Indianz.Com > News > Native lawmaker Yvette Herrell loses re-election bid in Congress
Gabe Vasquez
“Si se pudo” — “Yes, we did it” in English, Democratic candidate Gabe Vasquez said on social media after winning election to New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. Photo: Gabe Vasquez for Congress
Native lawmaker Yvette Herrell loses re-election bid in Congress
Friday, November 11, 2022

The Native contingent in the U.S. House of Representatives will be down by one come the next session of the U.S. Congress.

Yvette Herrell, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, lost her re-election bid to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District. The Republican lawmaker conceded defeat on Wednesday, a day after voters went to the polls in the Land of Enchantment.

“While we are disappointed by the final results, I am incredibly proud of our team and the work we did serving our district, and I am grateful for the steadfast support of so many who helped us along the way,” Herrell said in a statement.

In the statement, Herrell congratulated Democratic candidate Gabe Vasquez on his victory. The race was a close one — only about 1,300 votes separated the pair, according to unofficial results from the New Mexico Secretary of State.

“Make no mistake about it, there’s nothing that happens in Washington that New Mexico can’t do better,” Vasquez said after declaring victory on Wednesday.

“To everyone out there struggling, no matter whether you voted for me or not, please know this: I see you, I hear you, and I’ll fight my heart out for you, because public service is a sacred responsibility that I will never take for granted,” Vasquez said.

Herrell first ran for Congress in 2018, losing to Democrat Xochitl Torres Small at the time. In a 2020 matchup, she defeated the incumbent in a district located in the southern part of New Mexico and one that has been home to the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, parts of the Navajo Nation and some Pueblo communities.

The district has since been redrawn, with the Mescalero Apache Reservation now in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. The other tribal nations continue to be a part of the 2nd.

Vasquez’s victory means New Mexico’s Congressional delegation is entirely Democratic for the first time since the 2018 season. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-New Mexico) won her re-election bid for the 1st District and Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-New Mexico) was re-elected in the 3rd. Both candidates won by comfortable margins, according to unofficial results.

Leger Fernandez has served as chair of the House Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States, which is part of the House Committee on Natural Resources, during the 117th Congress. But with the control of the chamber still up in the air, Democrats could soon lose their control over legislative panels for the 118th session.

Additionally, New Mexico’s U.S. Senators — Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan — are Democrats.