SANTA FE – Election season never ends in New Mexico.
Just a day after announcing she would not contest her general election defeat, Republican Yvette Herrell said she will run again for the 2nd Congressional District in 2020.
Her announcement sets up a potential rematch with Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, who posted a come-from-behind victory over Herrell in the November election.
In a Tuesday statement, Herrell, an ex-state lawmaker from Alamogordo, accused Torres Small and other Democrats of “resisting” Republican-led attempts to improve the nation’s economy.
“Torres Small’s very first votes – for (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and against protecting our country with common-sense border security – proved that her campaign promise to ‘work with anyone’ was just a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of voters,” Herrell said.
Last year’s race between Torres Small and Herrell featured big spending and hard-hitting attacks by out-of-state groups. In addition, Herrell, who has described herself as a “Trump conservative,” declined to participate in televised debates with Torres Small, saying scheduling conflicts kept her from the debates.
Torres Small ultimately won by a 3,722-vote margin over Herrell – she got 50.9 percent of votes cast, compared with 49.1 percent for Herrell – based on final, certified results, and was sworn into office last week in Washington D.C.
The 34-year old Torres Small, who is only the second Democrat to hold the seat in the conservative-leaning district since 1980, plans to run for re-election next year and has already started fundraising for her campaign.
Meanwhile, Herrell could face intraparty opposition in the 2020 race, as Gavin Clarkson of Las Cruces has also expressed interest in running for the seat. Clarkson was the GOP nominee for secretary of state last year, but lost in the general election to incumbent Maggie Toulouse Oliver.
Other Republicans could also jump into the race.
For instance, state GOP Chairman Steve Pearce, who held the 2nd Congressional District seat for years, has not ruled out a possible run for his old seat. Pearce decided not to seek re-election last year and instead ran for governor.
The 2nd Congressional District is one of the nation’s largest districts that do not encompass an entire state. The district covers most of southern New Mexico, including the state’s border with Mexico.