New Mexico’s freshman member of Congress is only about three months into his first term, but he’s already become a focus for both Republican and Democratic national committees’ campaigns for 2024.
Rep. Gabe Vasquez, D-N.M., defeated Republican Yvette Herrell in the 2022 election by less than a percentage point in the district, which is rooted in southern New Mexico but stretches north to include parts of Albuquerque’s South Valley and West Side. Herrell has already filed her intent to run to retake the seat in 2024.
It didn’t take long for Vasquez to be targeted by Republican groups.
This week, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced that Vasquez’s seat is one of 37 House seats that are being targeted by Republicans in the 2024 election because the GOP thinks the Democrats are vulnerable.
Similarly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently named Vasquez one of 29 “frontline” members, who the committee said are the most at-risk of losing their seat in 2024.
The group acknowledged New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District has typically been a Republican stronghold, with only two Democrats winning the seat since 2011.
“Gabe defeated far-right Republican Yvette Herrell and flipped the district by a narrow margin. In 2022, he spent over $4 million to win this seat,” the committee said on its website. “Republicans have their eyes set on NM-02 and will do everything they can to take back this seat, and Yvette Herrell has already filed to run again in 2024. We must ensure Rep. Vasquez has the resources necessary to hold this seat.”
Vasquez said in an email that Republicans are playing political games and could instead focus on bipartisan bills to address inflation and grow the economy.
“Meanwhile, since starting my term, I’ve traveled over 3,000 miles, meeting with constituents from Hobbs, to Deming, to Albuquerque, serving on the committees critical to the people of New Mexico and working on bringing home Community Project Funding — something the previous representative never did,” he said.
National political groups have already started fundraising and spending money.
Nationwide, the DCCC in January reportedly raised $8.2 million and spent $8.5 million, according to the Federal Election Commission’s website. Meanwhile, the Republican counterpart reportedly raised $4.8 million in January and spent $8.4 million, according to the website.
The Republican committee this month has issued several news releases about Vasquez, highlighting a recent vote he cast related to criminal penalties in Washington, D.C. Vasquez, along with the state’s other Congressional Democrats, voted against a resolution of disapproval of the changes to the D.C. criminal code. President Joe Biden and a large number of Senate Democrats later joined Republicans in blocking the law.
The committee has also targeted Vasquez over the large number of immigrants at the Mexican border.
“Gabe Vasquez is a radical Democrat who supports defunding the police and reducing penalties for violent crime. After just a few months in Congress, Vasquez has aligned himself with the extreme Left, which will come back to haunt him in 2024,” Delanie Bomer, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, said in a news release.
Vasquez said in a statement that he remains committed to public safety.
“My vote on H.J. Res 24 was a vote to give the residents of Washington, D.C. autonomy over their own city and their own local decisions, particularly because they lack federal representation, as our states do,” he said in a statement. “As a former City Councilor, I believe local governments should have a say in important local decisions without federal government overreach.”