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GOP House candidate under fire for old anti-Trump posts

September 14, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Republican U.S. House candidate running for an important seat in southern New Mexico is facing criticism for old social media posts attacking Donald Trump, including one where she wrote the wealthy real estate mogul was “unworthy of the office” of the president.

In 2015 and 2016, Claire Chase wrote several Facebook posts denouncing Trump as he sought the GOP nomination for president before publicly supporting him in the general election. Chase used a vulgar term to describe Trump in one post and wrote in another that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump made her “throw up in my mouth.”

Chase later wrote that she might support former New Mexico Republican Gov. Gary Johnson, who ran for president as a Libertarian in 2016.

The social media posts were first reported by the conservative online news organization, Breitbart News .

Chase campaign spokesman Craig Murphy said Chase wrote the posts before Trump won the GOP nomination and was open about her support for another candidate.

However, Murphy said Chase voted for Trump in the general election and has been very pleased with his actions as president.

“She was ecstatic when he got elected,” Murphy said. “She went to a celebration after the election outside the Trump Tower (in New York) and has supported his decisions while in office.”

Murphy said later posts on Facebook by Chase showed herself warming up to Trump after initial doubts — like many Republicans after the primaries.

Still, her two Republican opponents, former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell and Las Cruces businessman Chris Mathys, say the old posts show she still didn’t like the president.

“I didn’t know Claire Chase harbored such disdain for President Trump,” Herrell said in a statement. “My support for a secure border, our Constitutional rights, and our president has never changed.”

Mathys called Chase’s posts inappropriate and said voters will be the ones to decide if her comments were acceptable. “It’s obvious Claire does not like President Trump or conservative Republicans.”

The flap comes days after Chase announced her intention to seek the GOP nomination for a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-Las Cruces.

Chase, an oil executive, was praised Vice President Mike Pence just days before her announcement at an event in southern New Mexico. Her entry sparked excitement among some Republicans who want a well-financed candidate to take on Torres Small.

Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by fewer than 3,000 votes to flip a traditionally Republican-leaning district that sits along to U.S.-Mexico border. She became only the second Democrat to win the seat.

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