New Mexico Republicans and Democrats chose female candidates Tuesday night for what could be a competitive race for the 2nd District. GOP incumbent Rep. Steve Pearce vacated the seat to run for governor, and Democrats eye it as a potential pickup opportunity.
Lawyer Xochitl Torres Small won the Democratic nod, and state Rep. Yvette Herrell is the GOP pick in the district, which covers the southern half of the state.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Torres Small led Coast Guard veteran Madeline Hildebrandt, 73 percent to 27 percent, according to The Associated Press.
On the Republican side, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, Herrell led a four-way field with 49 percent of the vote to 32 percent for her nearest challenger, former state GOP chairman Monty Williams, according to the AP. She was endorsed by the conservative House Freedom Caucus and two of the group’s co-founders, GOP Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio. VIEW PAC, which works to elect Republican women, also endorsed Herrell in the race.
Even though President Donald Trump carried the 2nd District by 10 points in 2016, shifting demographics and lack of an incumbent could help Democrats flip the district. Roughly 55 percent of the district’s population is Hispanic.
Torres Small is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program for promising challengers, and was endorsed EMILY’s List, which supports female Democrats who back abortion rights. She had $156,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the general election Leans Republican.
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Correction Wednesday, 4:10 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the state represented by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows.