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Mathys says he has signatures for ballot in US House race

March 17, 2020 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces businessman says he has collected enough signatures to qualify to be placed on the ballot in a crucial U.S. House race in southern New Mexico days after failing to obtain enough delegates at a statewide GOP convention.

Chris Mathys told The Associated Press he will submit more than 3,000 signatures and is planning to be on the Republican primary ballot for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional seat. Mathys, former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell and oil executive Claire Chase are seeking the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-Las Cruces.

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Mathys dismissed not gaining enough delegates earlier this month and said voters would decide the GOP primary. “Keep in mind the delegates consist of 200, partisan insiders and do not reflect the electorate as a whole,” Mathys said. “This same group did not support President (Donald) Trump during the 2010 Republican primary.”

He said he’s in the race to win and will be campaigning directly in the district despite not receiving official state party support.

Herrell earned top billing at a statewide GOP convention on the Republican primary ballot for the 2nd Congressional District. She won twice as many delegate votes as conservative former oil industry lobbyist Chase.

During the GOP primary race this year, Herrell and Chase have been trading shots over who is more supportive of Trump. Herrell has repeatedly pointed to old Facebook posts by Chase criticizing Trump. Chase has pointed to an old email from Herrell seeking support for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was running for president against Trump.

Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by fewer than 3,000 votes to flip a traditionally Republican-leaning district on the U.S. border.

The sprawling district is home to a lucrative oil region but also has some of the most impoverished communities in the U.S. The district houses the highest percentage of Hispanic voters in a state with the highest percentage of Hispanic residents.

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