(The Center Square) – Conservative Republican and former state Rep. Yvette Herrell is narrowly leading Democratic incumbent Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District race, according to a recent poll.
The race is considered a rematch to the 2018 election when Torres Small narrowly defeated Herrell by 3,700 votes, or less than 2 percent of the vote. Republicans argued in 2018 that the race was stolen after absentee ballots were counted after Election Day, putting Torres Small ahead. They are hoping to flip the seat to red.
According to a poll conducted by the Tarrance Group for the National Republican Congressional Committee and first published by the Washington Examiner, Herrell is leading by 1 percent, which is within the poll's margin of error.
The poll has Herrell at 48 percent and Torres Small at 47 percent. Five percent polled said they were undecided. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.
Other polls indicate the two are nearly tied. The Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up.
The House race is one of most closely watched in the country as political analysts are guaging how well staunch conservatives endorsed by President Donald Trump are faring in their respective races against mainstream Republicans in some states like Texas or long-term Democratic strongholds in Maryland.
The most recent Tarrance Group poll surveyed 400 likely voters in the rural district that borders Mexico and part of Arizona and Texas.
"There is still room and opportunity for growth for the challenger Herrell, as the generic ballot (read without names and only party labels prior to the named ballot test), had the Republican up four-points, 49% to 45%, over the Democrat," the Tarrance Group said in its evaluation of the findings.
An Albuquerque Journal poll conducted from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2 had Torres Small at 47 percent and Herrell at 45 percent with 9 percent undecided.
In July, another Tarrance Group poll found the candidates in a dead heat, with each receiving 46 percent support and 8 percent remaining undecided.
Torres Small’s campaign argues that she has “stood up to my party and urged leadership to pass the United States Mexico Canada Agreement” as an example of how she represents her district, not special interests.
But Herrell argues, “Xochitl pretends that she’ll work with anyone, including our President, but fails to mention that she voted not once, but TWICE to impeach him. President Trump has endorsed me - and I’m ready to work with him to deliver for New Mexico!”
During the Republican primary, Liberal PACs Patriot Majority and EMILY’s List spent tens of thousands of dollars on attack ads labeling Herrell as a Trump loyalist, which some analysts argue may have backfired.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich argues that the “supposedly moderate New Mexico Democrat's stance on late-term taxpayer-funded abortion could swing the district over to her Republican challenger.”