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Tea Party Super PAC calls GOP US House hopeful a ‘liberal’

May 7, 2020 GMT
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In this Feb. 13, 2020, photo, GOP U.S. House candidate Claire Chase speaks to voters in Los Lunas, N.M. Chase and two other Republican hopefuls seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small for a key southern New Mexico seat are hitting the airwaves early. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
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In this Feb. 13, 2020, photo, GOP U.S. House candidate Claire Chase speaks to voters in Los Lunas, N.M. Chase and two other Republican hopefuls seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small for a key southern New Mexico seat are hitting the airwaves early. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A new ad by Super PAC working to elect Tea Party-leaning candidates in U.S. House races is comparing one GOP hopeful to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and calling her “a Trump-hating liberal.”

The ad released this week by House Freedom Action Super PAC attacks oil executive Claire Chase over old Facebook posts from the 2016 presidential primary, where Chase expressed dislike for Donald Trump’s behavior. A female voice reads Chase’s past posts with an image of the president shaking his head.

“When it mattered most, Claire Chase sounded like crooked Hilary Clinton,” a male voice says. “Because Claire Chase is a Trump-hating liberal.”

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The ad then says Trump needs allies, not “liberal enemies” like Chase or “nasty Nancy Pelosi” in Congress.

Claire, a former supporter of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for president, has since apologized for her old posts and said she was wrong. Claire said she voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

She’s locked in a contentious GOP primary with former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell and Las Cruces businessman Chris Mathys for a chance to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who represents a swing southern New Mexico district.

Chase and Herrell have been trading attacks on who is the most stalwart supporter of Trump while trying to portray the other as a secret Trump hater.

The latest Super PAC ad comes after the House Freedom Fund, a group made of some of the most conservative members of Congress, endorsed Herrell.

Herrell also has boosted her endorsements from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a founder of the Tea Party-influenced House Freedom Caucus.

Chase campaign manager Mike Berg said the new Super PAC’s ad was “disgusting,” and overlooks Herrell’s own anti-Trump past.

“If anyone is similar to Hillary Clinton, it’s Yvette Herrell. They’re both unlikable liars who tried their best to defeat President Trump in 2016,” Berg said. “They also both lost races they thought they won.”

Herrell lost to Torres Small by less than 3,000 votes in 2018. She initially thought she won and didn’t concede the race until weeks later.

Citizens for a United New Mexico, another Super PAC, has bought ads alleging that Herrell sent emails in 2016 “to undermine Trump’s campaign for president” and attended an “anti-Trump soiree” in San Diego with a Trump piñata — claims that Herrell said are false and misleading.

The Republican race garnered attention this week after Chase called on Herrell to leave the race over allegations she was spreading false rumors about her first marriage. The Associated Press also obtained text messages showing Herrell offering suggestions on a cartoon about the rumor. Herrell denies she was involved in repeating any rumors about Chase’s first marriage.

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

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