AP NEWS

Republican who lost race for House seat vows to try again

May 7, 2019
FILE - In this May 24, 2018 file photo, Republican Yvette Herrell talks to voters at a forum in Hobbs, N.M, during her unsuccessful campaign for a U.S House seat in southern New Mexico in 2018. Herrell, who lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in a close election in 2018, promises a different campaign against Torres Small in 2020 after facing criticism for avoiding debates. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Republican Yvette Herrell, a former state lawmaker who drew criticism for waging a losing, lackluster campaign last year for a key congressional seat in southern New Mexico, is vowing to run a different campaign in 2020.

She’ll need to make it to the general election first.

Herrell told the Hobbs News-Sun that she has hired consultants and plans to debate Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small — something she avoided during the closely watched 2018 race.

“I think there’s an opportunity for me to win,” Herrell told the newspaper. “I think that the voters are going to be paying closer attention.”

To capture the GOP nomination for a rematch with Torres Small, Herrell will have to first defeat fellow Republican Chris Mathys, a Las Cruces businessman. So far, he’s the only other declared Republican candidate.

Torres Small defeated Herrell last year after absentee ballots from the Democratic and Hispanic voter stronghold of Doña Ana County put her over the top by less than 4,000 votes.

Herrell faced criticism during the race for refusing to participate in any televised debates.

Describing herself now as a top-tier candidate, Herrell said scheduling conflicts prevented her from participating in debates. But television stations told The Associated Press that Herrell’s campaign never gave alternative dates and often avoided returning phone calls and emails.

Herrell rarely returned phone calls from AP in 2018.

Mathys said the GOP blew the 2018 race and criticized Herrell for not participating in televised debates. He also said Herrell didn’t engage the media enough and simply got out-worked by Torres Small.

“Yvette, to be candid, she had her shot,” Mathys said. “Guess what, she didn’t make it and a lot of it had to do with just not being accessible and not working hard.”

Democrats had long targeted the heavily Hispanic congressional district along the Mexico border where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans.

Torres Small, a granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who grew up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rarely mentioned President Donald Trump on the campaign trail and promised to uphold the region’s “rural values.”

Herrell stressed her support from Trump and his plan to build a wall along the border.

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Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com

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