent she has an edge. But the southern part of NM tends to be a bit more conservative so it will be a nail-biter to see if Herrell can hang on with the addition of the new metro area voters who tend to be a little more liberal. She is from Alamogordo, where she has been in real estate and other businesses.

When it comes to the hot button issue of crime, she takes a hard stance. According to her website one prominent thing she wants to do to help the crime problem is to finish building the border wall. In Washington, she voted against the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which addressed policing practices and law enforcement accountability.

What do you plan to do in Congress about protecting women’s medical and reproductive rights?

I will always support women’s rights when it comes to healthcare, as well as in all other aspects of life. I am pro-life, and now that Roe vs. Wade has been overturned, abortion policy is now decided by each state.

*Herrell voted against codifying Roe v Wade.

Why should you be elected and not your opponent?

 I believe in the American Dream, limited government and the freedoms given to us through the Constitution. Unfortunately, my opponent has bought into a dangerous and radical agenda that punishes job creators and small businesses, leaves our border open, raises our taxes, defunds our police, and promotes policies that will diminish our great country. 

If you win, what is a single issue you will prioritize?

The most important issue I’ll prioritize is the out of control spending in Washington that has dramatically driven up the cost of living for hard working Americans, making it hard for many to make ends meet. And with higher prices, job creators and small businesses face difficult decisions, further slowing the economy. Prices can be lowered when Congress controls its spending.

What can you do as a candidate, and then as a Congressperson, to ensure election integrity?

We should institute voter identification measures, and ensure the absentee voting process is not abused. Americans want secure elections, and I don’t believe this should be a partisan issue.

*On the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, after the Jan. 6 insurrection, she continued to stand by Trump and his contentions the election was stolen did not vote to impeach him for his role in the deadly riot.

What gun violence prevention measures do you support?

There are enough laws on the books today to take illegal guns off the streets, hold criminals accountable, and dramatically reduce gun violence. We need to enforce the law and elect prosecutors who will try these crimes and uphold their oath to keep Americans safe from violent criminals.

Anything else you would like the voters of this large and diverse district to know about you?

I have worked hard to represent the amazing people of our district, and hope to continue doing so in the next Congress. I am a proud conservative, but I am also working across the aisle to benefit New Mexico, working with my New Mexico Democratic colleagues on legislation to protect those impacted by uranium mining and preserving our water resources. I am also co-sponsoring legislation with Democrats to support the men and women of the Border Patrol, protect Social Security, and expand tele-health.


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