The Fight for Crucial Las Cruces

New Mexico's southern district swung to Democrats the last time it was open, in 2008.

In this May 24, 2018 photo Xochitl Torres Small, a Democratic candidate for Congress, speaks to voters at a Las Cruces, N.M., event. With no mention of President Donald Trump, candidates for an open congressional seat along the U.S. border in New Mexico are blaming Washington politics for the separation of immigrant children from parents caught trying to come to the U.S. illegally.
AP Photo/ Russell Contreras
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Kyle Trygstad
Oct. 11, 2018, 10:04 a.m.

The fight is on once again for southern New Mexico’s 2nd District, a decade after the seat was last open.

The majority Hispanic border district, which President Trump won by 10 points, helped expand the Democratic House majority in 2008 when GOP Rep. Steve Pearce ran for the Senate and was part of the 2010 Republican wave when Pearce won it back. It’s a battleground yet again with Pearce running for governor.

More than $3 million has poured into the race, as both party committees and their supportive outside groups are currently on the air. An internal poll conducted at the beginning of October for Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell’s campaign found her leading Democratic water attorney Xochitl Torres Small by 4 points.

Congressional Leadership Fund is tying Torres Small to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and accusing her of supporting regulations that would hinder the state’s energy industry, while the NRCC is hitting her on health care in ads targeted toward families and seniors.

The DCCC ran a voter registration radio ad aimed at Hispanics and has painted Herrell as corrupt in a TV ad, as has a coalition of Democrat-aligned groups that invested a combined $1 million.

-- Kyle Trygstad


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