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Candidates rally local Republicans

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From the left, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich and U.S. House candidate Yvette Herrell, right, sit during the monthly meeting of the Chaves County Republican Federated Women Wednesday at the Elks Lodge. The candidates spoke to the group and urged them to turn out to vote in November's midterm elections. (Alex Ross Photo)

U.S. House candidate Yvette Herrell and Senate candidate Mick Rich told local Republicans Wednesday the conservative agenda and even the Trump presidency hinge on them turning out to vote in November.

“Our values are at stake, our families are at stake and our futures are at stake,” Herrell, the party’s candidate in the race for New Mexico’s U.S. House District 2 said to the Chaves County Republican Federated Women Wednesday during their monthly meeting at the Elks Lodge.

Herrell, a state representative from Alamogordo, is the Republican candidate running for the seat now held by Rep. Steve Pearce, the party’s candidate for governor.

Herrell faces Democrat Xochitl Torres Small of Las Cruces in November for the seat that includes Chaves County and most of southern New Mexico. She said regardless of whether she was the choice of people in the four-way June 5 primary, she felt blessed to see such high turnout in the primary.

“And that is exactly what is going to have to happen when we start seeing what goes on in November,” she said. “I am telling you we have to be awake and aware.”

Democrats are beating Republicans in fundraising by large margins, but Herrell said Republicans can offset that advantage through high voter turnout.

“We might not out-raise them, but we will beat them at the polls,” she said.

As the only New Mexico congressional seat now held by a Republican, Herrell said the seat is the lone conservative voice for the state. If Republicans lose the seat and Democrats gain a majority in the U.S. House, it could lead Democrats to move to impeach President Donald Trump, she said.

A self-described pro-God, pro-life, pro-gun legislator, Herrell said her conservative values are in line with those of New Mexico conservatives.

“I understand our industries, I understand our people and I understand our culture. I understand what we are doing,” she said.

Herrell also praised Trump.

Although many people might not agree with Trump, his style or use of social media, Herrell said he has improved the economy, boosted military spending, strengthened border security and is against abortion. She also praised him for securing the border and reducing government regulations.

“Trump got it right, and he is doing what We the People wanted him to do, and he is making America great again,” she said.

A four-term state lawmaker, Herrell also said she has the legislative experience needed to represent New Mexico in Washington D.C. She added that she has also shown a willingness to buck her party leadership, such as when she opposed a minimum wage increase supported by Gov. Susana Martinez, a fellow Republican.

“I am not afraid to go against the grain,” she said.

Rich, a contractor from Albuquerque, and the party’s U.S. Senate candidate also spoke.

He said he moved to New Mexico 35 years ago and initially planned to stay in the state for a couple of years but soon fell in love with the people of his adopted state.

“That is why I chose to start and raise my family right here — this is why I chose to start my business right here,” Rich said.

Years after his move to New Mexico, Rich said he has decided to run to unseat Heinrich because despite his work as a contractor building communities, the state is in worse condition than when he arrived, and he wants to improve it.

“My job is not done yet,” he said. “That is why I decided to run.”

For two years he traveled the state to hear the concerns of voters and solutions. Rich said he found that people are concerned about jobs, and reducing crime as well as the role of the federal government in classrooms.

After his speech, Rich said he was not concerned about Trump’s latest remarks during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday in Helsinki.

At the press conference, Putin contradicted the U.S. Intelligence community by saying Russia did not interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Rich said people need to “take a deep breath and let things work their way out” as it relates to Russia and Trump. He said he had a similar reaction months ago when people were worried the U.S and North Korea were heading toward war. He said Trump just has a different style.

“I looked at it and said, ‘this guy has his own … unique way of negotiating,” he said. Let’s see where it goes,” Rich said.

He said that months later, relations between North Korea and the U.S. have improved greatly.

Rich added though he doesn’t hold out much hope for relations improving between U.S and Russia.

“And I am not OK with that,” he said. “Most Americans are not OK with that.”

He said China is an example of a country where trade deals are skewed to the advantage of America’s competitors.

Rich said the Senate also needs to meet its responsibilities when it comes to crafting trade policy and ratifying treaties, something he said they have not done recently.

“Congress needs to do their stinkin’ job,” he said.

Rich said in his speech that on the campaign trail he is told by many people that they appreciate him trying his best to unseat Heinrich, but Rich said he believes he can pull off a win.

“I want you to know that I am going to win,” he said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.