Yvette Herrell

RIO RANCHO — A Super PAC working to elect Tea Party-leaning candidates in U.S. House races is spending $100,000 to help a Southern New Mexico hopeful, according to a website that tracks outside spending on races.

Political Moneyline reported the House Freedom Action Super PAC is funding digital ads in support of former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell. She is locked in a contentious Republican primary against oil executive Claire Chase and Las Cruces businessman Chris Mathys.

All three are vying for the nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of Las Cruces. All three have been trying to portray themselves as the most reliable allies of President Donald Trump.

Herrell has boosted her endorsements from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a founder of the Tea Party-influenced House Freedom Caucus.

In recent weeks, Herrell and Chase have traded negative television commercials attempting to cast the other as a fake Trump supporter.

The Chase campaign last month made public an ad that calls Herrell a “career politician” who worked to undermine Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Herrell responded by releasing two videos: one attacking Chase over old anti-Trump Facebook posts and another seeking to highlight Herrell’s connection to the Tea Party.

In the anti-Chase ad, a voice in a stereotypical cheerleader’s voice reads Chase’s 2016 rants against Trump, where she wrote he was “unworthy of the office of the president” and “beyond offensive.” The ad said Chase changed her views on Trump only after running for Congress.

Meanwhile, the Super PAC Citizens for a United New Mexico has raised $75,000 during the first three months of 2020 to fund attack ads against Herrell. One ad alleged Herrell sent emails in 2016 “to undermine Trump’s campaign for president” and attended an “anti-Trump soiree” in San Diego — claims Herrell said are false and misleading.

Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by less than 3,000 votes to flip a traditionally Republican seat.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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