Hispanic Democrat from New Mexico wins congressional seat

Democrat Gabe Vasquez won a seat in Congress by displacing Republican Yvette Herrell in New Mexico’s majority-Hispanic 2nd District that borders Mexico, it was reported Thursday.

Vasquez highlighted during the campaign his Latino origin and having been raised in a family of migrant workers near the border with Mexico. He advocated for solutions to climate change and the conservation of public lands in a district traditionally dominated by the oil and gas industry.

Vasquez began his political career as a municipal councilor in Las Cruces. During the campaign he expressed his support for abortion rights and workers’ rights. He called his opponent an extremist for voting against Joe Biden’s certification as president after the 2020 election.

Republicans have questioned the state’s new electoral map, drawn up by Democratic lawmakers, which divides a traditionally conservative oil region into three legislative districts.

Herrell campaigned on a conservative platform of tight border security and unrestricted support for the oil industry. Stretching to the Mexican border, the district encompasses desert oil fields and parts of the city of Albuquerque.

Herrell and Vasquez portrayed each other as extremists. Vasquez defied political taboos in a state with a strong Catholic tradition by aggressively supporting abortion access.

His opponent declared himself in favor of prohibiting abortion with few exceptions. New Mexico allows most abortions.

Speaking fluent Spanish at campaign rallies and televised interviews, Vasquez also supported Democratic initiatives in Washington for infrastructure spending to accelerate the transition to renewable energy, raise the federal minimum wage and enshrine abortion rights in federal law. .