2020 – General Election

New Mexico’s second congressional district had been consistently Republican. Its Congressman, Steve Pearce, ran, unsuccessfully, for Governor rather than for reelection. The Republican candidate, Yvette Herrell, took her loss hard. On election day, she was ahead. As counting continued, her lead disappeared. She accused the Democrats of “finding” 4,000 votes. The “find” was absentee ballots, ballots that were counted while newspaper reporters watched. She claimed irregularities, but did not identify them. The loss was a shock to her and to New Mexico Republicans.

Xochitl Torres Small brought three kinds of political experience to her campaign. 1) Her husband, Nathan Small, was a state representative. Being a politician’s spouse counts. 2) Xochitl Torres Small spent three years working in Senator Tom Udall’s field office for Southern New Mexico. The second Congressional District is Southern New Mexico. Other than Congressional districts that encompass a whole state, it is the largest district by area in the country. 3) Xochitl Torres Small is a lawyer. Her expertise and practice is water issues. In the Southwest, water is political.

One more political experience. Xochitl Torres Small’s parents were political.

Xochitl Torres Small grew up in New Mexico. Even though she went away to college, to Georgetown, she came home for law school at the University of New Mexico. Her parents were teachers. Her father branched out, worked as a social worker and was a union organizer. They sent Torres Small away to high school. Far away.

Along with children of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, a President of Botswana, and a leading figure in Mozambique, Xochitl Torres Small is counted among the distinguished alums of Waterford Kamhlaba United World College. (That’s college in the English sense – a high school.) The school is in Mbabane, Swaziland. It was founded as part of the anti-apartheid movement. It was intended to have students of all races studying together; all of them committed to and participating in community service. It may have been a prep school, but prepping at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College is not like prepping at Deerfield or Andover.

Thirty Four years old, another new Democratic Member of Congress who is a person of color, Xochitl Torres Small is not in the several iconic pictures of new women Members of Congress.

Xochitl Torres Small is conscious that she is from a Republican District. In addition to the Hispanic caucus, she joined the New Democratic Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition. The NDC intends to be Moderate. The Blue Dogs intend to be conservative. When Democrats win in Republican districts, the entire Congressional Democratic caucus moves to the right.

When President Trump hoped for defections from Nancy Pelosi’s stance during the government shut down, a few Democrats gave him hope. They voted with Republicans for a proposal to pay some government workers even while the shut down continued. Xochitl Torres Small was one of the few Democrats voting for that proposal. She will vote with Republicans again, though probably not when the vote is crucial. (See Len’s Letter #1. About loyalty.)  If Xochitl Torres Small were part of a picture, she would be with a group of rural Democrats from districts that usually vote for Republicans.

Help Xochitl Torres Small stay part of the Democratic Congressional picture. We need her. We need her even if she votes with Republicans once in a while Make a donation. Make a monthly donation.

Special Election Loss

We spent 2017 and 2018 relishing special election wins and special elections where Democrats came surprisingly close. Harbingers of 2018, we said. We were right, too. Democrats won the House.

Was the special election in MN SD 11 a harbinger of 2020? Republican state Representative Jason Rarick defeated Democrat Stu Lourey 52—46.

Bad news for the Lourey family. Stu Lourey’s father was the previous incumbent. His grandmother was the incumbent before that.

Bad news for recently elected Governor Tim Walz. Tom Lourey, Stu’s father, had taken a cabinet position with the new Governor.

Bad news for Democrats hoping to gain control of the MN state Senate. Before Tom Lourey resigned, Republican control was 34-33. Now it is 35-32.

Bad news for Senator Tina Smith who is running again in 2020. Stu Lourey was a Smith aide.

Bad news for the Democratic candidate for President in 2020. MN SD 11 was carried by Trump. No gain here in a state that Trump almost carried.

Bad news for Democrats throughout the country who look to special elections as a harbinger of the future.

Your choice: Despair or Determination. I’m for determination. See the note below about candidates who need help now.

Those who need our help now for 2020.

Doug Jones – AL Senator – won by 21,924 of 1,348,720 votes
Ben McAdams – UT 04 – won by 694 votes of 269,271 votes
TJ Cox – CA 21 – won by 862 votes of 113,616 votes
Kendra Horn – OK 05 – won by 3,298 votes of 238,738 votes
Xochitl Torres Small – NM 02 – won by 3,722 votes of 199,256 votes
Andy Kim – NJ 03 – won by 3,973 votes of 306.875 votes