Home News Local News Herrell wins most delegates at GOP pre-primary convention

Herrell wins most delegates at GOP pre-primary convention

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In this Dec. 18 photo Republican U.S. House hopeful Yvette Herrell of New Mexico waits for a news conference in Albuquerque. (AP Photo)
In this Feb. 13 photo GOP U.S. House candidate Claire Chase speaks to voters in Los Lunas. (AP Photo)

Mathys vows to continue campaign

Republican U.S. House candidate Yvette Herrell won a plurality of delegates at the party’s pre-primary convention in Albuquerque Saturday, ensuring her a space on the June primary ballot in the race for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.

Herrell, a former state representative from Alamogordo, received the support of 168 delegates at the pre-primary convention. Her competitor, Claire Chase, came in second with 83 delegates. Chris Mathys rounded out the field with three delegates.

The pre-primary conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties determine which of their candidates for statewide and federal office make it onto the pre-primary ballot and in what order. As a result, Herrell’s name will appear first in her contest.

In a press release, Herrell said the strong finish demonstrates her campaign is gaining momentum.

“I am honored by today’s strong vote of confidence from the grassroots Republican delegates in the 2nd District,” Herrell said in a press release.

Candidates must win 20% of delegates at the pre-primary convention in order to qualify for the primary ballot. Chase also met the threshold with her 83 delegate votes.

The winner of the New Mexico Republican primary scheduled for June 2 will go on to challenge U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM, in November.

According to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, candidates who do not win 20% of pre-primary convention delegates can still get on the ballot if they collect enough signatures by March 17.

Despite his poor showing at the convention, Mathys vowed to press forward with his campaign. The businessman from Las Cruces said via text message Saturday that his campaign already gathered 3,500 signatures, more than the 1,260 he said are needed to get on the ballot.

Mathys added he was not surprised by the scant delegate support he received, comparing his campaign to Trump’s 2016 bid for the Republican nomination for president.

“He wasn’t part of the insider swamp and we don’t want to be either,” he said.

Delegates at the convention were elected earlier this year at county conventions across the state. Chaves County Republicans sent 28 delegates to their convention.

In all, nearly 800 Republicans took part in the convention, according to a release from the Republican Party of New Mexico.

Democrats also held their pre-primary convention Saturday. Torres Small, who does not have a primary opponent, won 100% of delegates.

The race is one of the most competitive in the county heading into the 2020 election season. The Cook Political Report, which ranks U.S. House districts based on competitiveness, ranks New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District a “toss-up.”

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