Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Attack ads launched in competitive CD2 race

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Republican and Democratic national groups released attack ads this week in the competitive race to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.

The National Republican Congressional Committee released on ad Tuesday that went after Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez for prior statements he made about police and the oil and gas industries, though the advertisement doesn’t provide complete context to the quotes.

Meanwhile, the House Majority Political Action Committee on Tuesday released two ads that highlighted Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell’s stance on abortion and attempts to link her to Rep. Marjorie Taylor

Gabe Vasquez, left, and Yvette Herrell

Greene, R-Ga., and the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol, based on largely party-line votes.

The ad attacking Vasquez says he supports shutting down the oil and gas industry.

“Shut it all down. Let’s just get rid of it immediately,” he is quoted in the ad, using audio from a 2018 podcast. “And I agree with that.”

But on that podcast, Vasquez continued to say that while such move is needed for the planet he said the transition should be done responsibility. That means policymakers must take into consideration the families that would be hurt by the loss of jobs.

“That’s something that gets lost on the larger environmental community. When you are legislating something from DC … saying we’re going to completely move away from this industry at all cost,” he said in the podcast, “but yet, you forget about that family in Lake Arthur who maybe doesn’t want to be driving around with a tank full of fracking sand but that’s the only option they have to feed their kids.”

The ad also shows Vasquez at a 2020 Black Lives Matter protest and says “he supports defunding the police.” The ad then quotes Vasquez saying “we need to get rid of them.”

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The quote came during a 2020 interview with “Our Las Cruces,” an online magazine. He was asked questions about the city of Las Cruces’ budget, and Vasquez talked about hiring teams of clinicians or psychologists to respond to certain types of calls related to people with mental illnesses. He said those teams would supplement police.

“If we do have to take budget away from specific departments, whether it be police or otherwise, I don’t think we have to because we have a budget that I think we can support that currently, but we also have to look at where the inefficiencies are, where the redundancies are, where we would rather not respond with force or police,” he said. “If we don’t need those positions anymore, if we don’t need those line items, then we need to get rid of them.”

The two ads targeting Herrell describe her as extreme.

One ad focuses on her stance on abortion. For example, in 2021 Herrell co-sponsored a bill with other Republicans that would have granted 14th Amendment rights to unborn children from the moment of conception, and another bill she co-sponsored that year would have made it a crime for a physician to perform an abortion after determining the fetus had a heartbeat.

The ad also says she voted to protect Greene, the firebrand Georgia congresswoman.

CJ Warnke, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC, said that referred to Herrell’s vote to allow Greene to keep her committee assignments. Only 11 Republicans broke with their party to boot Greene.

The other ad shows Herrell giving an interview in front of a vehicle with a Confederate flag on it and says she is too extreme. The ad again reiterates Herrell’s support for Greene and accuses her of being against justice for the police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6. That was a reference to Herrell’s vote against a bill that created the commission that is investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Welke said.

That was also a nearly party-line vote. Herrell’s campaign couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

The two ads against Herrell, funded by a PAC supporting Democratic House candidates, were part of a corridor of ads the PAC released this week in 22 districts across 14 states.

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