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Republican Herrell wants rematch with Torres Small in 2020

January 8, 2019
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FILE - In this May 24, 2018 file photo, Republican Yvette Herrell talks to voters at a forum in Hobbs, New Mexico, during her unsuccessful campaign for a U.S House seat in southern New Mexico in 2018. Herrell, who lost to Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in a close election, announced Tuesday, Jan 8, 2019, she will challenge Torres Small again in 2020. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Republican who lost a closely watched U.S. House race in southern New Mexico and later alleged “voting irregularities” announced on Tuesday she will seek the seat again in 2020.

In an email to supporters, Yvette Herrell said she wants a rematch with U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-Las Cruces, and asked for donations.

Herrell said Torres Small, who has been in office less than two weeks, was already resisting efforts to improve conditions across the country, without offering examples.

“Torres Small’s very first votes — for (Democratic House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and against protecting our country with common sense border security — proved that her campaign promise to ‘work with anyone’ was just a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters, Herrell wrote.

Brian Sowyrda, a spokesman for Torres Small, declined to comment.

The announcement comes a day after Herrell said she wouldn’t challenge results from the 2018 race where Torres Small edged her out. Herrell claimed “voting irregularities” but has refused to give details and has not returned phone messages and emails from The Associated Press.

During the 2018 race, Herrell refused to participate in any televised debates with Torres Small. She also campaigned little in predominantly Mexican-American communities in the heavily Hispanic congressional district that sits along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Instead, Herrell, 54, hit at popular conservative issues like anti-abortion and supporting President Donald Trump’s push for a border wall while appearing mainly on conservative media outlets. Her email to supporters on Tuesday repeated similar themes.

Torres Small, 33, ran as a moderate Democrat who promised to help the district’s lucrative oil and gas industry and push for immigration reform while protecting the district’s “rural values.” She highlighted endorsements from some Republicans.

Torres Small became only the second Democrat to win the traditionally Republican-leaning district.

Torres Small raised almost $4.4 million to flip a congressional district previously held by GOP former Rep. Steve Pearce. He made an unsuccessful run for governor last year.

Filings show Herrell only took in $1.5 million.

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

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