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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Second CD Race Fizzling Fast; National Dems Nowhere In Sight As Vasquez Fights For Oxygen And Herrell Gets A Committee Boost; Southern Race Now Being Billed "Lean R" By Insiders, Not A Toss-Up 

Rep. Herrell
Since we last checked in on the southern congressional district in late June things have gone from bad to worse for the Democrats. 

Consultants, insiders and Alligators are all flagging us that large-scale national Democratic involvement in the contest between GOP freshman Rep. Yvette Herrell and Democrat Gabe Vasquez is exceedingly unlikely and the seat is starting to look "lean Republican" rather than the "toss-up" that the Potomac pundits assign to the race. 

If former Las Cruces City Councilor Vasquez is on his own, the chance of the Dems flipping the seat are slim. He did boast that his second quarter fund-raising beat out Herrell by $54,000 but she maintains a huge cash on hand advantage of $1.695 million to Vasquez's $623,000.

To oust Herrell would take millions and with August beckoning time is running out, if it hasn't already. 

In 2020 the southern race was the most expensive in the nation with spending from all sources soaring over $37 million. What a difference two years make. 

As we reported in June, the national Dems are reluctant to pony up the needed cash this year because of the steep challenges they face in districts where they are trying to hold off charging Republicans. 

Also, Vasquez's profile as a progressive Dem has left a sour taste among the DC Dems who believe a moderate or conservative is a better fit.

Vasquez was hand-picked for the seat by his former boss, Sen. Martin Heinrich, and there's already finger-pointing over that decision. 

The newly drawn district has a four point "partisan lean" for the Democrats, but many of those are conservative and voter turnout for those who are not can be a problem.

Herrell is hewing to a stern conservative line on cultural issues issues such as abortion and gay marriage, betting that turnout for her in rural areas outside of Las Cruces will carry the day. 

Also, the new Democrats in the district in the ABQ South Valley and Westside lean moderate, making it more difficult for Vasquez to score a landslide win there that he needs to win. 

There have been no TV ads from either side yet and no public polling. But you don't need a microscope to see the handwriting on this wall. 

HERRELL'S PROMOTION

Meanwhile, if Herrell is re-elected and the House, as widely expected, is put back in the GOP corner, she will find herself chairman of a subcommittee, specifically the Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. 

She is warming up in the bullpen as the newly named Ranking Member of that subcommittee. As usual she is on offense:

I am excited for the opportunity to stand up for my constituents who have been railroaded by reckless, one-size-fits all executive actions by this administration. I will work to provide oversight over executive actions that have increased energy prices, harmed American agriculture, and ignored the expertise of local families and businesses. I am proud to champion New Mexico‚Äôs legacy of environmental stewardship and lead Republican members on the Environment Subcommittee. 

While Herrell relishes a chance to needle the opposition party, our sources say don't look for her to spread her wings in state politics, if she captures a second two year term. Offered one:

Herrell will not get deeply involved with the state GOP and try to steer it or start recruiting candidates. Thats not her thing. She's happy with what she has and what may be coming her way.

A "happy" Republican in Dem-dominated New Mexico? Oh my.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2022


 
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