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Yvette Herrell Holds Slim Lead in New Mexico Open Seat Race, Republican Poll Finds

Democrat Xochitl Torres-Small hopes to ride enthusiasm wave to capture Republican-leaning district

Republican Yvette Herrell is running for an open seat in New Mexico’s 2nd District. (Courtesy photo/National Republican Congressional Committee)
Republican Yvette Herrell is running for an open seat in New Mexico’s 2nd District. (Courtesy photo/National Republican Congressional Committee)

A poll conducted for Republican Yvette Herrell released Friday found she holds a slight lead over Democrat Xochitl Torres-Small in the race for an open seat in New Mexico’s 2nd District. 

Herrell led 49 percent to 45 percent, within the margin of error and 6 percent still undecided, according to a telephone survey of 400 likely voters from The Tarrance Group. The poll was conducted September 30 through October 2 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

Both candidates are gaining name awareness, with over 50 percent of likely voters saying they knew both of them, according to the poll. Herrell led among that group 51 percent to 44 percent.  

Democrats are targeting the district, which covers the southern half of the state, as a potential pick-up opportunity. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Leans Republican.

Herrell, a state Representative, has run as a “Trump conservative,” a strategy that nods to the president’s popularity in the district. He carried it by 10 points in 2016.

She is in the second tier of the NRCC’s Young Guns program for strong candidates. The conservative House Freedom Caucus and VIEW PAC, which works to elect GOP women, endorsed her in the June primary.

Torres-Small, a water rights attorney, told CBS News this week she hopes to ride an “engagement wave,” among registered Democrats, who outnumber registered Republicans in the district. 

At the end of the second fundraising quarter on June 30, her campaign had $496,000 on hand, while Herrell’s had $100,000.

Torres-Small has been endorsed by EMILY’s List, which supports female Democrats who back abortion rights. She is also part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s  Red to Blue program, which funnels support to candidates it considers capable of flipping House seats. 

A poll conducted in September for the Albuquerque Journal found Herrell led by seven points, with 48 percent of likely voters to 41 percent for Torres-Small. That poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

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