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Torres Small keeps huge money advantage in key US House race

October 29, 2018
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FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2018 file photo, Democratic Congressional hopeful Xochitl Torres Small, right, greets supporters at the opening of her Sunland Park, New Mexico office. Republican nominee Yvette Herrell has declined to respond to offers by three television stations to participate in a debate between her and Torres Small. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras,File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Democrat Xochitl Torres Small continues to vastly outraise her GOP opponent in a key U.S. House race in southern New Mexico that could determine which party controls Congress, new federal documents show.

According to new Federal Election Commission filings made public over the weekend, water rights attorney Torres Small raised $803,650 during the first two weeks in October while Republican state lawmaker Yvette Herrell pulled in $147,779. That’s a more than five times advantage in money raised for an open U.S. House seat that both parties have targeted.

In addition to the fundraising edge, Torres Small’s campaign reported having $1,003,194 cash on hand on Oct. 17. Records show Herrell had $406,459 at the end of the same filing period.

The seat has been held by a Republican since 2011 but Democrats hope that Torres Small can flip the traditional GOP-leaning congressional district that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The new filings came just weeks about third-quarter campaign financing reports showed Torres Small raised more than three times as much money from July through September as Herrell in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

The fundraising leverage has allowed Torres Small to saturate the Albuquerque and southern New Mexico television markets with about a dozen commercials showing her shooting a gun as a hunter, speaking about border security and featuring Republican supporters who say they will “vote the person, not the party.”

Herrell’s campaign has focused on turning out her conservative, rural base in eastern New Mexico by claiming that Torres Small is too liberal for the district. She declined to participate in television debates with Torres Small and has promoted endorsements from the National Rifle Association and other conservative-leaning groups.

Herrell’s few ads have largely attacked Torres Small for being “bankrolled” by Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and for pushing a “radical agenda” of higher taxes. Herell’s ads also point out that Torres Small once worked for Planned Parenthood.

Torres Small said she has not decided whether she will vote for Pelosi to become the Speaker of House if the Democrats win back control of House of Representatives.

According to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office, nearly a quarter of a million people cast early voting ballots by Saturday, with more than half coming from registered Democrats.

Records show 11,624 registered Democrats voted early compared to 6,501 registered Republicans as of Saturday in New Mexico’s Dona Ana County, which encompasses the city of Las Cruces and is the most populous county in the 2nd Congressional District.

Democrats have long targeted the heavily Hispanic congressional district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans. But the district recently has remained in GOP hands largely because of outgoing Republican Rep. Steve Pearce, who has attracted support from Hispanics and the region’s oil and gas interests.

Pearce is giving up the seat because he is running for New Mexico governor.

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Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

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